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The Power of Ecosystems for Sustainable Success, Part 2

Simon Ninan Simon Ninan
Senior Vice President, Business Strategy, Hitachi Vantara

June 6, 2024

Ecosystem Cultivation and Commitment for Sustainable Growth

This is Part 2 of our blog series: The Power of Ecosystems for Sustainable Success. In Part 1, we explored why ecosystems matter, and how ecosystems can collectively derive symbiosis and synergies via a combination of value modes and a ‘whole solution’ approach. Here in Part 2, we showcase some noteworthy examples of Hitachi Vantara’s ecosystem philosophy and highlight the importance of cultivation and commitment in driving sustainable growth via such an ecosystem.  

Show me your friends, partner and collaborators…

… and I will show you your future. This is a saying that takes on fresh poignancy in the context of the topic of ecosystems. Your ecosystem shapes your identity and enables your future. Your relationships propel you forward. Your alliances extend your kingdom. Much as your dance partners make the steps count and cause the dance floor to come alive.

Fundamentally, it is this philosophy that animates Hitachi. For instance, Hitachi’s R&D group as well as our global corporate venture capital arm, Hitachi Ventures, have both established presence in Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs, because we want to be in the thick of the action in the spaces and communities where new ideas are generated, working with the companies and stakeholders that are moving the industry forward. That way, we are not left reacting to change, but rather being the innovators planting the seeds of change ourselves, and serving as agents of change as we promote the best ideas across the world.

Hitachi Vantara, too, is now a business anchored to a strong ecosystem philosophy, especially as we look ahead. We are proud of the technology that we create: world-class intellectual property that analyst report cards have consistently rated as competitively superior since our inception. However, we are just as proud of the alliances we have forged and the customer and market value we are able to deliver through them. We expand our collective reach and customer relationships via co-selling; we ensure high quality, integrated and optimized outcomes through co-delivery; and we bring fresh and robust solutions to life via co-creation. We collaborate with the world’s best on the most robust, reliable, and scalable solutions for infrastructure, hybrid cloud, and data protection. Our joint value propositions are even more powerful than what each player can individually bring to the party. Watch Our Webinar to learn how we work with our Technology Alliance Partners to bring the best of technologies together.

In Part 1 of our blog, we referenced the concept of “Whole Products” or “Whole Solutions” as described by Geoffrey Moore. Figure 1 below adapts that concept to Hitachi Vantara’s ecosystem approach. Working hand in hand with our ecosystem partners, we go well beyond storage and infrastructure solutions to deliver real and tangible data-driven business outcomes for our customers. This means engaging with both partners and customers in higher-order conversations about uncovering customers’ real business needs and where and how we can bring our collective strengths to bear to deliver against those needs. This means finding opportunities to add value and address gaps when you approach the solution as a whole rather than as a collection of parts strung together. And it means working in iterative fashion with more tightly meshed teams to ensure that a quality experience is delivered with maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Read Our Case Study to learn how we worked with Suva to build on proven partnership and adopt new, innovative technology for maximum performance.

Figure 1: Delivering Powerful Customer Outcomes with a Word-Class Ecosystem

Our Commitment to Sustainable Growth Through Powerful Alliances

We walk the talk, of course. Just in the recent past, there have been several announcements that have demonstrated our commitment to growth through solidification and expansion of powerful alliances, including:

Ecosystem Cultivation Worth the Investment

It goes without saying, however, that partnerships and collaborating for innovation take work. There is no easy button.

For one, well-functioning ecosystems are predicated on sound strategic choices. The right amount of assessment, relationship-building and alignment upfront will ensure that the groundwork is laid for the long-term success of the ecosystem. But it’s not simply about making bets in the right places. We need to make sure that when we invest in an ecosystem partner and they invest in us, that we are maximizing value for both parties. We also need to share similar values, because we know that our activities have a ripple effect on our industry, on society, and on the planet.

In addition, setting up ecosystems and making them work effectively is a transformational effort that requires a cultural shift supported by careful change management and education. A practical way to build this culture is for company leaders to help people unlock internal synergies among business functions, and once this mindset finds adoption, turning this view outside of the company to discover value in a broader ecosystem. Read about our Strategic Realignment for the AI and Hybrid Cloud Era,

Of course, you can’t unlock synergies overnight. It requires tactical efforts such as organizing differently, establishing the right incentives, compensation structures and setting new management objectives. For this system of gears to work effectively, the friction between them must be minimized through actions to improve speed and ease of doing business, and to maximize return on effort and resources.

Building a Foundation for Sustainable Success

Building a strong ecosystem requires strategic investment, shared values, and a commitment to collaboration. Companies that prioritize ecosystem health create a foundation for sustainable success, not just for themselves, but for the entire industry and the world around them.

Throughout the ecosystem building process, it is critical to reiterate the message that we are not in this for ourselves. We are all in this together and there is a bigger purpose that we are working towards. The tendency for many people is to treat this type of business relationship as transactional. How much should I put into this relationship? What am I going to get out of it? When will I see a profit? This line of thinking is not helpful because the best partnerships are not incremental, but integral. When we join forces and deliver value in concert, we benefit each other and value multiples over the long term. That tone needs to be set from the top, through strong executive sponsorship and commitment that can drive real change.

Adapting from the wisdom of one of the 20th Century’s great statesmen: Ask not what your ecosystem can do for you, ask what you can do for your ecosystem. By working together, we can unlock the true potential of technology and create a brighter future for all. We win bigger when we win together.

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Simon Ninan

Simon Ninan

Simon Ninan is Senior Vice President of Business Strategy, Hitachi Vantara