Hitachi NEXT 2018: You bring the data, we bring the experience
By Dzof Azmi October 1, 2018
- Expounds solution-building through “collaborative creation” partnerships with clients
- Touts long history of IT & operating technology implementations as evidence of capability
IN a keynote on 27 Sept that expounded Hitachi Vantara's worldview, as well as the values of parent company, Hitachi, CEO Brian Householder boldly stated that the "game centers around data" and that "those that have the best data strategy win".
"This is the most disruptive time in our lives," added Householder. "We're all feeling the game has changed."
That may be so but the vast majority of companies he talks to has revealed to him that less than 5 percent of the data is actually being analysed.
The focus on data should not come as a surprise, given that Hitachi Vantara was established last year, and combined the resources of Hitachi Data Systems (data storage), Hitachi Insight Group (obtaining data from IoT) and Pentaho (data analytics).
What perhaps was slightly surprising was that the message presented to delegates in this year's keynote was not a promise of a new panacea that would solve the headaches of implementing the buzzwordy Big-Data, IoT, and AI. Rather, there was greater stress on the need to work together to build solutions, as well.
Hitachi CEO Toshiaka Higashihara himself made plain that his company's vision was to "contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology products," and this has clearly made its way into Vantara's DNA, given the frequent references to developing social innovation.
“A significant amount of capability”
A presumption that underlies all this is of course that Hitachi Vantara would be able to deliver on its promise to help companies leverage data collection to improve their business.
"No other company on the planet has the IT and the Operational Technology (OT) capabilities that we have," claims Householder, pointing at the sheer size of Hitachi itself, as well as the diverse range of industries that Hitachi delves into, from bullet trains to nuclear power stations. "We've been in the operational technologies over a hundred years (and) we've been in IT for over 50."
Or as Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi Consulting Corporation CEO, succinctly put it, "You bring your data and we bring our experience."
Abdessamad elaborated more on the concept of "collaborative creation" touted by Hitachi. "We don't have all the answers, we don't have a product to sell you that's gonna solve all your problems," he said bluntly. "What we do have is (a) significant amount of capability."
Abdessamad also charted how the company's approach to managing and using data for their clients has developed over the last few years. In 2016, they launched a platform called Lumada as an open platform for IOT to facilitate data collection.
"In 2017 we start to realize that we needed to start thinking about building and delivering solutions to solve problems on top of this platform," continued Abdessamad.
This year there is a greater focus on creating an ecosystem. "Why an ecosystem? It's because we can't go at it alone." In particular, it's about establishing an ecosystem of partners, customers, suppliers, and technology companies that come together to solve "big problems". “We think beyond applications and solutions."
Abdessamad admitted that the adoption of digital by companies was a long-term journey. "Remember four or five years ago, when people were not adopting cloud and all of a sudden the floodgates opened up and everybody is on cloud?" he observed. "I think this is what's going to happen in digital."
In many ways these messages are preaches to a converted audience at Hitachi NEXT 2018. This was more an evolution of Hitachi Vantara’s positioning.
Yet, Householder felt it important to use this platform not to showcase the latest iteration of his company’s products but instead to reiterate its core vision from last year’s Social Innovation Forum.
"What we want to be doing at this conference (is) to be networking. We want to be working with each other," stressed Householder.
"We really look at our relationships with our customers as partnerships," he said. "We are there for the long-term."