September 29, 2015
As a multibillion-dollar conglomerate with operations worldwide, Hitachi Ltd. touches almost every industry there is, ranging from health care to the building of entire railway systems. The IT portion of that business consists mainly of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), a Hitachi Consulting Group with more than 6,500 employees, and Pentaho, a provider of business intelligence and data integration software that Hitachi acquired earlier this year.
Now Hitachi is looking to bring all those capabilities to bear under the auspices of a Social Innovation Business Unit lead by Kevin Eggleston, who, as a senior vice president of Social Innovation at HDS, is responsible for business planning, solution requirements and the alignment of research and development.
Each of the Hitachi business units have operated fairly independently of one another for decades. HDS and Pentaho, for example, have extensive channels even though many of its partners may either compete with Hitachi Consulting. However, like any other large-scale consulting group, it’s just as likely that many HDS and Pentaho partners will wind up being subcontractors to Hitachi Consulting on any given contract.
But with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) it’s clear that Hitachi is now looking to marshal all its resources more efficiently. To that end, the Social Innovation Business Unit is looking to build repeatable solutions to target specific vertical industries such as the energy sector or health care, Eggleston said. As part of that effort, Hitachi is making major investments in metadata and machine-learning technologies typically associated with big data applications.
Eggleston said Hitachi, like most major vendors these days, views IoT as being the next great trillion-dollar opportunity for IT. Given its extensive history of building everything from construction equipment to entire telecommunications systems, Hitachi is naturally well-positioned to be a major driver of IoT projects across the all the vertical industries it operates in, Eggleston said. The challenge facing Hitachi—and any one of the partners that engages any one of its subsidiaries—will be figuring out exactly where they can add value to the Hitachi IoT equation.
Hitachi has not worked all that out just yet. But it clearly intends to be more focused in terms of making use of all the tools at its disposal to compete more aggressively against other global systems integrators such as IBM. The question channel partners will have to ask themselves is to what degree they want to view Hitachi as a potential competitor vs. an organization that already has millions of relationships that collectively could represent an interesting new route to market for their services.
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