Moving on, he said he has distilled HDS' industry expectations into top five trends for APAC 2017. "There are three main sources for these trends - a global Forbes digital transformation survey, our global CTO Hu Yoshida's trends and my own views of the local region."
"With digital transformation rising up the agenda of CIOs across the world in 2016, we expect to see an increasing number of organisations striving to reach digital maturity in 2017," said Skingsley. "According to the findings of an upcoming Forbes Insights research survey, sponsored by HDS, enterprises in APAC generally believe they are further ahead in their digital transformation journeys than their global counterparts. A belief that is likely to be validated in 2017."
Thirty-four (34) percent of the 573 c-level executives in the recent Forbes survey came from the Asia Pacific region, he said. Among those surveyed, 55 percent of APAC respondents expect their organisations to undergo vast digital transformation in the next two years, 6 percent more than the global average of 49 percent.
"Market pressures such as cutting costs and fear of challenges from innovation-driven internet based disruptive startups are driving the race to transform," he said. "Many companies are stages of transition to the Big 'C' cloud (large providers), and the little c cloud (on premise) or a mix of the two (hybrid)."
"Organisations are also handling bi-modal IT (as coined by Gartner) and continuing the gradual transition from traditional stacks to systems of innovation using converged infrastructure, object storage and so on," Skingsley added.
"In essence, transformation is also largely driving the top five trends this year: agile transformation of IT, accelerating transition to the cloud; transitioning to systems of innovation; a centralised data hub; and Smart IT - the integration of IT and OT (operational technology)," he said.
"It is a clear lesson learnt from the highly disruptive internet-based businesses that the ability to wield data effectively is extremely valuable. Many of these businesses are fundamentally data, a simple interface and insightful business logic. Traditional enterprises realise now that they have not used their valuable data as effectively as they might have," Skingsley had said earlier during an official announcement of these five trends.
Looking ahead, Skingsley said: "The real future for HDS is operational technology, or OT. Actually, the parent company Hitachi always has been an OT company. The OT approach combines both information and operational technologies in infrastructure transformation. A recent example is Hitachi's work with British Rail where the metric was how well the trains run on time. Meeting this requires both operational (process) and IT in the equation. One IT aspect was (IoT) sensors on trains linked to central data house for analytical processing."
He said this OT approach has always been a strong strategic driver and value add for business for many decades and will continue to be key to the Hitachi group's future.
"And of course, the security aspect of IoT is a very important aspect as can be seen by the major DDOS attack via IoT in the US recently, which took down Netflix," Skingsley added. "Connecting IoT by internet may not be the ideal approach but currently there is no perfect matrix. Security needs to address the weakest links in a chain."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.