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April 2007 -A gift for new students- Expected IT professionals-

It is said that the IT revolution has entered a new stage in the US, an advanced IT country.Not only information search or e-business on the internet but also other activities have been noticeable, which are providing targeted information by analyzing the information search tendency of the individual, affiliate advertisement business model. Using such personalized information, the “information democracy” in which individuals share information and knowledge and so on is rapidly expanding.This is a new stage called Web 2.0.In Japan, IT-related companies seem to be in attempt to follow Web 2.0, but there is a great deal of doubt about how to make a leap forward.

According to the labor productivity comparison of each country as of FY 2005, analyzed by the Cabinet Office on the basis of OECD data, Japan's labor productivity is 70% of that of the U.S. and 80% of that of EU countries, which is lower than the OECD average.In Japan's manufacturing industry, Toyota and Canon are the world's most profitable in their respective industries. Considering their high labor productivity, The labor productivity in the distribution and service industries is particularly low in comparison.Labor productivity is calculated by the number of employees and gross domestic product (GDP) as the main values. Why is Japan's labor productivity so low and not improved?

Possible reasons are the high labor costs and the national characteristics of high-quality product production.In fact, when the present state of the IT adoption of public service and private enterprise is observed, the IT adoption of the individual business has advanced. But the IT adoption of each enterprise and the IT adoption of the government and local governments lags behind the other countries.

There is one more point to worry about.The labor productivity of the Japanese manufacturing industry is still high, but factories are increasingly disappearing from Japan due to the improvement of industry and technology in Southeast Asian countries.The labor productivity of the service industry in Japan is very low in spite of the fact that the share of the service industry tends to be high ,like in the United States.

In order for the Japanese economy to develop further in the future, the manufacturing industry will need to use IT more than ever to improve labor productivity, and the service industry will need to improve efficacy through the use of IT.For public services, the government should aim to restructure services using IT, while thoroughly deregulating and privatizing various public services based on the market principle, which prioritizes the improvement of the service to the national public.

Therefore, future IT professionals will be required not only to acquire new technologies so as not to miss Web 2.0, but also to integrate core business systems that support Web 2.0 and standardize inter-company collaboration.

Harufumi Ueda