As I sit here, working at home this morning, the background noise on the financial-news merry-go-round is all about IBM’s business and stock woes, and it reminds me of an ongoing thread in the tech industry.
It goes something like this: Big-IT tech is bad-IT tech. At least from a company-size standpoint.
Proof points of this perspective?
- IBM? Faltering. (here)
- HP and Symantec? Splitting in two. (here)
- EMC’s shark-jumping “Federation” concept? Under attack internally and externally. (here)
- Heck, even Ebay is splitting from Paypal. (here)
Well, my oh my, where does that lead Hitachi and Hitachi Data Systems? Hitachi Data Systems is undoubtedly a large technology vendor, but isn't huge in our own right compared to some of those giants. However we are unequivocally, and quite proudly, part of a technology giant. In fact, a technology giant that dwarfs many of those that are under extreme pressure.
However, there’s a significant difference between Hitachi and some of those aforementioned strugglers. And it’s seen in an easily overlooked difference.
The companies under pressure are information-technology companies.
Hitachi is a technology company. With a leading IT business.
First, and foremost, let me be clear... information technology IS ABSOLUTELY CENTRAL to Hitachi’s strategy of Social Innovation. So it may feel that it’s an insignificant difference, but I beg to differ.
Hitachi is focused on outcomes. Outcomes at a delivered-service level. Outcomes at a societal level.
Those outcomes include things like improving:
- water supply and treatment,
- energy creation,
- mobility and transportation,
- agricultural output,
- and health and well-being through safer treatments for diseases like cancer.
This focus on larger, and quite-impactful outcomes, both depends upon – and drives – the need for us to continue bringing advanced IT solutions to market. Hu Yoshida does a great job connecting those dots for readers, here.
Instead of wanting to have the best storage systems in the market place for the sake of having better storage systems, we do it to drive better solutions for businesses, governments and everyone. And because that is how Hitachi builds things. ;-)
Instead of announcing big data technologies that look great in keynotes with fictitious companies, data and customers, we drive analysis for improving financial markets, improving transportation systems on rail, cars or in the air, or ensuring the best possible transfer of information of healthcare devices.
Our move to more software-led infrastructure design (in storage, and overall), isn't driven by what the latest start-up is doing, but the pressures from our internal businesses and external customers/partners who need increased flexibility in their infrastructures to move more quickly.
This broad perspective teaches us more about the use and requirements of technology than any market survey could drive and tends to show trends well in advance of a new buzzword.
We translate the learnings of research for driving Social Innovation into a focus on driving Business Defined IT that is consumable for our customers. And those needs are increasingly aligned.
Internet of things? How about a technology provider that makes many of those “things?” That’s Hitachi, and we are doing it. (here)
Reinventing security by tying advanced authentication and biometrics with IT? That’s Hitachi, and we are doing that too. (here)
And we could go on and on…
And this is why it’s interesting for an HDS employee to compete for share in the IT space today - which, it should be clear by prior blog posts, is a comfort-zone for me. And, yes, we are ready for bare-knuckle battles in the markets of storage, servers, data protection, converged infrastructure, etc. based on these technologies. And we will win our fair share.
But we (as HDSers) see, and are helping drive, the much larger outcomes that our TECHNOLOGY powerhouse parent delivers. Which, of course, are dependent on the leadership technology we bring to market.
But the real benefit of working with Hitachi is that we ask about the use of these technologies. Because Social Innovation has taught us - and Business Defined IT brings to our customers - the reality that “for what?” is usually more important than “how fast?”, “how big?”, or even increasingly, “how much?”
So, IT vendors. Split. Merge. Continue to chase a “what” instead of the “why.”
We’ll relish our position as a company with a broader vision, leadership technology and a unique approach to solving some big problems for our customers, and for everyone.