Dai Urano: The Architectural Mindset behind Management Consulting

Dai Urano, Representative and Executive Managing Director at NTT DATA Institute of Management Consulting Inc. in Tokyo, talks to Gernot Kapteina, Founder of OYSTEC, about his journey of success in the Management Consulting Industry, where he has been able to take his background in Architecture and apply it to solving complex business challenges for his clients.

Dai-san, we met and became friends about 10 years ago in Tokyo. I got to know you as a strong networker at NTT DATA Headquarters. One of the things that impressed me was your openness to global business, with a mixture of friendliness and structural thinking. I am very pleased that you are now taking extra time for an interview.

Urano-san: Thank you very much. I'm glad to be able to do this interview with you. I'm excited to hear your questions.

With pleasure, let's start. Before we get to your current Executive role, let's start from the beginning - your time back at campus. What did you study?

Urano-san: That may come as a surprise now, considering I was studying Architecture at University at that time.

Oh, that is indeed special. Considering your personality, I would have expected something to do with Management or IT at first. Tell us more about the background.

Urano-san: I can explain that with great pleasure. Architecture encompasses both the art and science of designing functional, aesthetically, and organized pleasing structures. It is about bringing together various components and elements in a cohesive and harmonious way. In my profession, I use the principles of architecture to help me organize and structure various aspects of my work. For example, I use architecture to help me analyze and solve business problems by breaking them down into their component parts and creating a logical and efficient solution. Furthermore, I utilize architecture principles to design and organize the hierarchy of business processes, IT systems, and organizations, ensuring their optimization for performance and scalability.

A beautiful explanation. Let’s proceed to take a look now on your, let me say historical career path, anything between your studies and your current role. Which companies and departments have you been with, and maybe indicate a bit from when to when?

Urano-san: In 1992, I began my career at NTT, where I was responsible for large-scale, mission-critical software development of digital switching systems for the public telephone network. During this time, I gained a solid understanding of the fundamentals of large-scale software development and project management methodologies.

I then moved on to work with global consulting firms in the corporate planning department, where I honed my skills in creating business and management strategies. In 2005, I joined NTT DATA's business consulting division, where I focused on providing IT strategy, SCM and BI as well as Analytics consulting services to large clients in the manufacturing and retail industries.

After 15 years of consulting experience, I transitioned to the Business Strategy Office at NTT DATA headquarters, where I led the company's digital transformation efforts. My previous experience in customer-facing consulting proved invaluable in effectively addressing complex business issues and aligning them with the company's overall strategy.

When I hear these career moves, the following question comes to mind: Why did you stay interested and involved in management consulting for so long?

Urano-san: Management consulting offers solutions to address the business challenges faced by clients, contributing to their growth. Furthermore, my team and I can enhance our expertise by incorporating the latest management theories and cutting-edge digital technologies in the client's commercial endeavours.

This pattern seems to be continuing. Right now, you have a leadership position in a major NTT DATA consulting firm.

Urano-san: Yes. Last year in 2022, I was appointed as a Representative Director and Executive Managing Director at NTT DATA Institute of Management Consulting, Inc. where I continue to apply my expertise in helping clients to achieve their digital transformation goals.

What are your vision and goals in your current role?

Urano-san: My vision for the future is to establish a consulting company that stands out for its exceptional quality of service and its ability to deliver high-value consulting services to clients. I strive to create an environment where our clients can trust us to provide them with the guidance and support they need to achieve their goals, while also ensuring that our employees have the opportunities they need to grow and develop their careers.

In pursuit of this vision, my goal is to make our consulting firm the most valuable in Japan, by not only providing outstanding consulting services, but also by fostering a culture of excellence and innovation within the company. This includes investing in the latest technologies and methodologies, as well as providing our employees with the necessary resources, training, and support they need to excel in their roles.

To achieve this goal, I plan to focus on building strong, long-term relationships with our clients, based on trust and mutual respect. This means taking the time to understand their specific needs and challenges, and providing customized solutions that are tailored to their unique business environments.

That is very ambitions about the organizational part. And may I ask, talking about the people, how do you improve the recruitment and development of your consultants?

Urano-san: Good question. To enhance our resources and capabilities, I have devised a growth strategy centered around initiatives. To be frank, I believe that the most effective approach is to consistently strive to deliver high value to clients through their projects, ultimately establishing our reputation as a premier consulting firm.

And to close the circle, in the era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, how do you differentiate from other competitors and strengthen NTT DATA’s consulting business?

Urano-san: As part of NTT DATA and the larger NTT Group, NTT DATA Management Consulting Institute has vast technology resources at its disposal. Additionally, we boast robust relationships and a proven track record with the Japanese Central Government. Our goal is to offer valuable consulting services to clients, making a positive impact on global environmental concerns and developing human resources.

It seems that you still have a lot to do in your current role. But still allow me to ask you, now at the end of the interview, if there is also a time after your work at the current company, and what you would like to do then?

Urano-san: To be honest, I haven't yet thought about my final ambitions as I have just arrived on current role in July 2022, but after I will move current position, I want to share my experiences with future generations to make the world a better place.

That was a good answer. And an exciting interview. Thank you, Dai-san, for taking the time!


Link: NTT DATA Institute of Management Consulting (English)

Link: NTT DATA Institute of Management Consulting (Japanese/日本語)


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Tags: Interview