Partnership goals: Zones LLC and GoDaddy on DT
Sean Hobday, SVP of Global Business Development for Zones LLC, has had a very exciting 12 months. The company is a strategic partner to GoDaddy - the internet domain registrar and hosting company based in Arizona.
He says, “The client acquisition and development teams report up through me as well as all of our foreign entities, and that includes the offices in fulfillment centres Zones has all around the world, which take care of our customers wherever they go.”
Zones offers a wide variety of solutions. At its core is their Global Supply Chain as a Service, which has been in overdrive since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Hobday says, “Making sure that businesses and enterprises can get the IT hardware, software and solutions that they need and here domestically within the US, but also all around the world, has been our responsibility,”
Hobday believes network optimisation as part of digital transformation in the hybrid public and private cloud sphere, with security at its core, is the key to agility for companies going forward.
He describes the relationship Zones LLC has with GoDaddy, as evolutionary, because it has evolved significantly since the companies formed a partnership. From working on projects in one location for the global internet and hosting company, Zones LLC now handles much of the corporation’s IT logistics.
“GoDaddy approached us because they had a business problem in one of their locations and they needed quick fulfillment of hardware to support a small office. We were able to do that efficiently and effectively.”
Hobday continues, “And GoDaddy is a company that continually acquires smaller companies within their space around the world to enhance their growth. We were a good fit because Zones has got offices and our own fulfillment centers in key locations. We’re in Canada, we cover the EU, the Nordics, Switzerland, the UK, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa, and both Israel and the UAE. We also have a very large footprint in India. That aspect is something customers see a lot of value in.”
Flexibility in the current working climate is also essential, Hobday points out. “We learn from our customers,” he says. They're adapting and trying to solve issues within their business. We make sure that at our core DNA, we have the right flexibility and processes frameworks that allow for adaptability to help clients succeed in their digital transformation”.
The work-from-home mandates have been challenging, but essentially, a success, Hobday says. “Tackling working from home around the world for GoDaddy is an enormous task. The solutions that we offer therefore bring tremendous value today and that's how that's how I see our partnership growing.
He adds, “As that grows, other solutions come together within the data centre, security and networking areas as well.”
Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry
Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.
Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off?
How Will Japan Pay For It?
Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving.
According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option.
What Do They Plan To Do?
Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’.
As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’.
Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.