Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

In brief: During its brief history as a collection of Hitachi Ltd. data properties, Hitachi Vantara continues to grow and remake itself. It has now added Hitachi Consulting and Intelligent Data Cataloging company Waterline Data. The new company combines IT Infrastructure, Data Management and Analytics.

The first news is the combination of Hitachi Vantara with Hitachi Consulting as one company to create a new digital infrastructure and solutions company.

The new Hitachi Vantara aims to become the world’s preferred digital innovation partner by unlocking the “good” in data that benefits customers, raises the quality of people’s lives and builds a sustainable society. Hitachi Vantara will specifically bring a competitive edge to the digital domains that matter most – the data center, data operations, and enterprise digital transformation.

The new Hitachi Vantara combines the best consulting-led digital solutions and vertical industry expertise of Hitachi Consulting with Hitachi Vantara’s IT domain expertise. Going forward, the integrated company will help customers develop practical, scalable digital strategies and solutions that transform operational processes, improve customer experiences and create new business models to drive innovation and growth.

For example, the new company will offer a holistic manufacturing industry practice as one of several vertical industry practices. The manufacturing practice will integrate consulting methodologies for addressing quality, customization, sustainability and new business models with data-driven solutions such as Lumada Manufacturing Insights from Hitachi Vantara, which integrates silos of manufacturing data and applies AI and machine learning to evaluate and enhance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

“A barrage of data and technology is disrupting enterprises and industries the world over,” said Toshiaki Tokunaga, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Hitachi Vantara. “Through the integration of Hitachi Consulting, the new Hitachi Vantara will be uniquely equipped with the capabilities our customers need to guide them on their digital journeys. We’re going to be the company that helps customers navigate from what’s now to what’s next.”

The Hitachi Vantara portfolio is built upon a foundation of world-class edge-to-core-to-cloud infrastructure offerings, including the recently introduced Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 5000 series, the world’s fastest data storage array. The portfolio further features AI and analytics solutions, cloud services for application modernization, systems integration and change management services for SaaS-based ERP implementations and migrations, and Lumada-based digital industrial solutions. Hitachi Vantara’s offerings are all backed by world-class business consulting, deep experience in improving organization effectiveness, co-development capabilities and global delivery services.

With its expanded capabilities, the new Hitachi Vantara will play a key role in advancing Hitachi’s 2021 Mid-term Management Plan, which aims to make the company a global leader through “Social Innovation Business.” The Social Innovation Business strategy centers on combining Hitachi’s industrial and IT expertise and products to create new value and resolve social issues.

Hitachi Vantara will help advance the plan by expanding revenues from digital business, by digitally transforming Hitachi’s industrial businesses, by fueling international growth, and by delivering social, environmental and economic value which helps customers contribute to the attainment of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

As announced in September 2019, Toshiaki Tokunaga, a 30-year Hitachi veteran who has successfully transformed several Hitachi businesses, will serve in the dual role of chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Hitachi Vantara.

The company’s two business units, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Solutions, will be led by Presidents Brian Householder and Brad Surak, respectively. Hitachi Vantara today also announced details of other appointments to its executive leadership team.

Hitachi Vantara Will Integrate Advanced Data Cataloging Technology Into Lumada Data Services Portfolio

In further news, Hitachi Vantara announced acquisition of the business of Waterline Data, which is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. It provides intelligent data cataloging solutions for DataOps that help customers more easily gain actionable insights from large datasets and comply with data regulations such as GDPR.

Waterline Data delivers catalog technology enabled by machine learning (ML) that automates metadata discovery to solve modern data challenges for analytics and governance across edge-to-core-to-cloud environments. Waterline Data’s technology has been adopted by customers in the financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries to support analytics and data science projects, pinpoint compliance-sensitive data and improve data governance. It can be applied on-premises or in the cloud to large volumes of data in Hadoop, SQL, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud environments.

Waterline Data’s patented “fingerprinting” technology is the cornerstone of its solutions, removing one of the biggest obstacles to data lake success. Fingerprinting uses AI- and rule-based systems to automate the discovery, classification and analysis of distributed and diverse data assets to accurately and efficiently tag large volumes of data based on common characteristics.

Integrating Waterline Data technology with Hitachi Vantara’s Lumada Data Services portfolio will provide a common metadata framework to help customers break down data silos distributed across the cloud, the data center, and the machines and devices at the edges of their networks. By applying DataOps methodologies to the unified datasets, customers can more rapidly gain insights and drive innovation.

“Our research illustrates that almost half of enterprise data practitioners are spending more than 50% of their time simply trying to find and prepare data for analysis. Data catalog products have emerged in recent years as strategic imperatives for enterprises seeking to address this challenge while also improving data governance,” said Matt Aslett, research vice president, 451 Research. “This acquisition is logical and strategic: Waterline Data’s capabilities are a complementary fit for Hitachi Vantara and its Lumada Data Services portfolio. Adding Waterline Data furthers the company’s ability to address growing demand for products and services that deliver more agile and automated approaches to data management via DataOps: helping enterprise consumers of data ultimately leverage information in a fluid, yet governed way.”

“Hitachi Vantara provides customers with the digital building blocks, DataOps approaches and industry solutions they need to transform their organizations through data-driven insights,” said Brad Surak, president, Digital Solutions, Hitachi Vantara. “Waterline Data technologies complement Hitachi Vantara’s DataOps expertise and will become key offerings in the Lumada Data Services portfolio, bringing our customers greater visibility, tighter quality control, improved compliance and better management of their data.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition of Waterline Data is subject to customary closing conditions and it is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Hitachi’s fiscal year 2019 (ending March 31, 2020).

Upon completion of the acquisition, Hitachi Vantara will make Waterline Data technologies available as standalone solutions as well as integrated components of the Lumada Data Services portfolio.

Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

Software Partnerships Boosts Digital Engineering

Next to acquisitions, partnerships are driving actions among major digital industrial supplier players. With today’s announcement, Aras, who labels itself “the only resilient platform provider for digital industrial applications,” announced a strategic partnership with ANSYS that includes the licensing of the Aras platform technology to enable the next generation of digital engineering practices.

When we last saw ANSYS on this blog, Rockwell Automation had announced a partnership to enhance its digital twin and simulation offering.

ANSYS will leverage the underlying Aras platform technologies such as configuration management, PDM/PLM interoperability, API integration, and add simulation specific capabilities to deliver highly scalable and configurable products that connect simulation and optimization to the business of engineering — creating new ways of exploring and improving product performance.

Organizations increasingly expect to leverage simulation throughout the product lifecycle to interoperate with their existing PLM, ALM, and ERP applications. Additionally, customers must address scale and complexity challenges with data and process management, traceability and availability of simulation results across the lifecycle.

ANSYS is leveraging Aras’ resilient platform services combined with its simulation domain expertise and technology for new product offerings to improve productivity and maximize business value from simulation investments. ANSYS will deliver commercial offerings for simulation process and data management, process integration, design optimization, and simulation-driven data science.

“With our open ecosystem approach, this unique collaboration combines the strengths of ANSYS’ industry-leading multiphysics portfolio and the resilient platform from Aras for digital connectivity to dramatically enhance customer value,” said Navin Budhiraja, vice president of cloud and platform business unit, ANSYS. “As simulation technologies impact every product decision, we see the ability of ANSYS solutions to interoperate and link with heterogeneous systems as an important step to accelerate the digital transformation for our customers.”

“We believe that simulation is essential to developing tomorrow’s next generation products, and that better data and process management of simulations is required to enable the digital processes of the future which will support these products,” said Peter Schroer, president and CEO, Aras. “We see the ANSYS and Aras partnership as a potential game changer in connecting simulation to engineering processes for traceability, access and reuse across the product lifecycle.”

Building A Digital Industrial Ecosystem

Building A Digital Industrial Ecosystem

Industry and manufacturing leaders recognize the trend to the next step in the evolution of enterprise effectiveness and success. The industrial digital revolution is an overnight sensation that has been 30 years in the making. We began with digital controls then adding human interface and then information handling.

Internet of Things with its proliferation of sensors and other smart edge devices, IP networking, data science, and advanced analytics (business intelligence) combined take us to a whole new level of enterprise effectiveness.

The trite question from marketing people often goes, “What’s keeping our customers awake at night?”

Well, are executive worried about the capability of technology?

Two research reports just came my direction recently from a couple of my go-to sources for what’s happening with the thinking in the industrial/manufacturing executive suite. One is from PwC, What’s Next in Manufacturing: Building an Industrial Digital Ecosystem, and the other from Accenture Digital Skills Gap Slows Manufacturers’ Push to Build Digital Factories.

No, it’s not technology that worries them. First it’s people and culture. Are there sufficient people with digital skills? Will the culture make the transition? Then, of course, they worry about how large the investment might become and what the return will be. It’s people and economics.

PwC Digital Industrial Survey

In this report, PwC shares results from a survey of global industrial products companies, shedding light on what manufacturers are doing now to build out their digital operations and what bottom-line benefits they expect to yield through those efforts.

Buying into digital: manufacturers plan to ramp up investments

In the last two years, US manufacturers invested an average 2.6% of their annual revenue in digital technologies. In the next five years, they expect to lift that investment to 4.7% of revenue—for an estimated $350 billion in investments in digital operation technologies across automotive, industrial production and manufacturing industries alone.

Venture capital funds flowing, too

Since 2011, some $3.6 billion has poured into VC-backed start-ups across a selection of digital technology sub-sectors, with investment rising at a 47% clip–more than double the annual growth of total VC funding (18%) in all sectors over the same period.

“Digital deals” have comprised 15% of all US M&A activity since 2012

According to a PwC/Strategy& analysis, more than $6.0 billion has been invested on “digital deals” in North America alone since 2012, comprising some 15% of all M&A deals over that period.

The greatest challenge to a “digital vision” is cultural

In the context of embracing digital operations technology, three of the top 10 challenge areas identified by surveyed companies relate to organizational readiness and financial concerns. Some companies anticipate high investment requirements with unclear return on investment, and lack of digital standards and issues related to data security and intellectual property are also noted.

PwC Mfg Research 1 May 2016

Monetizing digital operations sought through cost reductions, revenue generation

Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers expect that adopting digital manufacturing technologies will translate into lowering operating costs by at least 11% mostly via efficiencies through automating processes and production.  Meanwhile, over half of these manufacturers expect such adoption to boost revenues by at least 11%.

How digital technologies drive bottom-line results   Manufacturers are just scratching the surface of monetizing digital manufacturing.  Some key drivers to achieving cost-cutting and revenue uplift from digitization with the introduction of smart, connected manufacturing technologies and products and services include:

  • Lowered “price of variability” across production and processes
  • Moving from analogue products to  “connected, digital products”
  • Manufacturing data…and  new business models
  • Software-enabled upgrades to products
  • Pay-as-you-go model

Building a digital manufacturing strategy

Building a digital strategy requires a thorough self-assessment to determine a company’s “current state” of its digital evolution—and, just important, defining its “target state”.  This means tailoring digital operations solutions to a business’ assets and making the right moves at the right time—from ramping up data analytics capabilities, to monetizing product data to considering a “digital deal”.

PwC Digital Mfg Research 2 May 2016

PwC concludes, “The future of digital manufacturing holds many “what-ifs”.  But, if it unfolds as dramatically as our survey indicates, most all manufacturers will be altered to some degree.  And, for every “what if”, there are choices manufacturers ought to consider.”

Accenture Researches Industrial Digital

Take a look at some of the results of Accenture’s research. Although the majority ofmanufacturers have implemented digital platforms, more than half (51 percent) lack the skills to operate digital factories. The more successful manufacturers have advanced talent strategies in place to digitally enable the workforce of the future.

Cracking the Code on the Digital Factory, a report based on a global study of 450 manufacturers, found that a growing skills gap is one of their biggest concerns – a situation that has worsened in recent years as manufacturers have transformed their operations using new technology, analytics and mobility capabilities.

Accenture May 2016

Fifty-five percent of manufacturers, up from 38 percent in 2013, reported a skills gap among skilled trades laborers, who need to operate increasingly advanced digital machinery and equipment, such as 3D printers or modeling and simulation tools on the plant floor. Likewise, 60 percent of manufacturers, up from 31 percent in 2013, cited a shortage of maintenance workers skilled in the use of predictive maintenance analytics that leverage data from embedded sensors in a machine-to-machine environment.

“For manufacturers to realize the full potential value of digital factories, they need to redesign their workforce to include new manufacturing skills, such as analytical reasoning and data-driven decision support,” said Russ Rasmus, managing director, Accenture Strategy. “Developing a comprehensive talent strategy inclusive of new digital skills is an imperative for today’s manufacturers.”

Digital Factory Leaders

The research identified a small group of manufacturers (8 percent) that outperformed their peers by increasing production and profitability by more than 10 percent since 2013. These “leaders” are more likely than their peers to understand which new skills they need for future growth and success, and have a more effective strategy to attract, develop and retain this new breed of manufacturing talent.

A majority of these leaders (73 percent) more frequently reported already having the requisite digital skills, as compared to 49 percent of other manufacturers, and they were nearly 50 percent more likely to report a higher degree of visibility into what skills they needed. That has allowed most of the leaders (81 percent) to achieve greater internal workforce mobility in roles involving digital, enabling them to match employees with managers who need those skills.

Barriers to Success

While these digital factories are enabled with rapidly developing technology innovations, the technological aspect of their implementation is not the top barrier to success. Seventy-five percent of the deployment challenges cited by survey respondents are related to skills, organizational change or structure, and the talent within the organization.
Chief obstacles that hinder manufacturers’ digital adoption.

“Manufacturers must aggressively manage these non-technical barriers as they deploy their digital factory capabilities. These include the ability to create new processes, lead teams made up of workers and machines, and constantly update training programs,” said Rasmus.

Building A Digital Industrial Ecosystem

GE Becomes Industrial Software Giant

Much time has been invested learning about GE’s new directions, including GE Digital, Digital Twin, Digital Thread, Industrial Software, and Industrial Internet of Things. Then I saw news coming from GE’s annual report–that it has a $5 billion industrial software and analytics company within it that is growing at 20% annually. That is a significant industrial software giant. Letting the GE letter speak for itself:

Digital Industrial

“We are just beginning our transformation as the Digital Industrial Company. The Internet has had a massive impact on consumer productivity and commerce. Its impact on industrial markets is just now being realized. By 2020, 10,000 gas turbines, 68,000 jet engines, more than 100 million lightbulbs and 152 million cars will be connected to the Internet.”

“At GE, we have decided to generate and model this data ourselves—both inside the Company and with our customers. This is what we mean by becoming a Digital Industrial. Our Digital Industrial capabilities will expand our growth rate, improve our margins and bring us closer to our customers.”

As for the Industrial Internet of Things

“There was a time when every sale had a clear endpoint, followed only by routine service and maintenance. Now, sensors on our products send constant streams of data, analyzed and translated into upgrades that drive productivity in industries where even the smallest incremental efficiency can mean very large gains. Capturing it will be a mission in every one of our businesses. Our aspiration is to offer with every GE product a pathway to greater productivity through sensors, software and big-data analytics.”

Benefits

“Our investments are aimed at delivering more productivity for our customers and GE. The performance, so far, of technology companies to generate industrial productivity has been subpar. Industrial productivity, which averaged 4% annually from 1990-2010, is only 1% today. This is because pure connectivity does nothing to create value. Operational productivity requires domain data, physical and digital engineering models, industrial analytics and the ability to modify machines to achieve different outcomes. Ask a hospital CEO how their results have changed once they implemented a new Electronic Medical Record System, and the answer is typically silence. They still lack the data that drives outcomes.”

Industrial Software Killer App

“The ‘killer app’ for the Industrial Internet is GE’s Digital Twin. GE is creating living digital profiles of 500,000+ industrial machines in the field to provide new opportunities for customer growth and productivity. The Digital Twin is a software model of a physical asset or process that will make it possible to manage more precisely than we ever thought possible and deliver better outcomes. The Twin will create new business models and services for GE’s customers and our businesses. On the GE90 engine, we have used Digital Twins to increase fleet availability while saving tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary service overhauls. In rail, we are using Digital Twin models of the Evolution Locomotive to enable our customers to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. The data economy for the industrial world has arrived, and GE is in a unique position to lead it. We enter it bringing decades of deep domain expertise about our industries and volumes of data about our machines and their processes that no one else can match.

Top 10 Software Company

“With this technical leadership, GE can become a top 10 software company by 2020. At the center of this effort is our cloud-based operating system, Predix. Predix offers our customers complete situational awareness to monitor, and continually improve, equipment performance. In practice, it will assure everyone in a given enterprise–whether it’s an airline, a hospital, a railroad, an oilfield, or a wind farm–a real-time stream of relevant information, accessible on mobile assets. Everything we are doing in data and analytics comes together in this operating system.

“We plan to open Predix to our customers and other industrial companies. This gives GE a unique opportunity to create value in the platform ecosystem. We launched Predix in the second half of 2015. By the end of 2016, we expect it to have 200,000 assets under management, 100 GE applications and 20,000 developers creating many more applications.”

Proof of Industrial Internet

“GE applications provide a show site for the Industrial Internet. This year we will generate $500 million of productivity by applying data and analytics inside GE. We will have 75 ‘brilliant factories’ driving yield, cycle and uptime through model-based design. We are using model-based design on our New Product Introductions which allows us to develop and launch new products with reduced cycles, lower cost and higher quality. We can correlate material usage with product performance to change the work scope in a service agreement which drives productivity for GE and the customer.”