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How the Acquisition of Waterline Data Will Help Hitachi Vantara Scale Your Digital Advantage

Brad Surak
Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Hitachi Vantara

January 22, 2020

The opportunity to create new economic, social and environmental value by unlocking the “good” in data is immense.

While the problems we face as a society may be getting harder to solve, the advances we can make when we break down the silos between the physical and digital worlds are profound.

During my time at Hitachi Vantara, it’s been incredibly exciting to help our customers embrace new consumption models, and to develop new business models to drive those types of breakthrough:

We are helping to prevent illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by identifying the sounds of chainsaws and trucks in streams of audio data collected by treetop sensors.

We’re collaborating with Disney to create intelligent, data-driven solutions to increase the operational efficiency of their shows and attractions.

We’re helping to keep Britain moving sustainably by using data to enable the world’s biggest commercial electric vehicle project.

Wow! Can you imagine the good we can do by propagating this kind of value all around the world?

But the challenges of navigating from what’s now to what’s next – of extending benefits like these to every customer and every industry – are substantial.

If you’ve been involved in digital transformation projects over the past decade, you already know there is no one platform or solution that magically solves every data challenge.

Digital transformation is an architectural disruption, just like cloud. The ability to harness data to optimize supply chains, to deliver new customer experiences, to improve product quality, to enable new business models, and to deliver myriad other benefits – is not a discrete problem, like those that CRM or ERP software helped to solve.

Digital transformation is a journey that requires the adoption of a fabric of data technologies coupled to new processes. It requires the realignment of organizations, the acquisition of new skills, and new leadership.

That’s exactly the journey we are helping our customers to navigate with our DataOps data-and-analytics methodology, and by combining Hitachi Vantara’s best-in-class IT infrastructure, data management and analytics expertise with Hitachi Consulting’s expertise in AI, industrial solutions and digital transformation.

Today’s Big News

Today, we take another significant step forward in creating a world-class digital solutions portfolio with the announcement of our intent to acquire data cataloging innovator, Waterline Data.

Data catalogs have emerged as a key building block of successful DataOps projects. They are metadata management tools that help customers identify and classify large volumes of data. Without proper data cataloging, it is incredibly difficult to guarantee data quality and governance, and to deliver the outcomes that depend on it.

Integrating Waterline’s machine learning-enabled data cataloging solutions into our Lumada Data Services portfolio adds another vital building block to Hitachi Vantara’s DataOps offerings. It extends our ability to help customers more rapidly gain actionable insights from large datasets, and to comply with data regulations such as GDPR.

Unique Abilities

The acquisition of Waterline certainly meets our criteria for strategic alignment and big picture benefits, but the small picture is just as compelling. Waterline’s IP has many advantages that you can’t find anywhere else. Its cataloging solutions use AI- and rule-based systems to automate the discovery, classification and analysis of distributed and diverse data assets.

Also, Waterline does not require properly labelled data – overcoming the biggest hurdle to data lake success. For example, in order to correctly identify “insurance claims” in petabyte-scale data lakes, often just one properly identified data set will be sufficient to allow Waterline to propagate “insurance claim” labels to all similar datasets across the entire data lake, with extremely high precision.

What can you expect next from Hitachi Vantara?

We understand that digital transformation success – whether to transform industrial processes or deliver highly tailored customer experiences – requires more than off-the-shelf hardware and software. It requires deep technology and vertical expertise, proven architectures and best practices, custom software development, strong data science, integration across real-world multivendor topologies, and a strong ecosystem of partnerships to enable faster delivery of complete solutions.

Moving forward you can expect Hitachi Vantara to offer such capabilities, built on world-class edge-to-cloud-core infrastructure, enterprise digital solutions, and deep vertical solutions.

In the digital solutions realm, irrespective of industry, our focus will be to advance Lumada software and related solutions, data management and analytics, ERP modernization and integration, cloud acceleration and managed services and customer development to support our strategy.

In the industry solutions realm, we will develop and deliver products, services, and solutions that leverage our unique expertise and IP to target the vertical industries and segments that Hitachi is prioritizing as part of its digital strategy.

We’re working with customers in manufacturing, energy, transportation, financial services and other industries to help them adopt digital enablers such as IoT, cloud computing, and AI to transform their operations and business models.

Why Hitachi Vantara?

Put simply, our aim is to guide our customers on a journey that delights them at every step of the way through our innovation, pragmatism and accountability in delivering impactful outcomes.

We’re fortunate to be able to draw upon the broader Hitachi organization to deliver that type of experience to our customers. Hitachi’s scale and deep industrial experience gives us advantages over both smaller competitors, and larger competitors who lack capabilities spanning both the industrial and IT domains.

Digital transformation isn’t easy, but the future is bright, and we’re fired up to partner with you to deliver an immense new wave of economic, societal and environmental good.

Brad Surak

Brad Surak is Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Hitachi Vantara.