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Fujitsu today unveiled plans to make new software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions available in Q1 2010 to enterprises and independent software vendors (ISVs). The company says today’s announcement is the first of what it says is several upcoming cloud-focused initiatives that will comprise its end-to-end cloud product and market strategies.

Here’s what Fujitsu is doing and why it’s different. Fujitsu, in attempt to bring a more holistic, solution-focused approach to the increasingly crowded cloud marketplace, is planning to build out its industry expertise in key markets like retail and healthcare by enlisting and moving ISVs to its cloud and offering their solutions in a managed services model to enterprise customers. The company plans to offer complete, end-to-end industry solutions (first in retail) that it will build piecemeal over time by putting together managed services from key industry-specific software solution providers. Fujitsu plans to offer its SaaS industry offerings through the VAR channel in the near future.

IDC vice president Jean Bozman said Fujitsu’s new cloud services will offer both enterprises and software vendors flexibility to adapt to changing business conditions while reducing infrastructure costs.

“For companies doing Web-enabled commerce, having access to a highly reliable and secure cloud platform, whether deployed as an enterprise cloud or consumed by ISVs as a pay-as-you-go service, is a welcome offering that avoids further capex costs,” said Bozman.

According to Daniel Lawson, Senior Director, Solution Offerings & Architecture for Fujitsu America, Fujitsu constructed the cloud offering for ISVs because of an increased demand in the marketplace for on-demand software services.

“When it comes to ISVs, their customers are telling them they want to pay for the software as a service, and the ISV has to transition to that model, but it is new to them,” said Lawson. “We want to provide the flexibility for an ISV to deliver and own the service and grow the product without feeling the pain that a subscription model inflicts.”

Since many software vendors structure revenue recognition around license sales, as opposed to subscription or service revenue, Fujitsu says some ISVs are leery about moving to the cloud and the SaaS model. To counteract that concern, Fujitsu plans to offer software vendors two structured revenue options. First the software vendor can establish a joint subscription revenue-sharing relationship with Fujitsu. The second option allows the vendor to maintain its traditional license-only model. With the second option, Fujitsu will purchase user licenses from the vendor and then deliver the solution to enterprise end-users through subscription.

Fujitsu also announced that two ISVs plan to sign up for its new pay-as-you-go cloud services—Cool Rock Software, an email management and archiving software provider, and Intershop, a provider of ecommerce solutions and business process outsourcing. Both ISVs are EMEA-based with operations in the United States, and Fujitsu already announced similar cloud services in EMEA and Japan.

Intershop’s president  of the Americas, Dr. Ludger Vogt, said, “Fujitsu gives us the flexibility to establish a pricing model that best fits our needs and the needs of our customers, and it relieves our customers of the burden of maintaining their own infrastructures.”

The benefits of Fujitsu’s cloud strategy are numerous for the Japanese giant. Primarily, the company stands to gain more customers by strengthening their solution arsenal through ISV cloud partners. Second, Fujitsu continues to competitively differentiate itself in the crowded cloud marketplace by bringing industry expertise and complete solutions to the purchasing table when other cloud providers are stuck in a utilitarian sales approach or a “rent some space in my cloud” strategy.

Further, Fujitsu expands its prospective base for its Interstage middleware platform with the addition of new cloud ISVs. Fujitsu insists it will not push ISV partners to shift architecture nor require cloud customers to support its Interstage platform.  However, smaller ISVs establishing long-term, revenue-generating relationships with Fujitsu may feel the gentle prodding of the giant, and eventually feel compelled to rearchitect their solution.  Today, however, Fujitsu’s new cloud services support multiple standards for any ISV partner.