Matthew Hardman

Kaori Kitamura
May 13, 2024

1. In what ways do you utilise your past experiences to achieve success in your current position?

Honestly, I have been incredibly lucky in my career, with a diverse range of technology disciplines, companies, and geographies. One of my first roles was working as a software developer for a systems integrator where I would find myself building applications to track customer records for insurance companies to the next where I would find myself in the sheds of an Australian coal mine, building maintenance software for the mechanics for some of the world's biggest vehicles. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with large hardware and software companies across the APAC region, where each discussion with customers, partners and colleagues has been an opportunity to understand a different person's perspective on opportunities and challenges. Being able to listen, learn and try innovative solutions has helped me to achieve success in what I do today, which is connect people-driven outcomes with technology.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the technology industry in the Asia Pacific region today?

Data management continues to be one of the biggest challenges in advancing AI development. An organisation’s data enables them to uniquely differentiate their AI experience with customers, and as such, they will need to make their data accessible but also protect it to maintain competitive advantage.

Another challenge lies in connecting potential capabilities to value. Many organisations are in somewhat of a honeymoon phase, feeling that AI can solve every problem they might have, but they need to recognise that like any emergent technology or trend, value comes from the experiences or failures they encounter. Over time, organisations will have a better understanding of the use cases they can address with AI.      

The region also grapples with the prevalence of legacy systems. These systems often struggle to cope with the sheer scale of modern data demands, leaving organisations vulnerable to cyberattacks and overwhelmed by the volume of data they must manage.

Addressing these challenges presents opportunities for innovation and growth in the technology sector, as businesses strive to modernise infrastructure, fortify cybersecurity measures, and harness the full potential of their data assets.

3. What role do you see emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, playing in the future of businesses in the Asia Pacific region?

The emergence of technologies like generative AI has led to an explosive growth of processing required for data, and many companies are straining to keep up. One recent survey of IT leaders revealed that many IT professionals are struggling to manage AI projects and deal with the resulting deluge of data. According to the survey, nine in 10 IT professionals (88%) can't support the surge of AI-related requests that they have received at their organisation. A separate survey found that more than 75% of organisations are using multiple AI models and 90% said that they have faced challenges integrating AI with other systems.

Thus, while optimism thrives regarding AI's potential, there is also a recognition of the challenges involved in its implementation, with most firms in the region still in an exploratory phase.  As these emerging technologies mature, they have the potential to become fundamental components of business strategies in the region – driving efficiency and trust. However, their successful integration hinges on companies establishing the right data infrastructure to fully harness their capabilities and realise their transformative potential.

4. As the technology landscape continues to evolve, how do you ensure that Hitachi Vantara remains at the forefront of innovation and maintains its competitive edge?

In view of the evolving technology landscape with businesses struggling to keep up with the deluge of data today, we recently announced the completion of a strategic realignment designed to accelerate our company growth plan, including our ability to respond to market opportunities with a focus on hybrid cloud and generative AI.

The realigned Hitachi Vantara commands extensive infrastructure and data storage experience across manufacturing and hybrid cloud, as well as a shared focus on collaboration to drive meaningful business outcomes for the company’s customers. As a result, we will be able to innovate and adapt to the needs of the market in real time, while also building upon its long-standing expertise in managing data across mission critical environments.

We believe this will strengthen our ability to provide our customers with the AI-driven data performance, reliability, and resiliency they need across their hybrid cloud environments in order to realise real-world impact and growth.

In addition, we continue to invest in research and development and foster a culture that encourages innovation. We also collaborate with other leading technology partners to develop and deliver best-in-class solutions for customers.

5. What are the standout features and capabilities of Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform One, and how does it differentiate itself in the market?

As businesses face unprecedented challenges managing data among the proliferation of generative AI, cloud technologies, and exponential data growth, this is where Hitachi's Virtual Storage Platform One (VSP One) enters to transform how organisations manage and leverage their data in today's rapidly evolving technological landscape.

VSP One simplifies infrastructure for mission critical applications, with a focus on data availability and strong data resiliency and reliability measures, including mitigation of risks such as downtime, productivity losses, and security threats. It tackles the challenges of modern data management by eliminating the constraints of data silos and allowing every piece of information to work cohesively and with the flexibility to scale up or down with ease, empowering data to thrive in an environment that prioritises efficiency and speed.

6. Can you elaborate on the collaborative efforts with NVIDIA to develop Hitachi iQ, and how these solutions bring AI capabilities to industrial segments?

Hitachi Vantara and NVIDIA's collaboration represents a strategic initiative to spearhead advancements in AI solutions. This partnership not only solidifies Hitachi Vantara’s position in the AI landscape but also extends NVIDIA's reach into critical sectors, reinforcing a commitment to innovation and market expansion. Through this collaboration, both enterprises aim to leverage their respective strengths to drive unparalleled advancements in AI technology, empowering businesses across various industries with transformative capabilities.

Hitachi iQ sets us apart from other vendors in the market by offering tailored AI solutions that address the specific needs of industrial markets, by providing organisations with a unique combination of capabilities to drive digital transformation and achieve business objectives effectively.

7. In what ways do Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform One and Hitachi iQ contribute to addressing the challenges posed by the increasing data loads on existing legacy infrastructure?

With organisations struggling to scale data and modernise applications across complex, distributed, multi-cloud infrastructure, the need for a comprehensive data management solution across all data types has never been more critical. Results from a recent TDWI Data Management Maturity Assessment (DMMA) found while 71% of IT experts agreed that their organization values data, only 19% said a strong data management strategy was in place. Complicating matters are rising cyberattacks, which leave business leaders increasingly worried about security and resiliency. A recent survey showed 68% of IT leaders are concerned their organisation’s data infrastructure is resilient enough.

VSP One is transformational in the storage landscape because it unifies data and provides flexibility regardless of whether your data is in an on-premises, cloud, or software-defined environment. Additionally, the platform is built with resiliency in mind, guaranteeing 100% data availability, modern storage assurance, and effective capacity across all its solutions, providing organisations with simplicity at scale and an unbreakable data foundation for hybrid cloud.

Likewise, the Hitachi iQ portfolio was developed as a result of data-intensive emerging technologies such as generative AI spurring a goldrush to business transformation, which exacerbates the already-strained environments in which they run. The strategic partnership between Hitachi Vantara and NVIDIA will address the pressing need for AI solutions that can expedite digital transformation and reduce the complexity of deploying infrastructure for generative AI. By developing industry-specific capabilities through Hitachi iQ, the partnership aims to provide organisations with tailored AI solutions that meet their unique business requirements.

8. What sustainability measures does Hitachi Vantara have to support environmentally conscious operations?

We have noticed that companies seeking collaboration with us are increasingly centring their conversations around cutting their environmental impact. We are proud to say that Hitachi Vantara is committed to sustainability, aligning with global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, and our efforts include initiatives to decrease environmental impact and promote social responsibility.

We recently released a sustainability report outlining our key sustainability measures such as emphasising eco-friendly product development, waste minimisation, and end-of-life management, where our VSP One suite is ENERGY STAR certified with automate switching processes that deliver significant energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions by 30% to 40%; carbon emissions management where we generate and mitigate energy across our global sites, such as our Netherlands distribution centre, where on-site solar panels produce roughly one-third of its annual electricity consumption, with the remainder derived renewably from verified Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs); and collaborations with schools in South Africa and nonprofits in India to bridge the digital gap and address classroom hunger issues.

Due to these efforts, our technology has one of the lowest carbon footprints compared to other data infrastructure providers. Our customer Infosys managed to reduce its electricity and air-conditioning costs up 60% by using Hitachi Vantara’s technology in its data centres. It achieved this while continuing to run applications up to 90% faster than its previous-generation storage.

9. Looking ahead, what are the primary goals and aspirations for Hitachi Vantara in continuing to lead the way in Enterprise Storage, AI, and Hybrid Cloud solutions?

Looking forward, Hitachi Vantara is aspiring to become the No. 1 hybrid cloud company. It’s a really big statement, but there are several critical reasons driving this goal. Our unbreakable mission-critical technology ensures our indispensability in sectors like banking and healthcare. Given the exponential growth of data and the absence of a definitive leader in this domain, data workflows will necessitate a hybrid approach encompassing both on-premises and cloud solutions for the foreseeable future.

The hybrid cloud strategy realisation will hinge on leveraging AI to manage the data effectively, and since we are heavily invested in AI with Hitachi’s establishment of a US$300 million fund in 2023, this is why we feel we can do this.

Notably, our ability to separate our software from the hardware sets us apart. Our software for storage can reside anywhere, depending on where the customer is, and this is something that is that is very unique to Hitachi Vantara.

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