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What constitutes Corporate Digital Responsibility in the digital economy?

What constitutes Corporate Digital Responsibility in the digital economy?

At Fujitsu we have aligned our business purpose and values with our approach to the Environment, Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Wellbeing and Operating Practices

Our ethical and responsible business behavior drives employee engagement, customer relationships, brand reputation as well as reducing our risk and impact on the environment. You would expect a Technology company that delivers digital transformation programs for our customers to ensure that digital responsibility is integrated into everything we do across all areas of our Responsible Business Program.

Some 30 years ago, companies began to respond to concerns about their impact on stakeholders and communities by embracing corporate social responsibility. Today, in response to similar societal concerns, business needs to embrace the emerging idea of “corporate digital responsibility” to help navigate effectively the ‘internet of things’, personal data and devices.

We all work in a world that is moving faster and demanding more as digital transforms our business. Every customer experience must be better, slicker and more personalized, while operations must remain efficient, effective, legal and compliant in the face of increasing regulation.

The rapid progress in computing power will change the way all businesses work

We can embrace change responsibly if we keep one simple premise at the heart of any development – technology is here to help humans! At Fujitsu we call this Human Centric Intelligence. Business must understand that whilst our employees are better-connected 24 hours a day, we cannot hijack the wellbeing of colleagues by expecting them to be responsive and work 24 hours a day. Rather digital empowers our people to work flexibly, achieving strong work life balance, driving productivity.

Digital responsibility can have a massively positive impact, for example a retailer using personal shopping data to encourage healthy food options, providing that the data is secure, protected and not abused. Digital empowerment of people can help them to make better decisions about their health, education and finances. For example, we are using the power of digital to transform how we work with charity partners. Fundraising and volunteering will always be a core activity; in addition we are delivering transformative operations such as contactless donations for Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK.

Automation of work is a big topic for digital responsibility

Fujitsu believes that automation is a way to aid our work, not replace us. With this thinking we are much more likely to see a positive impact on society, understand the future of work and begin to look at how we support people through this transformative period in our history. The challenge for business is not to ignore or deny the impacts of technology but to collaborate to ensure humans remain at the heart of productive and decent work.

An example of how computing power can change work can be seen in wind energy. The blades on a wind turbine operate in harsh conditions and have to be regularly examined for defects that effect efficiency. It takes on average 3 days to remove the blades from a turbine and then it takes a skilled engineer over 8 hours to conduct an examination. Using computing power and sensor technology placed on the blades the engineers can now examine data in much more detail in under 2 hours. This doesn’t reduce the number of engineers doing this role but it does use their knowledge and skill in different ways. The industry is upskilling engineers who are now programming the machines that are automating the process. Machines and people are learning together.

As a responsible business Fujitsu is focused on understanding the impact of the technology revolution ourselves and acting responsibly to understand how we re-distribute work, re-define work and re-define income.

Research in the US shows that the care sector occupations are expected to grow. The world’s population is ageing. The social costs of elder care need to be carefully funded. This is definitely one area where digital will not mean job losses but will become an enabler; helping to reduce social care costs. Since July 2013 Fujitsu Laboratories, together with the Irish research institutions CASALA and Insight@UCD have implemented the KIDUKU Research Project. This is an initiative to provide health monitoring services and assisted independent living for senior citizens and patients who live in smart houses in Ireland. This project uses approximately 110 ambient sensors in a residence, along with body wearable sensors, to collect a vast array of data relating to a person’s daily routine. With the insights of clinical specialists who support independent living, the partners are working to develop a system that uses ICT to support health management and everyday life. Care workers will be able to spend more time actually providing personal care aided by smart data.

At Fujitsu we fundamentally believe that technology can be used as a force for good, and in today’s rapidly changing digital world we know that the way businesses work will also change.

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Take a look at the I-CIO article on how technology is not only reshaping business but is also forcing a rethink of corporate responsibility. Three IT leaders — from DHL, Investec and my colleague Vera Schneevoigt at Fujitsu explore what it takes to be a good corporate citizen in a digital age.

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