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Deep Dive: Masaaki Moribayashi, Senior Executive VP, Services, NTT Ltd.

Deep Dive: Masaaki Moribayashi, Senior Executive VP, Services, NTT Ltd.

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Masaaki Moribayashi is Senior Executive Vice President, Services at NTT Ltd. He is responsible for driving growth and delivery of the company’s IT infrastructure services portfolio, including data centre, cloud, voice and video, and network.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the technology/ data centre industry?

The launch of a new data centre in Hong Kong in 2008 when I worked for NTT Communications. Most people in the company at the time were against the idea of making an aggressive investment in the data centre business. We finally got approval for the new data centre and it was very successful, enabling NTT to expand its data centre business globally.

The expansion paved the way for our current strategy. One year ago, 31 existing companies were brought together under one umbrella brand – NTT Ltd. Working together as one company means we can offer our clients end-to-end global technology services. This strategy is enabling growth and the Global Data Centers division plays a large role.

As NTT Ltd. moves into its second year, we will continue to expand our global footprint with over £500 million investment in new data centres in the UK. This includes the opening of our London 1 Data Center, in Dagenham, east London, in September 2020. This is part of a wider global investment of US$7 billion in the global data centres portfolio.

What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?

I actually never thought of a career in data centres. However, many of my assignments have been related to data centres over the last 20 years. The first time I did a data centre-related job was in 1998 when I was sent to the US and joined Verio, a company which was acquired by NTT. Verio and NTT owned two data centres on the east and west coast. It gave me a taste of the business growth and opportunity in data centres. 

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

The secret is team work. If you build the best team around you, you have trusted advisers and can make strategic decisions. I usually make high-level decisions and look to my team to execute. I have always thought that trusted relationships bring success.

What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?

It’s definitely renewable energy. Data centres use a huge amount of power and we must find ways to make them more efficient. It’s very important to consider how we save resources in the world to make it a better place in the future.

At NTT Ltd., we have worked hard to innovate in this area. We use solar power for our new data centre in India, and in Germany we use cold underground water for the cooling system, which is unique. Our new London 1 Data Center is also being built to the very latest standards and is powered with 100% renewable energy sources.

We will continue to innovate overall within NTT Ltd. to make improvements that benefit the world. The NTT Group overall has committed US$3.6 billion investment to research and development, harnessing a team of over 2,500+ research engineers to deliver continuous technological innovation to benefit its people, clients and communities.

NTT Ltd. is also a ‘Business Avenger’, working with 16 other large global organisations to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) by 2030. We are working closely with internal and external partners to gather data on our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. This will, in turn, help us shape our sustainability framework, programmes and targets for a more sustainable and connected future.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

At the moment with COVID-19, our activity is very limited but playing golf is my stress reliever. I play golf with my wife and friends on weekends.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

I still think that investing in data centres is a major area because of the demand to move to the cloud and delivering Software-as-a-Service. COVID-19 has forced many companies into Digital Transformation. They have had to quickly transform their infrastructure to be able to operate during these times.

Software (AI, automation, etc.) is another key area. We provide software-defined network services and are seeing that we can provide value-added services as an add-on to network connectivity. This is exactly why NTT Ltd. integrated its existing companies into one powerhouse. Being able to offer clients end-to-end technology services globally makes our proposition very attractive.

What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?

When I was in the UK about 10 years ago,  we wanted to build a data centre in the London area. We looked for land with power but could not find an appropriate site. After some time, we found a site that wasn’t perfect but we started to design the building. While we were doing this, we received information from our M&A team in Japan that a smaller but good data centre company was available to acquire. After the due diligence process, we decided to acquire a company called Gyron to strengthen our global data centre capabilities. We are now building three big data centres in the London area which are set to open this September.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

I am seeing a lot of demand for hybrid cloud. It is important to design solutions that use both private and public cloud based on the client’s requirements. It is fantastic that we are in this unique position with our own infrastructure.

We also recently signed a strategic alliance with Microsoft to bring together NTT’s best-in-class ICT infrastructure, managed services and cybersecurity expertise, with Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform and AI technologies. This will help us accelerate the hybrid cloud solution offering in the next 12 months.

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