May 19, 2020

Microsoft: accelerating Kubota’s digital transformation

Technology
Innovation
Digital Transformation
Brittany Hill
3 min
Microsoft: accelerating Kubota’s digital transformation

Microsoft and Kubota Corporation announce a multi-year strategic alliance to accelerate Kubota’s digital transformation.

The overall aim of the alliance between Microsoft and Kubota will see microsoft accelerate the company’s digital transformation, by migrating its IT infrastructure and SAP mission critical systems onto Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform.

In doing this, Kubota will standardise and streamline its business operations, accelerate its innovation and transfer to a solution provision model. In addition the two companies will work together to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) based solutions for business in the food, water and environment sectors. 

Kubota is committed to harnessing agricultural machinery and services to address the increasing food demands around the world. In using this technology, Kubota looks to problem solve with its customers in the agricultural sector to ensure they have what they need to manage their fields. 

To accelerate its vision to offer comprehensive solutions and products for the water and environmental sector Microsoft and Kubota will work together to harness Microsoft technologies and other industry expertise to develop a sustainable future.

Breakdown of the strategic alliance

Modernisation 

With this alliance, Kubota’s IT infrastructure and SP mission critical systems will be migrated onto Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform. As a result, this modernisation of operations with the help of Microsoft Azure will provide Kubota with the benefits of scale and flexibility. 

In addition to streamlining its operations and accelerating the use of integrated data globally with this modernisation, the company will also take advantage of cutting edge technology, such as AI.

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Innovation

Kubota will also work with Microsoft to launch a new AI Machine Learning Lab, which will be focused on accelerating innovations. The lab will be harnessed to train new developers to build AI solutions. 

In addition, Kubota will explore the use of AI within its business operations as well as for developing new services for agriculture, water systems infrastructure and environment customers.  Microsoft will utilise its extensive knowledge and advanced technology to support these ambitions.  

Based on the two companies sustainability initiatives, the two will also explore the use of innovative technology to drive a more sustainable future.

“Under the slogan of ‘For Earth, For Life,’ Kubota is trying to dedicate himself to solve global issues on food, water, and environment. It is indispensable to promote digital transformation to meet such issues worldwide. This alliance with Microsoft is an important step for digital transformation. We accelerate to create innovations and provide the solutions and the social value,” commented Yuichi Kitao, President and Representative Director at Kubota.

”Kubota is recognized as a leader in environmentally-compatible farming and agricultural equipment. Combining its deep industry experience with the power of Microsoft Azure and AI capabilities will enable delivery of new innovations that help feed a hungry planet, ensure access to clean water, and promote overall sustainability,” added Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President at Microsoft.

About Kubota Corporation

Established in 1890, Kubota Corporation has over 130 years within the manufacturing industry for the food, water and environmental sectors. Kubota is committed to developing businesses to benefit society, businesses and human wellbeing around the world.

Gonshiro Kubota, the founder of Kubota believed that, "If you try hard, you can get it done. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. For the prosperity of society, we need to put all of our efforts into creation. Our products should not only be technically excellent, but also useful for the good of society."

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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