Note: This interview has been edited and condensed.
Following the lift of business travel restrictions in autumn 2022, CEO Bryan Cheung visited the Liferay Japan office in celebration of the office’s 10th anniversary. During his visit, Bryan discussed a range of topics, including corporate management during crisis times, the uniqueness of Liferay culture, and how the digital landscape in Japan is evolving.
You visited us to celebrate Liferay Japan’s 10th anniversary. Liferay has its APAC headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, while many foreign companies pick a city like Singapore. Why did you choose Tokyo?
Bryan: For Liferay’s needs, we’ve found that Tokyo is home to a good mix of Japanese and non-Japanese talent that have the right skills to serve the variety of customers that we have in APAC. Our international employees also appreciate the quality of life and services Tokyo has to offer. I believe that Japanese companies are starting to make serious investments in digital transformation, and Liferay hopes to be a strategic partner in that.
As of December 2022, the number of employees at the Japanese branch has more than doubled over the past three years. What has changed since Liferay Japan was first established?
Bryan: Things have not changed fundamentally. We really value the culture we’ve built here, which has been inherited by not only the Japan office, but offices around the world, even as we have grown as a company. Of course, like everyone else we’re figuring out the best way to incorporate working from home and at the office in a sustainable, hybrid model that works for both our people and our business needs.
You mentioned investments in digital transformation in the Japanese market as one reason why Liferay has its APAC headquarters in Japan. Can you talk about this a bit more?
Bryan: Despite having the world’s third-largest economy in terms of GDP, Japan has not yet invested as much in DX (digital experiences) as other countries. Even large companies are often still using older tools.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has created greater urgency for many companies to finally start investing in DX. I think that trend will only continue to increase, creating more opportunities in the Japanese market for Liferay.
What are the solutions Liferay is planning to drive in the Japanese market?
Bryan: There’s a major focus on Intranets, which have already been implemented by large organizations such as Sumitomo Corporation and Nagoya University. Enterprises across all industries use intranets to streamline information-sharing and increase employee engagement.
Partner Portals are another strength of ours. The portal marketing report “IDC Infobrief: Enterprise Portal in Japan” revealed that nearly half of large companies have not used extranets yet. Partner Portals can help companies bolster partner business, not only for communication but also for selling through digital channels.
Many companies are moving from on-premise solutions to the cloud in Japan. Tell us more about Liferay’s recent SaaS announcement of “Liferay Experience Cloud” and how that works with existing on-premise and PaaS products.
Bryan: We have a range of products to meet customer demand. Liferay Experience Cloud is our first SaaS offering. Liferay Experience Cloud allows customers to start projects more quickly with out-of-the-box features while enabling easy customization. With Liferay Experience Cloud, we also take care of management from infrastructure to the Liferay application itself, lowering operational costs and the burden of maintenance. We’re looking to add even more features and functionality in the future.
Our PaaS solution, Liferay Experience Cloud Self-Managed (formerly Liferay DXP Cloud), is for companies who want more control over upgrades and deployment. And for those who aren’t ready for the cloud or can’t migrate, we still offer Liferay DXP Self-Hosted. So we have a solution for every customer’s needs.
Finally, tell us what’s next for Liferay.
Because we have the capabilities of providing a wide range of solutions, our products and services may appear complex at first glance. We’re trying to improve our website with clearer messages and online demos so people can directly discover what Liferay can do and experience firsthand the business value that can be achieved using Liferay.