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Shigeru Fukao of WingArc1st on Data Empowerment and Innovation in Asia

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Headquartered in Tokyo, WingArc1st is Japan’s leading data empowerment company with over 650 employees and 13 offices across Asia. Founded in 2004, WingArc specialises in developing enterprise software solutions to drive business intelligence to the cutting edge.

WingArc’s mission is to help companies embrace data-driven decision making, empowering them to optimise performance and achieve greater efficiency. Today, WingArc has over 31,000 customers and close to 500 distribution partners.

As we get ready to kick off the first ever Data Empowerment Accelerator program in joint collaboration with WingArc1st, we recently sat down with Shigeru Fukao, Head of ASIA Business and Global Marketing Director at WingArc1st to share some of his perspectives on the innovation landscape in Asia.

Q1. Please describe your company in a few sentences.

WingArc1st is a dynamic Japanese software firm, established in 2004, with a powerful suite of products that helps users to make timely data-driven decisions that underpin business growth - mainly through visualisation. We are currently headquartered in Roppongi Tokyo (with 7 branches in Japan), and have expanded into Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia.

Q2. How would you define innovation?

Innovation is commonly defined as the "carrying out of new combinations". Our corporate vision is “Empower Data, Innovative Business, Shape the Future”; we believe in harnessing the power of data, and by making the most out of our state-of-the-art data-utilisation software to drive innovative outcomes.

Q3. Can you provide one example of innovation in your company? How has that helped your company?

How can we achieve the highest performance despite headcount constraints? We used to struggle when finding answers to this question. However, huge amounts of data were generated from our core system, and our data-utilisation software enabled us to see the right data at the right time and in the right format to make the right business decisions rapidly across all of our corporate processes. We became an “innovation showcase” ourselves by harnessing the power of our data.

Shigeru Fukao

Q4. What usually triggers an innovation project and how do you determine whether to pursue it? Can you elaborate using an example?

We believe that a small, successful experience in a business project can be the biggest seed of innovation. If small successes are found, you should evaluate the possibilities of unveiled innovative power carefully. In our case, we currently provide MotionBoard as a data visualisation software, and MotionBoard has #1 BI market share in Japan, thanks to the following strengths; 1) real-time visualisation (including for IoT), 2) lightning-quick big data analysis, and 3) vivid charting.

However, we used to be unable to find a sales method by taking advantage of MotionBoard’s strengths. We experienced a small amount of success while improving the productivity of a MotionBoard factory line. We enhanced MotionBoard many times based on customer feedback, and established our track record step by step in the manufacturing industry, before expanding into other industries and business functions. Eventually we became the #1 BI player across all industries in Japan.

Q5. Please tell us more about the upcoming WingArc Data Empowerment Accelerator and how it contributes to WingArc’s innovation efforts?

The WingArc Data Empowerment Accelerator is a 3-month program for revenue-generating Pre-A and Series A startups. Selected startups will get exclusive access to WingArc's proprietary technology to enhance their existing products or build new products. Eligible startups may also be considered for up to USD300k potential investment at the end of the program.

Through the accelerator, we hope to receive feedback from startups by gaining an external perspective on our software, which will contribute to our own software’s reinvention. Also, we would like to build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with startups during and after the program. Let’s expand our mutual business together in Asia!

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