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New technologies and adoption trends that influence IT strategy, and the issues and opportunities they represent.

The NEXT Big Thing

I didn’t go to Vegas looking for the next big thing. I went as a Canadian media delegate to attend Hitachi NEXT, Hitachi Vantara’s annual smart data conference. The event brought together 10,000 people with the goal of sharing insights and knowledge about data, the new currency for the digital economy.

I’ve been to NEXT every year since 2017, when Hitachi launched the inaugural event celebrating the birth of Hitachi Vantara, the merger of Hitachi Data Systems, Pentaho, and Hitachi Insight Group. The vision was to transform Hitachi from an infrastructure player to a data-centric business, which would allow the company to better deliver customer outcomes.

Since 2017, Hitachi has focused their message around leveraging100+ years of Operational Technology experience and more than half a century of IT expertise to deliver a “double bottom line”, a mission that drives both economic and social benefits for customers and society.

This year, Hitachi Vantara put the industry on notice in a big way with several significant announcements that included industry leading infrastructure and software solutions and key strategic partnerships. In addition, environmental outcomes were also highlighted as a third bottom line that was solidified by customer successes.

Hitachi’s “Powering Good” mission resonated with many attendees I spoke with. I interviewed 17 senior leaders, including Hitachi executives, their customers and partners, as well as media colleagues. We captured a wealth of insights that have been compiled into10 videos that can be watched below.

In part one of a two-part video collage, I asked Marcel Escorcio, Ken Marks, Prem Domingo and Kevin Lyons of Hitachi Vantara about their key takeaways.

Hitachi Executive Perspectives

Part two features perspectives from Michael Nash, a Hitachi partner; Mark Cox of ChannelBuzz; Mathi Natarajan of CGI; Brian McColl of ESI; Shuja Goraya of Precision Drilling; Craig McLellan of ThinkOn, Jude Vanniasinghe and Michael Bastedo of Bell Business Markets; and Corin O’Conell of Broadcom.

Industry Executive Perspectives

Paul Lewis, Global VP and CTO of Hitachi Vantara gave me a private tour of the Solution Showcase. In this 9-min video, Paul connected the dots of Hitachi’s “Powering Good” message via a visual display of ecosystem of value, industry and outcome-centric approach, data-driven strategies, edge-to-cloud infrastructure, and social innovation efforts. The tour also featured Hitachi’s LiDAR detectors that monitored our every move.

Solution Showcase Tour with Paul Lewis

When speaking with several customers and partners of Hitachi, I was impressed by Bell and ThinkOn. The former, a large telco provider who’s trying to transform itself in a competitive marketplace. The latter, a wholesale provider of infrastructure and data management and one of the fastest-growing SMBs in Canada. Both have been a customer and partner of Hitachi for some time. I was curious about their perspectives of the partnerships and their learnings from NEXT this year.

Executive Insights with Michael Bastedo

Executive Insights with Craig McClellan

One of the highlights for me was seeing a Canadian success story on the mainstage. Precision Drilling, a Calgary-based oil and gas company, started their digital journey three years ago. At NEXT 2018, Shuja Goraya, CTO of Precision Drilling realized that their initial approach of “widget first, data second” couldn’t have been more wrong and that “whatever you do with digital, it has to start with data”. Through co-creation with Hitachi and in a span of seven months, they achieved 25% to 35% performance gains and reduced the reporting cycle from 2-3 weeks to daily. As a result, Precision was recognized with the Digital Transformation Award at NEXT 2019. For an industry that is historically behind the technology adoption curve, it was truly an inspiring story.

In this featured interview, I spoke with Shuja about his exciting and fast-paced journey, lessons learned, and what’s ahead for Precision Drilling. Shuja also shared the one key message from the event that he will apply to his mandate.

Executive Insights with Shuja Goraya

I had the opportunity to sit down with three senior Hitachi executives for an in-depth discussion about the announcements and their significance for a CIO driving a digital transformation agenda. My conversations with Paul Lewis, GVP and CTO; John Magee, VP, Portfolio Marketing; and Hu Yoshida, CTO, yielded a wealth of crunchy goodness. Their messaging was authentic and consistent.

They spoke about the importance of intelligent data operations in enabling digital transformation and offered their advice to CIOs. We also discussed the topic of talent through co-creation and Hitachi’s efforts in building a culture of technology and social innovation.

Executive Insights with Paul Lewis

Executive Insights with John Magee

Executive Insights with Hu Yoshida

Because Marcel Escorcio stole my microphone earlier (see: collage part two), I decided to let him have the last word. As Regional Vice President and General Manager of Canada, Marcel shared his key observations, what the announcements mean for his Canadian customers, and why driving business outcomes with a strong ecosystem of partners is a necessity.

Executive Insights with Marcel Escorcio

I asked everyone about their key takeaways, and it’s only fair that I share mine. First, it’s clear that having the right data-driven strategy can alter the DNA for any business in the digital economy. Second, doing well and doing good can co-exist. A technology company with both social and environmental sensibilities can power good.

I didn’t go to Vegas looking for the NEXT big thing, but to my delight, I found it.

Nasheen Liu is the Managing Partner and SVP, CIO Program Strategy at the IT Media Group spearheading the company’s business plan and leading our media and executive branding practice. She also chairs our CIO Advisory Board comprised of senior IT executives from industry and academia.

Past Attendees

ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Avison Young - VP Global Enterprise Architecture & Integration

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bell Business Markets - Director, Strategy & Planning

Bell Canada - National Director, Digital Transformation

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT


BFL CANADA - Director, Cybersecurity & IT Risk Management

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Director, Technology & Operations Transformation

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Goose - CTO

Canada Live - VP of Technology

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canada Protection Plan - Head of IT

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Capgemini - Service Delivery Director


Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CBI Health Group - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

CDSPI - Board Director

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CI Global Asset Management - VP of Enterprise Infrastructure $amp; Operations

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Richmond Hill - CIO

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Colliers - Head of Technology & Data

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Deloitte - Director, Risk Advisory

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

D+H Partnership - VP, Head of Canadian Mortgage Technology

eHealth - EVP, Technology

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enbridge Inc. - VP, Technology and Information Services

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS


Equitable Bank - CIO

Equitable Bank - CISO

Equity Financial Trust - VP, IT

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Finastra - SVP, Head Technology Managed Services

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP - CIO

Freedom Mobile - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Geotab - Board Member

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Grand River Hospital - Director, Data Governance & Analytics

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Haventree Bank - VP, Technology

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi Vantara - GVP & Global CTO

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

HSB Canada - VP IT

IBM Canada - Associate Partner, Payments Industry

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

Interac Corp - Director, Platform Engineering

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KFC Canada - CTO

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT


LCBO - Director, Applications Systems


Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lifeguard Digital Health - Chief Security & Informatics Officer

Loblaw Companies Ltd - Senior Director, Customer Engagement Technology

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

Manulife - Global Head of Private Markets & Real Estate Technology

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

MaRS Discovery District - Managing Director, Fintech and Commerce

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

Metrolinx - EVP & CIO

Minto Group - VP IT

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

MullenLowe Group - Global CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions


Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

OPTrust - AVP, Enterprise Data Services

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - EVP, Data & Technology


OMERS - SVP, Data & Advanced Analytics

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - SVP, Product & Delivery

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Osum Oil Sands Corp - Manager, IS

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Pason Systems - Manager, Digital Communications & Corporate IT

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Pythian - CTO

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

RBC Royal Bank - VP, Technology Platforms & Risk Management

RBC Royal Bank - Global Cybersecurity VP

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Rheem Manufacturing - CISO & Enterprise Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Roche - Head of IT Americas – Operations

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT


Russel Metals - VP,IS

Salvation Army Canada - Board Director

SCI Group - CIO

Scotiabank - Head, Systems Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Head, System Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - Global Head, GBM Compliance & Transformation

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

SmartOne Solutions - President & CIO

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Sunco Communication - COO

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - CISO & Global Head of Infrastructure Services

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Parking Authority - CIO

Toronto Police Services - CISO

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Toronto - Director, Centre for Management & Technology

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Valencia Risk - Managing Director

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company - Director of Innovation Outpost

World Health - Director IT

Wolseley Canada - CIO & COO

WSIB - Board Director

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

York University - Board Director

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