This last week I have spent a lot of time in the company of Pentaho and oXya, the two newest members of the Hitachi Data Systems family. It has been an eye opening experience for me in seeing how we are moving into the brave new world of solutions that are based on a service delivery that result in a significant customer outcome. I know a lot of people are struggling with how these two companies fit into our traditionally engineering / product-based world and how we can integrate them into our DNA. But I have to tell you that I am so excited about what they have to offer HDS and our customers.
So let's start with oXya; they are an SAP cloud delivery company. oXya Runs SAP. They advise, consult architect and size SAP systems and then they host and support them from the physical infrastructure through the operating system, the data base into the basis SAP module, and they do it for a fixed fee, for all services. They keep the lights on for all mission critical SAP environments. They base their cost on the throughput required of the customer systems. They have a wealth of expertise in SAP, the modules, the databases and the operating systems on which it runs. The really unique thing for me though is that they have customer-dedicated teams that monitor the health of, patch, troubleshoot, run routines and monitor SAP services in a single physical environment. When compared to say IBM or HP, who can perform the same tasks, the difference is time to resolution.
Because the team literally sits together around a single cluster of desks in the control centre, it means the customer only has to iterate any issue once and all the parties associated with that customer can work immediately, in parallel, to resolve the issue. They can isolate the problem, without hand-offs and their MTTR (Mean Time To Resolution) is minutes or hours. HP and IBM, on the other hand, have their teams dispersed throughout the world; the OS team in Spain, the Database team in Poland, there server team in India. This means the customer has to repeat his issue to each team, who in turn have to wait for the previous team to investigate and determine it's not their problem before handing off to the next team. This can be very long winded and take several hours or even days to resolution. Would you want that for your mission critical systems?
oXya also has a very clever system to make themselves both scalable and "cookie cutter" in the way they can build out their service to add more customers quickly and efficiently. In fact this has set me thinking about how we can use this model to improve our Managed Cloud Services and deliver faster, repeatable services more easily ourselves. They build out their customer teams to 10 people over time having started with 3 - 5 experts. The experts train up each new member of the team until they have 10 people in the team. Then, when they need to scale they split the team in two to create a second team without losing any expertise thus avoiding compromising customer support. The two smaller teams then set about training up new team members until they hit 10 members and the process starts over. Not only does this build continuity of methods, policies, procedures but also provides a great, predictable succession and promotion path for junior employees.
oXya run their SAP HANA customers on UCP for HANA, having made the decision to deploy on Hitachi infrastructure several years ago. They use it because they recognized it has for the best TCO in their data centres and the best reliability. They are also now helping us to improve the product directly in the factory. We are drinking our own champagne! I am really excited about the possibilities that are now available to extend this capability within HDS's other customers and add potential services off the back of their methods.
And now to Pentaho; another seriously exciting marriage for Hitachi. Many people wondered why on earth would we join forces with what is, at first glance, a data base company. Personally I feel this was a stroke of genius. Pentaho brings the ability to analyse data from many different sources such as sensors, disparate Data marts and data warehouses that cannot ordinarily talk to each other without massive consulting engagements. Hitachi builds machines that are full of sensors and we now have an SAP capability that is second to none. Pentaho works very well on top of SAP HANA and can attach this kind of machine data to to it which will enable outcomes to happen.
But what are the sorts of things that Pentaho enable already? Why would any customer be interested in talking to them? What do they deliver in outcomes? This is where it gets really interesting. So in the iron and steel industry Pentaho built an application to help their client analyse the costs of producing a ton of steel and work out market fluctuations that enabled them to increase the price by $6 a ton. When the client produces 100 million tons a year, that makes a significant difference to his bottom line. So you tell me the value that Pentaho (now HDS) brings to our customers? In the UK Pentaho worked with a government agency across 12 disparate data warehouses, that could not share data, to analyse specific shortfalls identifying not only $35bn potential revenues to collect, but where to go and find them! How much value is there in that? I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture of why Big Data is important and how Hitachi Data Systems is now in the prime seat to walk the talk to help its customers deliver significant outcomes.
Of course I am particularly delighted that this creates new and exciting services offerings possible, and in my new role, to hunt them down to make them happen.