NEXT Up: Hitachi Vantara (includes video)

Hitachi_Next.jpgLast week, Hitachi held its NEXT conference in Vegas. The saying goes that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but I don’t think Hitachi wants that to be the case here! This is because it turns out that three previously merely linked organizations under the Hitachi umbrella formally got together as one (maybe they nipped off to one of those Vegas wedding chapels!?)—HDS, Hitachi Insights Group, and Pentaho are now a single organization: Vantara.

My colleague Terri McClure has already covered the details, meanings, and opportunities/challenges of this in some depth in her blog; that said, we also pulled together a video round-up while we were there…taking the opportunity to talk with Asim Zaheer, Vantara’s CMO, and Mary Ann Gallo, its Chief Communications Officer, to get their “inside baseball” thoughts on the change and its meaning. Please watch here:

I don’t want to simply repeat either what’s in the video or the insightful analysis Terri already has in here blog, but let me add just a handful of comments that I think are important.

With this change, Hitachi now has an organizational structure that better aligns to both its customers’ needs, and to its own aspirations, intentions, and [increasingly] abilities. That, by the way, includes its corporate belief in the “double bottom line” (good for customes/profits, and good for society). A lot of the future success of Vantara will depend on its ability to address things that were, by definition, previously not addressed—that’s tougher than some other roads because it’s about selling—and then delivering against—innovation and possibility rather than repeating some procedural change. Regular IT-vendor-MO is all about repeat business with standards and commodities underneath; Vantara’s chosen route is way more about repeat innovation with smart IT underneath. On the upside, Vantara comes from an organization that averages one granted patent per hour. On the side of caution is the fact that a lot of the traditional, often HDS, things are what is keeping the Vantara lights on and the bills paid today.

While both the physical walls of the data center and the virtual walls of IT are rapidly becoming less defined, the fact remains that we don’t conduct anything—be it IT, OT, or IoT—in the ether. It is all based on software and hardware eventually. Vantara’s challenge is to balance both sides of this equation; its opportunity is not just the enormous market demand for such integrated capabilities and solutions, but that there are very, very few organizations that have the abilities and desire to even attempt it.