NRI is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As NRI reaches this major milestone, Yasuki Okai, President of NRI Holdings America, reflects on NRI’s past 50 years in the US and addresses its future plans for development in the US.
What are some of NRI's future plans in the United States?
NRI plans to expand its financial solutions business in North America. With the Japanese market's growth limitations becoming increasingly obvious, all types of Japanese financial institutions–from commercial banks and trust banks to investment banks, brokerages, insurers and asset management firms–are becoming increasingly interested in expanding their operations in the US, the world's largest market. Regardless of whether such business expansion is organic or achieved through M&A, customizing mission-critical IT and business processes to Japanese financial institutions' business environment is not easy for local IT staff.
The burden of communicating with the Tokyo head office to ensure local IT projects' compatibility with the head office's global IT strategy is always a challenge. Another challenge is resolving system operation and maintenance complications stemming from system development projects. In comparison to Japan, the US has a more fluid job market for IT professionals. North American clients' IT staff consequently tend to have broader problem-solving capabilities than their Japanese counterparts. Such being the case, NRI aims to expand its services toward assisting with financial institutions' internal communication between Tokyo and local personnel and supporting not only individual projects but also overall IT management.
Information security management, including defenses against cyber-attacks and online viruses, is becoming more important as IT advances. Through NRI Secure Technologies North American headquarters in California, NRI plans to strengthen its information-security support services for Japanese companies with North American operations.
With IT evolving beyond client companies' capability to manage it themselves, migration from ownership to usership of IT assets is gaining momentum both in Japan and overseas. As a result, IT support needs, which have hitherto differed widely between Japan and overseas markets, are now converging toward comprehensive IT management support. While meeting global standards in terms of speed and cost is of course essential, NRI's homegrown commitment to quality and client-focused service is more valuable than ever in today's world.
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