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As we mark one year since Hitachi Solutions established its presence in Greater Manchester, we reflect on a period of growth, collaboration, and innovation. Over the past year, we’ve reached significant milestones and built valuable relationships with our clients and the local community. This blog not only celebrates our achievements but also looks forward to the future, highlighting our vision and strategy to become the region’s number one Microsoft AI partner.

Our goals for Greater Manchester 

Hitachi Solutions has ambitious expansion plans for the Greater Manchester region. With an already substantial community of employees based in Greater Manchester and the opening of a new office in the heart of Manchester a year ago, it was a thrill to be part of a breakfast briefing on our vision, strategy and growth at the exclusive Manchester Ivy. 

The event was a testament to our commitment to the region, bringing together over 20 employees and key stakeholders from across Greater Manchester, including representatives from the Greater Manchester Combined Authorities, Manchester Digital, academia, the public sector, and the broader business ecosystem. Our goal was to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and complexities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how Greater Manchester can collaborate to nurture the city’s technology talent pipeline. 

At Hitachi Solutions, we aspire to become the region’s number one Microsoft AI partner. Leveraging over 20 years of experience with Microsoft as a Business Transformation partner and Inner Circle partner, we aim to harness the skills and capabilities of our 3,000-strong global workforce.  

AI’s Role in Business

To kick off the event, our resident Head of Data & Analytics, Robert Worsley, discussed the role of AI in business, exploring both the opportunities it presents and its challenges. Rob emphasised that AI is not a new concept. When he graduated from the University of Manchester in 2005, AI was already available in the form of machine learning and data science applications. However, since 2022, AI has become a predominant buzzword, much like the internet in the 1990s. The current focus is on Generative AI, which allows for the rapid creation of new content (text, images, and code) and is accessible to the general business user, driving the latest wave of innovation. 

Rob highlighted that AI is no longer just for data scientists; organisations are now integrating it as a core component of their digital transformation strategies. Reflecting on the evolution of Generative AI, he noted that while 2023 was the year of excitement and experimentation with AI tools, 2024 will be the year organisations start to seriously integrate AI into their business processes, driving adoption and creating significant business value. Rob concluded by warning that any organisation choosing to ignore AI risks being left behind. 


Insights from Nick Edge of Likewize

One of the highlights of the event was hearing from Nick Edge, Head of Fraud and Technology at Likewize. Likewize, a UK-based organisation with operations in 30 countries, handles a wide range of services from mobile insurance cover to trade-ins, recycling, and premium technology support. Nick candidly shared the AI-related challenges facing their organisation, emphasising that while AI has potential limitations, such as the creation of false images on social media, it also offers significant benefits. By partnering with Hitachi Solutions on a proof of value, Likewize identified manual processes that could be automated, allowing them to detect fraudulent cases ten times faster than manual methods. This sentiment was echoed throughout the room, with a consensus that AI’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks, provided proper guidelines and governance are in place. 

AI’s Role in Education

Another important topic was the role of AI in education. Greater Manchester continues to invest in technology, ensuring that the younger generation has the right skills and access to digital resources, which is crucial for the city’s development. City leaders posed the question: what does Hitachi Solutions look for in digital skills among young people? While many expected us to highlight specific universities or technical skills, our General Manager, Simon Drake, surprised them by emphasising the importance of soft skills. The ability to hold conversations, solve problems, and listen are fundamental attributes that Hitachi Solutions values highly, alongside technical proficiency. 

Culture is also a critical factor for us. As a recognised ‘Great Place to Work,’ it’s essential that new hires fit into our organisational culture. Despite being part of the large conglomerate that is the Hitachi Group, Hitachi Solutions operates more like a smaller company, where independence and cultural fit are paramount. 

Manchester Young Professionals partnership

During the briefing, we also discussed our collaboration with Manchester Young Professionals (MYP). Hitachi Solutions are supporting MYP in educating and creating opportunities within the technology sector. A common misconception is that the technology industry is only accessible to software developers and experienced IT professionals. In reality, there are diverse and rewarding roles in design, marketing, sales, and project management. Technological advancements, particularly in AI, have made technology consulting and software development roles more accessible than ever before. 

Key Takeaways

Moving forward, we will continue to collaborate with leaders and pioneers in the Greater Manchester region, supporting young people to enter the technology sector and helping businesses embrace AI. This is an incredibly exciting time for Hitachi Solutions and the wider regional government of Greater Manchester. We are committed to making a lasting impact, driving growth, and fostering innovation in the region. 

Steven James

Author Spotlight

Steven James

With over 25 years of experience in the software and IT services industry, I am a seasoned business development professional passionate about delivering value through innovative and customised solutions. I have helped businesses transform their operations by leveraging cloud services and Microsoft business applications, improving client retention and productivity through a platform approach to technology adoption.