Douglas Howatt

Day Two From NEXT 2018: Innovation

Blog Post created by Douglas Howatt Employee on Sep 27, 2018

By now you’re not surprised that we somehow squeezed several days of information into one more day. Think of it as data compression, if you’d like. Let’s see if I can give you the highlights of this day that concentrated on innovation with your data – which you’ll see by my clever repetition in the subheads.


Breakfast Innovation

Before the General Session today we had the Women In Business Breakfast featuring leaders from NASA, Tech Data and Hitachi Vantara. They were an impressive group, just as you might expect. With advice suitable to any business person, they suggested that we “never confuse who you are with what you do.” And they pointed out that everyone owns diversity, asking that if we “see something, say something” to help encourage positive behaviors.


CIO Innovation

Renée McKaskle, Hitachi Vantara CIO, again opened the General Session. Her message was that CIOs need to repeatedly think differently and respond differently in order to stay current with the business’s needs. The velocity of technology change is increasing, and CIOs must remain focused on results while supporting transformation. She advises that CIOs frequently ask what business results can be achieved.


Simple Innovation

Lisa Bodell, CEO and founder of futurethink and author of Why Simplicity Wins, spoke on … simplicity, of course. It was a powerful presentation that openly sought to make the audience uncomfortable with complexity, which holds us back from our meaningful work. She described the “complexity trap” that creates the wrong balance between more and less, doing and thinking, and between internal and external focus. Among a few simple (cough. cough.) suggestions was to take the stupid out of organizations by killing stupid rules and stupid meetings. Sounds pretty smart to me.


Transformation Innovation

Bobby Soni, Chief Solutions and Services Office for Hitachi Vantara, delivered a strategic presentation on digital transformation, which he equated with business innovation. He described the three technology pillars that drive digital transformation:

  1. Modernization and cloud native, including multicloud
  2. Data analytics platforms for insights
  3. Machine learning and AI for intelligent automation.


Portfolio Innovation

John Magee, VP of Hitachi Vantara portfolio marketing, took us through a wide-ranging view of how the company thinks about innovation and bringing new solutions to market. John says we are focusing our innovation on distributed edge-to-cloud infrastructure, information governance, data-driven insights and the internet of things.

We are also taking advantage of the vast Hitachi research and development group, whose 2,700 researchers invest almost $3 billion per year, boasts more than 119,000 patents. That’s far more patents than many prominent technology companies, by the way.


Our Own Innovation

Scott Kelly, Hitachi Vantara’s COO and chief transformation officer, talked about the company’s own transformation. In one year since the formation of Hitachi Vantara has accomplished so much, including several significant milestones:

  • Launched 20 products and solutions
  • Introduced 1,000 new customers to the Hitachi family
  • Brought in 1,400 new employees
  • Welcomed dozens of new partners in the Hitachi ecosystem


Winning Innovation

With the General Session drawing to a close, Scott and Renée brought us all to the edges of our seats for the announcement of the People’s Choice Award winner among the Hitachi Transformation Award winners. With strong programs by NASA Johnson Space Center, Andhra Pradesh Real Time Governance, and Smart Payments by Nets, the envelope was opened to reveal … that Andhra Pradesh won. Mr. Babu and the team from the State of Andhra Pradesh accepted the award.


Innovation Maturity

Thursday’s Spotlight Session featured Bill Schmarzo, Hitachi Vantara CTO for IoT and analytics. In a refreshing presentation as only Bill can do, he told us of the importance of reframing the discussion of business technology by focusing on return on data, data monetization, data innovation and digital transformation. He stated that it’s not digital technology transformation, but digital business transformation.


He moved to defining and evaluating progress by asking, “How effective is your organization at using data and analytics to power your business?” And suggested a maturity model to evaluate it from least effective to most effective:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Insights
  3. Optimization
  4. Monetization
  5. Metamorphosis


Innovation for All

After the General Session, the day had barely begun. We filled the afternoon with more and more information, insights and, well, innovation.

  • The Solutions Showcase was open again to let attendees get to all the demonstrations they couldn’t get to yesterday.
  • We had 25 more breakout sessions by Hitachi, our partners and our customers across every data and innovation topic you can think of.
  • We again had certifications and training all day long.
  • And still Studio NEXT continued its video interviews – almost 80 of them! – with Hitachi experts, partners, customers and analysts, to be released after NEXT 2018.


We couldn’t help but make more announcements, too:


Can We Innovate Together Again Next Year?

Announcing Hitachi NEXT 2019! Join us next year ... I’ll try that again … Join us NEXT year for NEXT 2019, October 8-10 in Las Vegas. It’s been fun having everyone here this year and we want to invite you and everyone else to some see us next year, too.


Oh, and don’t stop innovating with your data!