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Bill Schmarzo’s Excellent Adventure
Thu, 28 Jun 2018

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I am very pleased to welcome Bill Schmarzo to our Hitachi Vantara community. Bill is very well known in the Big Data Community having authored two books, “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business” and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science."  He is considered the Dean of Big Data. He’s an avid blogger and frequent speaker on the application of big data and advanced analytics to drive an organization’s key business initiatives. Bill teaches at the University of San Francisco (USF) School of Management, where he is their first Executive Fellow.


Bill joins Hitachi Vantara as a Big Data Analytics Visionary, CTO IoT and Analytics. In this role he will guide the technology strategy for IoT and Analytics. With his breadth of experience delivering advanced analytics solutions, Bill brings a balanced approach regarding data and analytic capabilities that drive business and operational outcomes.  Bill will drive Hitachi Vantara’s “co-creation” efforts with select customers to leverage IoT and analytics to power digital business transformations.  Bill’s background includes CTO at Dell EMC and VP of Analytics at Yahoo.


When he joined Hitachi Vantara, he posted two blogs on LinkedIn which I am linking to below to help you understand his thinking and his perspective on what we are doing at Hitachi Vantara.


In the first post, Bill’s Most Excellent Next Adventure, he explains why he left Dell EMC with a heavy heart after 7 marvelous years and decided to join Hitachi Vantara. Here is a quote from that post. Please take the time to read the complete post.


I will be joining Brad ( Brad Surak, Chief Product and Strategy Officer ) at Hitachi Vantara – the digital arm of Hitachi – as their Chief Technology Officer for Internet of Things (IOT) and Analytics.  I will have a chance to leverage nearly everything that I have been working over the past 20 years.  And instead of just talking, writing and consulting on Digital Transformation, this time I will get the chance to actually do it; to get my hands dirty and bloody my elbows making it all work.  It truly is the best job I could have dreamed off, and if this will be the final chapter in my working career, then damn it, let’s make it a great one!

And I promise to take you all along on this most excellent adventure.  You can learn first-hand what’s working, what’s not working and what we all can do to make Digital Transformation a reality. You will learn from my successes and learn even more from my failures.  And in the end, I hope that we will all be a bit smarter from the experience.”


In his second post, My Journey Through the Looking Glass: Hitachi Vantara Introduction Bill gives his impressions on his first week in Hitachi Vantara.


I spent my first week at Hitachi Vantara attending sales kickoff, and wow, was I impressed! Hitachi Vantara is making a pivot to build upon its core product and services strengths to deliver data-driven innovations around data monetization and business outcomes. And I could not be in a happier place (sorry Disney), as this is everything that I have been teaching and preaching about the past 30+ years; that organizations must become more effective at leveraging data and analytics to power our customers’ business models.”


In this post he goes on to give his basic views on Big Data, digital transformation, IoT, and analytics. Business Model Maturity, helping customers with their digital journey, the why of digital transformation (starts with the business), monetizing your IoT, Digital Transformation value creation, Digital Transformation customer journey mapping, and providing links to previous blogs in which he addressed these topics. Please read this post and link to these topics for a wealth of great insights. I expect to see even more as Bill begins posting on our Hitachi Vantara Community.


He concludes this post with the following comment:


“I can’t say enough about how energized I am about where Hitachi Vantara is going from an IOT, analytics and digital transformation perspective. It matches everything that I have been teaching and preaching over the past many years, and I am eager to build it out in more detail via hands-on customer engagements.”


I have been reinvigorated just by meeting Bill and hearing his validation of our strategy and direction. Please welcome Bill Schmarzo to our Hitachi Vantara Community!

Beyond Cool!
Wed, 20 Jun 2018

In my last blog post I commented on Hitachi Vantara’s selection as one of the “Coolest Business Analytics vendors”by CRN, Computer Reseller News, and expanded on Hitachi Vantara’s business analytics capabilities. CRN’s report positions business analysis tools at the top of the big data tools pyramid to derive insight and value from the ever-growing volume of data. In this post I will be expanding on how we address the rest of the big data pyramid.


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Other analysts and trade publications like Network World also refer to this as a Big Data Fabric which is gaining more attention as analytics become a driving force in driving business outcomes. Whether you think of this as a big data pyramid or a big data fabric, the concept is a converged platform that supports the storage, processing, analysis, governance and management of the data that is currently locked up in different application silos and is the biggest hurdle to overcome for developing meaningful and accurate business analytics.


A comprehensive big data pyramid or big data fabric must provide features and functionality, such as data access, data discovery, data cleansing, data transformation, data integration, data preparation, data enrichment, data security, data governance, and orchestration of data sources, including support for various big data fabric workloads and use cases. The solution must be able to ingest, process, and curate large amounts of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data stored in big data platforms such as Apache Hadoop, MPP, EDW, NoSQL, Apache Spark, in-memory technologies, and other related commercial and open source projects, and do it simply, efficiently, and cost effectively.


The strength of the information fabric you weave is directly affected by the quality of data you stitch together. For any organization that is actively investing in anything remotely close to a data lake, the focus must be on data quality before data use.  A key point that many organization seems to miss in determining the worth of their data is that just because data is being collected, that does not mean that organizations are collecting the right data.  They may be either collecting very little of something very important or not collecting the right data at all. Data quality impacts business effectiveness


Effective data quality is only reliable when it occurs as close to the point of data creation, and long before it is given asylum in the data center or blended downstream for some other business purpose.  This is important because it is here that Hitachi Vantara really shines.  Both Hitachi Content Intelligence and Pentaho can be used as, “Data Quality Gateways” designed and implemented in the data stream to affect data veracity and bolster the source of truth expected out of the information fabric.  Regardless of whether we are talking about discovery, orchestration, management, governance, control, preparation, etc. focusing on the quality and correctness of data is what makes the information fabric reliable and trustworthy.  More importantly, when you perform these veracity activities is up to you – that is the power offered by Hitachi Vantara’s solutions.  Certainly, we would continually suggest that it be well before data is stored in your data center, but we do not force that best practice on our customers.


Additionally, our two products allow you to sub-segment your dataset based on the business outcome that is desired.  For example, if you are working with data sets in a manner that allows you to answer very specific questions based on known datasets in a time-sensitive manner, Pentaho provides the right solution for you with additional capabilities to blend and visualize that data.  If the business outcome is based more on exploratory activities across multiple datasets and allows for time to conduct the exploration, then Hitachi Content Intelligence provides the ideal solution.  Both can process the data instream and at contextual levels.  Both offer the ability to leave the data where it resides or augment and migrate the data to our Data Services Platform (Hitachi Content Platform) where it can be stored for its lifespan in a compliant, self-protected, and secure manner.


Data is a reusable commodity, where value may be gained from different data points and can continue to provide additional and valuable insights that may not have been imagined in the first analysis. Hitachi Content Platform is the ideal repository for long term retention of Big Data with its geo-no backup-data protection, secure multitenancy, governance and security features, extensible metadata, self-healing reliability and availability, low cost erasure coding storage, cloud gateway, and the speed and scalability that leverages the latest advances in infrastructure technology.


This is a very high-level view of what we provide for Big Data Fabrics. In subsequent posts, I will expand on some of these concepts which differentiate us in the big data space. Hitachi Vantara has the most comprehensive set of big data and big data analytics tools built around our integrated Hitachi Content Platform with Hitachi Content Intelligence, and Pentaho solution sets.