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Tomonari Sato: Why I joined Cloudflare and why I’m helping Cloudflare grow in Japan


4 min read

This post is also available in 日本語.

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I’m excited to announce that I recently joined Cloudflare in Japan as Vice-President and Managing Director, to help build and expand our customer, partner base, and presence in Japan. Cloudflare expanded its network in Japan in 2010, just months after launching. Now, 12 years later, Cloudflare is continuing its mission to help build a better Internet in Japan and across the globe, and I’m looking forward to being able to contribute to that mission!

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A little about me

In my 35-year career in the IT industry, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest technology companies in the world, working in various roles in both sales and technical sides of the business. I consider this one of my biggest strengths. In addition, working in the IT industry has allowed me to acquire industry knowledge across a number of different solutions such as custom development, packaged systems (ERP, CRM), MS Office products, and cloud solutions.

Most recently, I was director of the Enterprise Business Group for Japan at AWS, where I was responsible for all commercial industries such as Manufacturing, Process, Distribution, Retail, Telecommunications, Utility, Media, Service, Pharmaceuticals, among others. Prior to AWS, I was Microsoft's Managing Executive Officer in charge of the Public Sector. In this role, I managed business and strategic relationships with the central government and local government, as well as the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and education industries to help customers accelerate their digital transformation, especially when it comes to their shift to the cloud. In 2005, I joined SAP Japan and spent eight years establishing the partner ecosystem, managing about 250 partners. My last role in SAP was to drive business as a sales leader for three industries (public, utility, and telecommunication). In 1999, I joined IBM to be an initial member of the ERP business unit. At IBM, I got the opportunity to manage large ERP implementations as a Senior Project Manager.

If I look back on my career, I experienced so many things from many dimensions. I started my career as an engineer after I graduated from university. It was the first time I learned what a computer was. I enjoyed my first job as a programmer. I remember how it was a great time for me to learn new things every day since technology was rapidly changing, even in the old days, many, many years ago. I am proud that I have always kept the engineering spirit even after I moved to a sales and management position. After two years as a programmer, I moved to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and spent 12 years as a Systems Engineer. At that time, DEC decided to establish a new manufacturing facility in Japan to provide better quality for Japanese customers. My mission was to design, develop, and maintain all the application systems required to ensure a smooth and seamless manufacturing process, including master production schedule, manufacturing resource planning, inventory, purchasing, work order, shop floor control, and finally developed an automated warehousing system. My last job in DEC was to implement SAP R/3 as a Japan implementation manager. The Japan implementation team was part of the global SAP implementation project, giving me the opportunity to work in a multinational environment. I really enjoyed working at DEC. It was a truly excellent experience for me.

Why Cloudflare

As I look back on my career, one of the things I consider my strength is that throughout those years I got to experience working on technology and computers — as a customer, as a partner, and as a salesperson. Now 35 years later, I'm finally convinced that my role in a global IT company is to contribute to the digital transformation of our customers as well as the society as a whole in Japan, by being able to share global best practices. I decided to join Cloudflare to help accelerate the digital transformation that will help improve Japan’s competitiveness in the world. I believe we have a lot of opportunities to help companies in Japan in this transformation. I remember the feeling I had when I started my first-ever job. I felt a thrill and great motivation. I have the same feeling now with this excellent opportunity for me to launch my new journey with Cloudflare.

Growth opportunities in Japan

It's often been said that Japan has been slow to adopt digital models, compared to the United States, Europe, and even some countries in Asia. In order to accelerate this digital transformation, the Japanese Government launched a new policy called “Cloud By Default” and subsequently established a Digital Agency in September 2021. There is so much to do, and we are behind. The shift to the cloud has just begun. Businesses are starting to move from on-premise to the cloud, and many organizations are selecting a multi-cloud environment as the next generation platform. Cloudflare has the right solutions, the right people and the right strategy to help Japanese organizations make that shift.

Cloudflare is in a unique position to transform the way we do business by providing security, enhancing the performance of business-critical applications, and eliminating the cost and complexity of managing individual hardware, all within a global cloud platform. Cloudflare’s vast global network, which is one of the fastest on the planet, is trusted by millions of web properties. With direct connections to nearly every service and cloud provider, the Cloudflare network can reach 95% of the world’s population within 50 ms. Cloudflare already has 250 data centers including two Japan sites, Tokyo and Osaka.

Cloudflare is ready to help customers in Japan accelerate their digital transformation and be a trusted solution provider for the Japanese market. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the growth of the business, and the acceleration of the digital transformation for businesses in Japan.

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APJCLife at CloudflareAsiaCareersJapan

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