The group is using this heritage of operational expertise and applying it to IoT. Much data is being collected, "now the question is what we are going to do with it", he said. Possible answers include better maintenance, gaining a competitive advantage, and better identifying what Hitachi's customers' customers are looking for.
"The level of the conversation HDS has with customers varies dramatically," Ablett said. One Australian customer moved a few years ago from buying hardware to cloud and managed services, and is now looking for a deeper partnership to apply IoT.
Conversations about solving customers' problems under the "one Hitachi" banner are increasingly common, so HDS's competitors are now more likely to be companies such as Siemens and GE rather than data storage vendors because few suppliers can match Hitachi's operational experience.
On the subject of digital transformation more generally, Ablett said the Asia Pacific region is generally "a little bit behind the rest of the world, especially the US, but Australia's right up there" and local executives seem to have a relatively accurate idea of how their organisations are progressing.
The downside is that Australia has a higher proportion of legacy infrastructure, so other countries in the region have an opportunity to leapfrog us, he suggested.