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IT Life – Aiming High

Richard Gadd from Hitachi Data Systems tells us about his IT Life

Tell us about your company, how long have you been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?

I’ve worked in technology for over 20 years and joined Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) nearly two years ago to lead the UK & Ireland business. Our aim is to help companies to innovate with their information and work towards the Hitachi Group vision of Social Innovation, helping societies to be safer, healthier and smarter.

I personally have a passion for leadership and optimising the talent profile of an organisation so that’s what I’m focusing on at HDS at the moment.

What motivates you right now?

The changing role of technology within the enterprise is really exciting. I love working with businesses that are looking at how they can use technology to innovate and transform their business to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

What has been your favourite project so far?

Richard Gadd hitachi data systemsThat would have to be the IT transformation project we worked on with a leading UK banking customer. Following a period of meticulous planning, we were able to execute against each criteria the IT team had set and demonstrate measurable business outcomes without a single outage during the transformation period. The solution from Hitachi Data Systems resulted in a 92 percent power use reduction, saved 200 tonnes of CO2 and the team has seen close to 100 percent increase in performance.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?

I’ve worked in data storage for the last ten years with EMC and HDS. Before then I was in the channel working on tech integration, but my very first technology job was in the photocopying business.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

A pacemaker! I think over the next decade, we’ll see even more advancements in wearables, consumer tech and how everything integrates into smart cities. Hitachi Group companies are uniquely positioned to help societies and businesses solve some of the world’s biggest problems through Social Innovation – from public safety to sustainability, transportation, telecoms and healthcare – and it’s exciting to see how this will all play out in the real world in the coming years.

Who’s your tech hero?

Hiroaki Nakanishi is Chairman and CEO of the Hitachi Group of companies and was awarded an honorary KBE for his services to UK and Japanese trade relations earlier this year. He’s played an integral role in bringing the Group, which includes over 900 subsidiaries, closer together and worked closely on the project to bring Hitachi Rail to the UK. Recently their new facility was opened in Newton Aycliffe at an event attended by David Cameron and George Osbourne, and they’ll be working to supply InterCity Express Programme trains to run on some of Britain’s key routes.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?

My children think I prefer my iPod to them, but in reality I think it’s fascinating that I can store 5,000 songs on a tiny device having once spent three full days recording my parents’ entire CD collection. Apple is so pervasive across work and home environments and I admire the company’s operations.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

We’re seeing a fundamental change in the role that the IT department plays within a business. The old principles of business are still relevant – making/saving money, reducing risk, enhancing customer experience – but the ways in which IT departments can now ultimately help to achieve them has certainly increased. IT has come to be seen as a strategic asset helping to deliver business value; this is evidenced with Lloyds Bank for example, who publically stated that its business transformation will be driven by IT as it looks to reduce time to market whilst improving customer experience.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire the most and why?

In line with the iPod, the company I admire the most is Apple after it transformed itself and innovated to become the most pervasive consumer tech organisation in the world. Google and Amazon are similar organisations that are pushing the barriers in how we consumer technology.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?

Cloud means different things to different people, but ultimately a cloud model allows businesses to be more flexible and have a solution with the service levels to cater to their needs, whilst bringing their overhead costs right down. Right now, we’re working to help many organisations consider what mix of public, private and hybrid cloud works for them.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Shorter – I was always a head above everyone else! I come from a military background and always imagined that I would join the Army, but instead I’ve applied my passion for leadership within a commercial context.

Richard Gadd is managing director UK & Ireland, Hitachi Data Systems

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