Digital Marketing and Drupal Take Shape in Japan
by Yoshiyuki Ueda
Acquia CEO Tom Erickson has shared his passion for Japan, along with his view of Drupal expansion in the country (in Japanese, by the way!). Two years have passed since that time and things have dramatically changed. Now, at the start of 2015 as the challenge of taking on “Digital Transformation” weighs on everyone's mind, it is a great time for some updates on the current state of Drupal in Japan.
For the past 15 years, I've been working in IT, primarily focused on marketing applications that support both the IT and Marketing departments in the Japanese market. Through this experience, I have become a strong believer in the power of Drupal, and since 2010 have been involved in many Drupal projects with Japanese enterprises.
Although Drupal arrived in Japan many years ago and had both a dedicated fanbase and community with strong leadership, it is only recently that enterprise use has extended beyond foreign companies and a handful of domestic companies. For a long time it was not even considered as an option by most traditional Japanese companies as they place a great deal of importance on the number of domestic cases and commercial support provided in Japanese. To make matters worse, there wasn’t much information or documentation available in Japanese. So in Japan, which has a smaller proportion of English speakers, there are few opportunities to learn about Drupal expansion in Europe and North America.
"These days no one will know about you either at home or abroad if you don’t have a digital presence, and I think it is time to face the fact that an era is upon us in which business itself has become digitized."
Against this backdrop, three important things occurred in 2014. First, Dries Buytaert came to Japan and gave Japan’s IT media and digital agencies a correct understanding of Drupal. Second, we had the first DrupalCamp in Japan, which was held in Kyoto. Finally, the third thing I believe to be important was the launch of Acquia Cloud Enterprise in Tokyo. The fact that Japan joined the Acquia network is significant for both Japanese companies and global companies. I think 2014 will be remembered as the first year of the Drupal era in terms of the corporate market in Japan. Just a few weeks into 2015, the number of Drupal implementations is already increasing.
Japan is the world’s second largest investor in IT, but it lags behind in the field of marketing technology. There are not many people who recognize the need for investment in this area and are ready to take the next logical step. Although Japan’s Internet infrastructure is classified as one of the fastest in the world, traditional websites often provide no more than introductions to products and a CMS is viewed as just a tool to update that content. Although no one paid much attention to this as long as sales were good, things have now started to change. These days no one will know about you either at home or abroad if you don’t have a digital presence, and I think it is time to face the fact that an era is upon us in which business itself has become digitized.
Those around me who work for Japanese companies and who have started to look into Drupal are not thinking of it merely as a tool to update content; they consider it to be a platform on which to deploy PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) on digital marketing. I think this is a fantastic understanding of the transformational capabilities of Drupal and represents the correct direction in which to head. Further, I believe that these people who are leading the way will provide case studies that form the standard in Japan, so Acquia will have a global role to play in this process. This year is going to be more exciting than any year before. The Digital Transformation is now!
Editor’s note: Yoshiyuki Ueda, Business Director, ASPAC at CI&T, a global software company and an Acquia partner in driving digital transformation initiatives for enterprise customers.