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CIO Interview with Mark Veronda, CIO of Global Solutions Group, Hitachi Solutions

For Hitachi, Constant Improvement, Connection Drive IT

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Few tech-driven enterprises are as diverse or as historic as Hitachi and its subsidiary, Hitachi Solutions. Global Solutions Group CIO Mark Veronda gives his take on how a truly global company balances rapid growth, business transformation, security, risk management, and technology alignment. 

What is your big focus as CIO?

There are three main areas of concentration that focus on business transformation, technology alignment, and user experience.

Business transformation and continuous improvement initiatives are a central area of focus.  Over the past several years we have experienced tremendous growth that has expanded our global capabilities throughout North America, India, APAC, and Europe.  Optimizing these capabilities through process and technology improvements is a key priority.  Our continuous improvement initiatives fall under a program called Kaizen that is based on Japanese quality principles, and incorporate the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) disciplines in driving business and cultural changes. 

Another primary focus is the alignment of IT services and resources with our primary go-to-market efforts and core business operations.  As the landscape of enterprise software changes, customers are looking for higher value industry solutions in shorter timeframes.  Hitachi is focused on delivering the next generation intelligent-industry cloud solutions and the platforms to deliver these applications and services is an area where technology alignment is a vital component to our success. 

Thirdly, being in the services and people-centric business, we’re continuously striving to enhance external and internal customer capabilities. Developing systems that provide thoughtful, effective user experiences aimed to simplify our customer’s lives is an area we are always looking to improve. 

How has your view of security evolved as the Internet of Things and mobile devices rise in prominence?

Being a part of Hitachi, security is at the forefront. We have compliance and risk management requirements that are directed by Hitachi Limited and executed throughout each of the Hitachi Group Companies. As it relates to IoT and mobility, both have been around for some time, but clearly evolving to new levels. From a go-to-market perspective, we are incorporating the needed security design principles into the products and solutions we deliver to our customers.  Internally, for our team members, we work hard to find the right balance between increased user productivity through mobility and the needed controls to protect our intellectual property and the Hitachi brand.

As you connect with so many industries, in what area has technology made the biggest impact?

We do touch many industries: Professional Services, Retail, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Oil and Gas, and Public Sector. Broadly, the technologies that allow companies to form connected communities and increase knowledge sharing, collaboration and process improvement have a big impact.  Given our distributed model and global geographies, we have adopted tools and platforms such as Skype for Business, Yammer, and Office365 applications to help improve team member and customer relationships around the globe.

How are you bringing non-tech leaders into the conversation?

Our continuous improvement initiatives are all centered around business benefit and value.  We have very few initiatives that are solely IT driven. This approach is deliberate, is integrated into our business case development and financial planning process when taking on new projects.  Our engagements are required to have business owner representation to ensure the voice of our ultimate customer, the business, is heard.  When delivering solutions for our external customers, we utilize our delivery methodology called Consensus.  Consensus has distinct phases, deliverables and defines project teams that have the appropriate levels of business ownership to maintain continuity with the business goals and objectives.

What challenge will technology conquer in your business by 2020?

The way enterprise software is being purchased, implemented, and supported continues to dramatically shift and will undoubtedly see new levels of maturity by 2020. We’re in a transitional period where industries and companies of all types are moving away from large, On-Premise deployments to a very different model that emphasizes, quick, pre-configured solutions, that accelerate enterprise capabilities, based on consumption economics.  At Hitachi Solutions, we understand this transformation, and are delivering innovative capabilities through our next generation Intelligent Industry-Cloud solutions.

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