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Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Solutions and Services at Hitachi Vantara
Breder is leading the transformation of Hitachi Vantara in the development, marketing and go-to-market of outcome-based cloud, analytics and IoT solutions, and managed services.
Chief Creative Officer of Swelloquent Arts
Brisiel is an award-winning writer, producer and host with over 20 years of experience delivering creative content to audiences around the world.
This is the Studio NEXT podcast. I'm your host, Jeremy Brisiel. Thanks for being with me. You should be very excited because our guest coming up now is going to be a great conversation. I know for a fact, because I've talked to a him little bit already. Gary Breder, Director of Product Marketing.
Gary, how you doing?
Gary Breder, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Solutions and Services, Hitachi Vantara:
I'm doing great.
Jeremy Brisiel, podcast host:
You're feeling okay?
Oh, it couldn't be better.
That's fantastic. So, for those that don't know, let's talk about your position, Director of Product Marketing. What's your day to day? What does your job look like?
My day to day is mostly putting out fires. The people who get into the business of marketing are people who love to work. It's true, right? Because it's never done. There's always something to do and it's always different. There's always something new. There's new approaches in the marketplace, new technologies, new competitors, new partners, new customers, issues that they're struggling with, and new ways to bring customer value. I think that's why I've stayed in the game for this long.
Oh, that's great. That might be the best description of marketing that I've heard in a long time as well. It's a combination of putting out fires and then being fascinated by everything comes at you.
Yeah. Well, I think you should fix something, pick another line of work if that didn't suit you.
That's absolutely true. So, obviously at NEXT ‘19, there's a lot going on. In the industry landscape, cloud is certainly a word that has become pretty synonymous with everything. And everybody's trying to solve it and what it looks like: how it is cost savings, how you can accomplish so much more if you get it right. You see it that way. How do you see it playing out?
Cloud is a ubiquitous, it's not something that's coming. It's something that’s part of everyone's strategy. In fact, it's almost like saying IT these days, you know, there’s really no difference. Any IT strategy has a cloud strategy and vice versa. Everyone's using cloud now. People are in different points of that maturity curve. There are some folks who have jumped in with both feet without looking and others take a little bit more of a belt and suspenders type of approach. Being more cautious and everything in between. But it's part of every IT strategy. I think the real question is, what are people expecting from their cloud strategy? That's probably more important these days.
It's such an essential way to approach customers and to see not just what they want, but what they need and to help guide them on that path, on that journey, right? To get them through. There's plenty of competition. There's plenty of choices, plenty ways to get it done, but to get them to the end result that's best for them.
Getting them to the result. We talk a lot about outcomes. Customers are more and more focused on: What is the end state? What's the outcome? This is the big difference between the IT of the old days and cloud today: You care less about speeds and feeds.You care less about the technology, specs. We, you know, kind of all, we're a little of our inner geeks. We fell in love with this business because we're a little bit of a geek.
I don't know what you're talking about.
With cloud, it really is all about a means to an end. What can we accomplish? I think a lot of people look at this as being fairly simple. It should be easy to get the outcomes, but I think they discover, quite the opposite. There are a lot of challenges out there to get the result.
With that in mind, you talked about traditional versus sort of new. There are traditional ways to sort of evaluate how the cloud’s working for you, but there's also that sort of new mindset to evaluate how the cloud or the multiclouds worked for you. How do you see that playing out?
How I see that playing out with cloud today is, we've moved away from that kind of testing phase, sandbox phase, you know, seeing the experimental phase. And as you move into full production and relying on the cloud to run your business, it just brings in a different perspective of what you expect. So you're no longer looking at: Can this application run in cloud or can I move data from here to there? Or, what other data types can I bring together for new insights? You know, that, that's the experimental phase and that's kind of behind us. People are really looking at: How do I gain a competitive advantage in my industry? How can I move faster than my competitors? And they're looking at cloud to gain better insights into their customers, into their markets. And they're looking at cloud to give them the kind of business agility that CIOs have always demanded from IT, but IT was unable to deliver.
That's a great way to put it. I mean, I know there are folks out there — that hurts their feelings a little bit, but I think they'll manage, they'll get by. So how do you see Hitachi cloud services in that environment? Solving those problems but delivering both value and outcome?
I think there are a couple of things that we've done with our cloud services. Number one, we've really kind of looked at the services, they must be flexible so that our customers can choose the right kind of approach and pathway in their cloud journey. Something that makes sense for them and for each part of their business. In other words, we can't pick a particular cloud or a particular approach for cloud. We have to embrace all types of clouds. So very much a cloud-agnostic approach to: Let's get the job done. Let's keep our eye on the prize on what the business needs to achieve as opposed to trying to push our favorite technology or something that we really like. I think the second thing is that, in our cloud services, it's really been about: How do we accelerate that journey? We see too many customers getting bogged down; they're building something that they never built before. They're capable, but they're on that beginning part of the learning curve. So what we're trying to do is, we're trying to take that repeatability and leverage that, so that we can rapidly get people on their cloud adoption to help them achieve what they're trying to get done.
That’s the agility, the speed, the flexibility that is provided. That's just such a great way to help so many businesses achieve what they ultimately want to achieve. I mean that's ultimately the goal. It isn't, as you said: Hey, here's our stuff. This is the stuff you should use and this is all of it that you should use. But rather, it’s: Here's what we know you can use to be successful at what you do. So, with that sort of new mindset, we're at NEXT ’19, we didn't talk about that, but we are at NEXT ’19. Is there a new information about Hitachi Vantara cloud services that we'd like to share with the audience?
Yeah, we're really excited about the things that we're bringing to market, and expanding the capabilities that we have. I wish I could say we have something that's brand spanking new that's never been seen before. Those are the exciting headlines. But the reality is that when it comes to services, you really have to rely as a business, you have to rely on something that's a proven approach. You're really looking for best practices. Any kind of service. I look for that same kind of … I want my tax attorney, my defense attorney, my heart surgeon. I want them to…
That's a real specific trio that you need, Gary.
I don't want them to have some new way of doing things. I want them to adhere to best practices, but I want their methodology to be better than my other choices. So, I'm going to look at what's the methodology that's best and what are those outcomes that are best? So, as we've expanded our capabilities, it's really been looking at providing our customers with more options. So, we're really excited about adding the accelerator platform, providing those capabilities for Microsoft Azure, and doing a much better job at, at helping our customers move to more clouds in, in terms of their applications as well as the kind of things that we're offering with Hitachi Enterprise Cloud. The hybrid cloud infrastructure supports these environments. We're trying to build more and more capabilities so that you've got more of a ready-to-use cloud as opposed to a foundation that you can build upon or forces you to build upon.
Those are great announcements. And as you said, it doesn't always have to have new bells and whistles, a certain categories of things, the proven methodology that you can rely on. I don't want to really want, especially if I'm in a midrange or a small business, especially a start-up, I can't be risking some of my harder earned resource and capital on maybe an idea that might work. I would love to expand on proven methodologies. And that seems to be a big part of the provision.
I'd like to introduce you to some very large financial institutions that have even more aggressive service level requirements. Healthcare, you know, regulated industry. I think that this is where Hitachi has always excelled: We really are focused on that class of customers so that everyone enjoys that rock solid approach that we have.
Wow. That's great though. I think those industries could use that as a pathway as well. Before we say goodbye, what are some of the biggest challenges that Hitachi Cloud Services is solving short term, long term? What are the deficiencies that are out there that you see these solutions being applied to?
One of the things I would point to that's a pretty consistent is this idea of eliminating risk. You know, I mentioned the fact that a lot of companies are looking to accelerate their cloud journey and get things done much faster, this is impacting their cost. Because we're not talking about a little bit faster. We're talking about projects that might kind of drone on for a year and a half as opposed to getting wrapped up in 90 days. The kind of risk that is really important to customers is in that pre-engineered predesigned approach that's proven. I can't always take a chance if I'm a big bank and looking at my applications and how I run my business, or if I'm a healthcare provider. As a matter of fact, I almost never can. Right? I don't want to put those things at risk.
Now, if we look at some of the projects that we've encountered, we often find that a good CIO will look at: How do I, if I'm going to change things in IT a great deal, I'm going to break it up into smaller projects so it's less disruptive; it's less risky. If something goes wrong, I've only impacted a part of my IT operations and the last thing I want to do is to change everything at once. But the reality is that there are occasions where companies really do need to change quite a bit, all at the same time. You see this one where they're re-engineering their business process and redesigning their applications to suit that new business process and then the infrastructure for those new applications. You can't break this up as a one at a time or change just my supply chain and then I'll change inventory control. You know, there are times when you have to change everything at once and, and that makes it even more important to reduce all risk, to look for something that's proven, to look for something that you can count on and rely on.
Well, I mean it sounds to me like you've laid it all out brilliantly in terms of where the marketing is headed in terms of how the strategy is going to work. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day here in NEXT 2019. I'm pretty sure you've got a bike you’ve got to jump on here pretty soon and go for 50 or 75 miles. So I'll let you get some rest before you do that. Gary, thanks so much for being with us.
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