TOKYO: Japanese corporations are increasingly employing “evangelists” to promote and increase understanding about their information technology operations.
Firms including Hitachi Ltd. are hoping that such personnel can help communicate the technological knowledge of the IT field that is becoming ever more specialized in an easy-to-understand manner to both company staff and the public, in order to spread understanding of the value of their services and products.
Following in the footsteps of US tech companies, Japanese firms are hoping to fully adopt evangelists to engage in digital transformation.
Hitachi tapped former Microsoft Japan executive officer Madoka Sawa last year as an evangelist for the firm’s internet of things platform Lumada.
Lumada forms the core of Hitachi’s growth strategy of resolving clients’ issues using data, but some have said that the concept is abstract and difficult to understand.
Sawa, known as the “god of presentation” in the IT field, was brought in to attend meetings with clients to help them understand Lumada, as well as conduct lectures and speeches on the topic.
He is also seeking to spread knowledge of Lumada to the Hitachi group’s roughly 370,000 employees, explaining the company’s future direction.
Sawa describes his role as “the start of a game of telephone,” saying, “It’s ultimately the best for me to be rendered unnecessary.” He uses simple language to spread knowledge about Lumada and IT.
Other major Japanese firms such as Fujitsu Ltd. and NTT Communications Corp. have also brought in evangelists.
“People who can integrate business and IT knowledge, and talk about that in an easy-to-understand way, are needed” against the backdrop of progress in digitalization, Shohei Ogishima, who serves as an evangelist for attendance management service provider TeamSpirit Inc., said.
Some firms are turning to service users to take on the role of evangelists.
Souzoh Inc., a unit of online flea market operator Mercari Inc., has recruited seven users as “community evangelists” for its Mercari Shops service for small businesses.
The community evangelists are entrusted with the responsibility of guiding other users such as by talking about tips on running stores.
“We want to send out a message that ordinary people can take a shot at operating shops and succeed,” Misaki Kuma, community manager at Souzoh, said.