Hitachi: digitalization Japanese-style Premium

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How can a 100-year-old Japanese conglomerate, armed with industrial know-how acquired throughout the 20th century, reinvent itself from top to bottom in the digital age? Hitachi shows us how.

Interview with Brad Surak, product and strategy manager, Hitachi Vantara (July 2019).



With a degree in computer science from Purdue University, Brad Surak combines his experience as an intrapreneur in major companies (SAP and Business Objects) with his years as a consultant in technology consulting firms (DayNine, Cambridge Technology Partners, and Ernst & Young). Brad is also a specialist in digital transformations with a global reach. Before joining Hitachi Vantara, he successfully led the digitalization of General Electric.


Founded in 1910, Hitachi is the perfect prototype of a zaibatsu, one of the giant Japanese industrial conglomerates created during the imperial period that became the driving force behind the country’s economic boom in the 20th century.

Making the most of its historic roots

The Hitachi group covers very different sectors, manufacturing everything from elevators and electric motors to railway and nuclear equipment, and from televisions and air conditioning systems to water treatment solutions. “Hitachi has very deep roots in industry and technology,” explains Brad Surak, product and strategy manager at Hitachi Vantara. The group has been diversifying in information technology for over 50 years: data storage was its first venture, followed today by digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, connected objects, and so forth. “Our mission at Hitachi Vantara, which was set up in 2017, is to put our technological innovations at the disposal not just of our customers but also of our various subsidiaries so we can accelerate their digital transformation. Although the group now has a foothold in the US and Europe, it derives most of its income on the Japanese market. Digital is an opportunity for us to generate new revenue streams and roll out on an international scale.”

Harnessing the group’s firepower


Excerpt from Business Digest N°299, September 2019

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