Last week Mark Peters and I attended Hitachi's first ever user conference, Next. While the conference had the usual product and solution announcements one would expect at such an event, the biggest news was the reorganization of multiple independent divisions and companies within the Hitachi umbrella to create the new Hitachi Vantara.
Hitachi Vantara brings together HDS, Hitachi Insights Group, and Pentaho into a single organization. The new structure gives the Vantara team an opportunity to focus on a different competitive landscape than they faced separately – and in a much stronger position. Longer term, HDS will no longer be duking it out with Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM, and HPE for the (shrinking) data center infrastructure dollar. Pentaho won’t be evaluated head-to-head with Qlik. And Lumada won’t just be evaluated against GE Predix. They will be able to knit together the infrastructure, analytics, and insights into an end-to-end solution that reaches from the edge (even to sensors, leveraging the broader Hitachi organization) to the data center.
Brian Householder, President and COO of the new company, outlined 5 core beliefs of the new company. These are paraphrased, as I type in a bit of shorthand when taking notes at conferences:
- Data is at the center of all business.
- Customers own their data, no matter where housed or managed.
- Data is the new metadata.
- Data will outlive the app that created it and the infrastructure it was created on.
- Through the edge-to-outcome approach, the new Hitachi Vantara allows customers to have their data and insight when, where, and how needed.
Makes sense--the last bullet is where the money is. Hitachi Vantara has all the pieces required to really transform business operations - HDS infrastructure, Pentaho BI applications, and Lumada IoT platforms. It offers a number of consumption and delivery models - CapEx, OpEx, as-a- Service, billed by usage, to meet the wide array of requirements they'll face when dealing with varied line-of-business use cases as well as IT. The combined organization should significantly streamline the purchasing process when companies buy into the portfolio..
There are a couple of big challenges, though:
- Assuring traditional HDS customers that they are not being abandoned. This is a big revenue stream for the company, it can’t let that dry up. Existing customers should be reassured by the announcements like those made about new Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) CI family and Hitachi UCP Advisor 2.0 (UCP management and orchestration software). This follows on its HCI announcements made at VMWorld. And existing HDS customers should be excited about areas where Vantara ties all the newly combined tech pieces together to make their lives easier, as they have with the Smart Data Center. Existing HDS customers should look at the new Vantara in conjunction with their line-of-business leaders to see how leveraging the infrastructure to analytics approach can impact business processes and operations, locally and remotely.
- Salesforce transformation. The IoT landscape they are selling into is very different than data center sales – and selling an end-to-end solution very different than point products. This is one thing they couldn’t do as separate companies but can execute on now. This is the area to watch closely. The company has always been known for solid products, and the combined entity of Hitachi Lumada can only improve on that aspect. But execution in sales and marketing is what counts so that's where I'll be asking lots of questions over the next year.
Since Vantara was such a big announcement and such big news, we took the opportunity this year to talk to Asim Zaheer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Mary Ann Gallo, Chief Communications Officer, to get some insight into their thinking about these issues and more. That's what's in our Hitachi Next On Location video- please watch, and share your thoughts!