In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters and Terri McClure report on their insights from Hitachi Strategy Session, 2016. Also interviewed is Hicham Abdessamed, President and CEO of Hitachi Consulting.
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: Welcome to the Hitachi Strategy Session from the ARIA Conference Center here in Las Vegas. You'll notice I said "Hitachi Strategy Session", not HDS. There's so much more to the company, which we'll hear a lot about over the next few minutes. And really, the direction, the capabilities, the breadth, is what we're here to find. It's not just about HDS, or Lumada, or Pentaho, or HDS, the Hitachi Insight Group. There's so much more.
So, really, to kick this off, and as far away from my comfort zone as an infrastructure guy as possible, I got some time with Hicham, who runs the Hitachi Consulting Group. I asked him to talk about the sheer breadth of capabilities that Hitachi has.
Hicham: Hitachi, as a lot of you know, probably known for its innovation in technology. It's a Japanese company that's been around for over 105 years. We're an industrial company. We have many, many industries and businesses, from nuclear power plants, to trains, to proton beam therapy machines. We have heavy machinery, metals, chemicals, but we also have an IT business that we've had over 50 years, that stores software data. Maybe some of you know us from that. And we also have a company called Hitachi Consulting that's more the consultant services and solutions arms for Hitachi, Ltd.
So, what we're doing is, we're taking our OT experience, and taking our IT experience, and our analytics experience and our software, combined with our consulting, to build integrated solutions that we take to market to solve some real business problems, whether it's energy efficiency, or water conservation issues, or even digital customer experience, or predictive maintenance around trains, or smart factory, and we deliver it either as a value, or a business outcome, or as a consumption.
So, for example, we're doing a project right now, Hitachi Rail in Europe, and we're actually delivering transportation as a service. To do that, you have to be able to not only provide trains, but do all the ticketing, and all the management, and then all the parts and the maintenance. There's a lot of automation. There's a lot of digitals, a lot of sensoring and IoT that goes into that to make it all a reality.
Whether it's public safety or clean water, transportation, all of those things are very relevant to us, and now we're bringing our IT and technology, and analytics capabilities, combining those two together with our consulting know-how and our industry expertise, to kind of take that to market and really help our clients around the world in various industries transform, be more digital, and also deliver tangible business outcomes.
Mark: So now that we've heard from Hicham, I'm going to pass the baton to my colleague, Terri McClure, and she's going to both talk about the breadth from our perspective, but also anchor that back in some of the horizontal infrastructure and software plays that we're more accustomed to covering.
Terri: Coming to these meetings really gives me an opportunity to see HDS in the context of what they can do with the broader Hitachi. I mean, Hitachi's a massive corporation. They don't compete with Dell and EMC and InApp, they compete with GE, they compete with Siemens. But, the important thing to understand is that HDS technology underpins all that. Hitachi brings to the table a lot of the industry-based solutions, a lot of their sensor technology, but you need something to do with all the data that you're capturing. It needs to be stored, it needs to be analyzed, and that's where HDS comes in.
And it's really been delightful to see the progress HDS has made at their more traditional IT level where they focus and specialize, especially along the lines of all-flash arrays. Their object storage technology, which is celebrating its 10th birthday since the acquisition of Archivas, has really come such a long way. It's really an impressive platform, and I like what they've done with the HTP platform combined with the HTP antiware, the converged and hyper-converged platforms, the hyper-converged solutions based on both the HDS core technology and their VSAN technology. HDS has a lot they can bring to the table to underpin these solutions.
The challenge is, their customers know it, their customers know them and they trust them. They're incredibly trusted and reliable brand with their customers. I'm not sure the broader market really knows the breadth of offerings that they have, and that's what HDS is going to have to do moving forward. They need to educate the market to leverage their reputation with the customers they have to build broader awareness about just how strong their solutions are in the market. They're certainly a player that the bigger guys, the Dell, EMCs and IBMs should be watching out for.
Mark: Like Terri, I've been to a lot of, I'll say, these sort of conferences, but the honest truth is, I'm not sure I've been to a conference quite like this. Usually, we go to events where people, IT organizations, are telling us how they're going to do better IT. This was so much more than that. So you can almost consider this like GE and IBM put together because the capabilities are really quite dramatic.
It occurred to me that centuries ago, something like the ability to measure and tell time was something that took many people many attempts to get right from a hardware and a software perspective. And now that ability to measure time and to tell time is embedded in so much of what we do. It's in everything from the coffeemaker, to the space program, and the fact that we all turn up at these events, you know, at the right time. We take it for granted. It's still very important, but it's buried in there, and I think a lot of what we're used to, those of us who cover the IT side, the HDS side of things, this is going to be increasingly buried in those space programs and coffee machines. It doesn't make it less important, actually it makes it more important, but it's part of this bigger whole. And what's that bigger whole called? I frankly don't know what to call it.
The one thing that does occur to me, and this is a very important point to finish on... We had a history lesson on the ethics and the directions and aspirations of Hitachi. As a Japanese company, they will have given and they will have got the necessary amount of time to make these big changes happen.