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FT-Hitachi Digital Transformation Forum

Navigating business leaders through the digital journey

Speakers include:
Naser Ali

Naser Ali

Hitachi Vantara

Sridhar Sudarsan

Sridhar Sudarsan


Paul  Clarke

Paul Clarke



The FT - Hitachi Digital Transformation Forum ​will gather C-suite executives and leaders from innovation, technology and strategy-based roles. Entitled ​‘Navigating the next stage of digital, connected transformation’​, the forum will take attendees on a journey to explore the complex ecosystem that enterprises must navigate if they are to reach a digital maturity that is future-proof and visionary.

fallback Add to my Calendar 06/27/2019 09:00:0006/27/2019 13:20:00trueFT-Hitachi Digital Transformation ForumThe FT - Hitachi Digital Transformation Forum ​will gather C-suite executives and leaders from innovation, technology and strategy-based roles. Entitled ​‘Navigating the next stage of digital, connected transformation’​, the forum will take attendees on a journey to explore the complex ecosystem that enterprises must navigate if they are to reach a digital maturity that is future-proof and visionary.FT-Hitachi-Digital-Transformation-Forum6219b1ecce95a3f7753af9046a1b2b44MM/DD/YYYY

Full Overview

Effectively, digital transformation is the adoption and implementation of new technologies that aid an enterprise in becoming more relevant to their customers in the digital age in which economies now operate. But is that enough for companies, particularly large incumbents, to survive?

With the rate at which technologies and devices ​— ​particularly those associated with IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence ​— ​are maturing, implementation alone doesn’t necessarily give enterprises enough firepower to compete in today’s increasingly disrupted markets. Everything from the purpose and strategy behind digital transformation to the external partnerships that allow it to flourish are crucial if enterprises are to effectively ‘win’ at digital transformation and remain hyper-relevant to their customers.

While advanced technologies and devices are some of the core catalysts behind digital transformation, the main challenges that enterprises have are focused more on a strategic level rather than a component-based one. Organisations need to create a sustainable ecosystem whereby their infrastructure can cope with the interoperability requirements of ever-evolving technologies, their company strategy needs to be fully aligned with the adoption of new digital assets and the partnerships they create must seamlessly interact with their long-term visions and culture. Ensuring the correct roadmap, tools and partners are in place to defeat these challenges is vital to how an enterprise successfully transforms.

The FT - Hitachi Digital Executive Forum ​will gather C-suite executives and leaders from innovation, technology and strategy-based roles. Entitled ​‘Navigating the next stage of digital, connected transformation’​, the forum will take attendees on a journey to explore the complex ecosystem that enterprises must navigate if they are to reach a digital maturity that is future-proof and visionary.


Agenda - 27th Jun

  • 9:00am
    Chair's Opening Remarks

    Malcolm Moore, Technology News Editor - Financial Times

  • 9:05am
    Opening Keynotes

    What does it take to govern an industry-leading enterprise through the next stage of digital transformation? How do you best harness the opportunities presented by advanced and connected technology and how do you establish the correct organisational culture and robust business models to reach digital maturity?

    09:05 The View from Hitachi

    Ram Ramachander, Chief Digital Officer - Hitachi Europe

    09:25 The View from the Executive

    Niclas Mårtensson, CEO - Stena Line

  • 9:45am
    Panel Discussion: The Data Debate

    When it comes to digital transformation and connected businesses, data is widely considered as the new gold. But as its desirability increases so do the associated challenges. By 2020, more than 25% of identified attacks on enterprises will involve the IoT security protocol. This, coupled with new stringent EU regulations, highlights the urgent need to balance the opportunities and risks of data-driven innovation.

    • How do you identify and extract the right value when IoT and digital transformation continue to breed unprecedented volumes of data?
    • As IoT matures how do you ensure your data continues to add value rather than create additional security issues?
    • From Cloud to Edge to Mesh, how will data networks evolve and, crucially, how will they be protected?
    • When will having a Chief Data Officer in the executive team become the norm?

    Jim Conning, Managing Director Data Services - Royal Mail

    Caroline Gorski, Group Director Data Labs - Rolls-Royce plc

    John Seglias, Chief Digital and Information Officer - Defra

    Sridhar Sudarsan, Chief Technology Officer - SparkCognition

  • 10:45am
    Networking and Refreshments Break
  • 11:15am
    Panel Discussion: Transformation Strategies: Connected Devices to Connected Business Models

    Advanced technologies and devices are creating unprecedented amounts of information and new customer touchpoints which enable organisations to better know their consumers and establish a competitive edge. But how can businesses transform vast amounts of data into actionable insight and use this to develop new customer-centric business models?

    • Competing with innovative, disruptive entrants through a corporate culture that nurtures innovation
    • How can IoT aid market-of-one personalisation and retain the ‘human-touch’ in a digital world?
    • Establishing a robust framework for new ‘product-as-service’ offerings
    • Realising the potential in ‘bundle-service’ models to diversify product offerings

    Mary Hewitt, Strategy Director - Arriva 

    Nicola McCheyne, Head of Innovation Ideas - Centrica

    Andrew Harrison, CEO - Airport Services - Manchester Airport Groups

    Emma Stace, Chief Digital Officer - Department for Education (DfE)

  • 12:00pm
    Panel Discussion: IoT in Context

    As IoT technology continues to mature, how will adoption progress in light of wider geopolitical and economic uncertainty? Which industries can generate the greatest value from IoT and what still needs to be done to establish a sustainable environment where partnerships and cultures can flourish in spite of wider contextual uncertainty and where IoT works for all enterprises?

    • How will 5G facilitate new capabilities for real-time monitoring and information exchange?
    • How will geopolitical uncertainty and its subsequent impact on global supply chains affect the development of new products, services and business models?
    • How can organisations determine which processes are best positioned for automation?

    Guillaume Sampic, Director - IoT Strategy, BT

    Henk Jan Gerzee, Chief Digital Officer - Royal Schipol Group

    Sarah GreasleyChief Technology Officer - Direct Line Group

    Naser Ali, Head of Solutions Marketing EMEA - Hitachi Vantara

  • 12:45pm
    Closing Keynote: A Connected Future

    Stepping beyond the enterprise, the full potential of smart communities and cities can only be achieved with a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach. How can enterprises, academia, regulators and local and national government partner together and create an enabling environment for innovation that supports positive social change?

    • How can living labs facilitate "learning by doing" to manage complexities and develop new models for collaboration across sectors and even between competitors?
    • How can digital twins accelerate learning and help de-risk physical projects?
    • How can IoT and smart infrastructure make autonomous vehicles cheaper and safer?
    • What new capabilities can be unlocked when using IoT in combination with other emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain?

    Paul Clarke, Chief Technology Officer - Ocado

  • 1:15pm
    Chair’s Closing Remarks
  • 1:20pm
    Networking Lunch

Speakers (15)

Naser Ali

Naser Ali

Field CTO - Data, Analytics & IoT
Hitachi Vantara

Naser Ali is the Field CTO for the Data, Analytics and IoT Division of Hitachi Vantara. He joined Hitachi Vantara after twenty years working for a range of big data, cloud, middleware, data centre management, storage and power management organisations where he handled product marketing, communications and strategic planning. Prior to that, Mr Ali was a research engineer for GE Lighting. He has an honours degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of York, a Master's degree in Optoelectronics from the University of Strathclyde, a professional postgraduate diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

Sridhar Sudarsan

Sridhar Sudarsan

Chief Technology Officer

Sridhar Sudarsan is the Chief Technology Officer of SparkCognition. He is responsible for driving SparkCognition’s product and technology strategy, leveraging next-generation artificial intelligence systems to secure and optimize assets across key industries.


With over two decades of technology leadership experience, Mr Sudarsan has been at the helm of several complex products and projects, collaborating with global customers on cutting-edge technologies. Previously, he was the CTO of IBM Watson Platform and Partnerships, where he led the technology strategy and architecture of the IBM Watson platform.

Mr Sudarsan is widely recognized as an expert on the business potential and application of advanced technologies. He provides thought leadership on AI solutions and patterns for clients, partners, academics, and R&D teams. He holds over 14 patents in the areas of AI and distributed computing, has published white papers and articles for a variety of outlets, and has been a featured speaker at conferences and universities.

Paul  Clarke

Paul Clarke

Chief Technology Officer
Sarah Greasley

Sarah Greasley

Chief Technology Officer
Direct Line Group

Sarah is Chief Technology Officer at Direct Line Group, with a focus on technology strategy, architecture, enabling complex business transformation and innovation. Sarah previously worked at IBM for over 30 years, and was an IBM Distinguished Engineer. She is experienced in architecture design and delivery, having led and delivered the architecture for large (>£800million) financial services industry programmes. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Computing  Society, and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and is an active proponent of diversity.

Jim  Conning

Jim Conning

Managing Director - Data Services
Royal Mail

As Managing Director of Royal Mail Data Services, Jim Conning harnesses Royal Mail’s trusted reputation and data expertise to enable consumers and organisations to interact both physically and digitally in secure and trusted environments.

Over more than 25 years, Jim has built an impressive track record of growing technology and data businesses across both the UK and international markets including EMEA, Asia and North America. He is highly regarded for driving shareholder value as well as helping customers improve their business efficiencies and profitability.

Emma    Stace

Emma Stace

Chief Digital Officer
Department for Education (DfE)
Guillaume  Sampic

Guillaume Sampic

Director - IoT Strategy
Caroline  Gorski

Caroline Gorski

Group Director - Data Labs
Rolls-Royce plc

Caroline Gorski is Group Director of R2 Data Labs, charged with developing the strategy and implementation of data innovation technologies and capabilities for Rolls-Royce that lead to new insights, new solutions and new business models, generating substantial value for the Group. R2 Data Labs was formed in 2017 to be a catalyst and accelerator for Rolls-Royce data innovation. 

Having graduated from Oxford University with an MA, Caroline has spent 25 years analysing, advising and managing strategic change at the leading edge of technology development, including as Head of IoT and Digital Manufacturing for Digital Catapult, part of the UK Government’s innovation support network. Currently, she holds NED and Board Advisory positions for CENSIS and Sensing Feeling as well as roles advising and supporting regional and national governments around the world in Digital Strategy development.

Ram Ramachander

Ram Ramachander

Chief Digital Officer
Hitachi Europe

Ram Ramachander has over 25 years’ experience in the software and ICT industry, both in large corporations and start-ups. Ram spent the 12 years prior to joining Hitachi as a successful entrepreneur building big data analytics and AI-based software businesses with investment from both UK and Silicon Valley.

In his role as Chief Commercial Officer, Ram is responsible for Hitachi’s Social Innovation business in EMEA (focused on IoT, big data analytics and AI) across several vertical sectors and industries, including energy, manufacturing, transport, smart spaces & smart cities. Since starting at Hitachi, he has successfully incubated and commercialised several IoT and AI-based solutions.

John  Seglias

John Seglias

Chief Digital and Information Officer

John Seglias is an IT Executive with a track-record of leading digital functions, delivering mission-critical programmes, managing substantial budgets, and assisting businesses in extracting maximum benefit and value from technology. He joined Defra as Chief Digital and Information Officer in March 2016 following a 25 year career in the private sector. He is responsible for Digital, Data and Technology Services, leading a team of over 1100 colleagues, supporting c. 25,000 staff, and delivering solutions that underpin the Department’s current and future business transformation programmes, including the delivery of all IT digital services necessary to ensure Defra is IT-ready for EU Exit.

Before joining Defra, John was Group CIO at Abellio, a leader in the provision of public transport services in Europe, and Global IT Director at Ipsos, a market research leader with offices in 85 countries. He is at ease operating internationally, backed by a multi-cultural profile having worked and lived in the UK, France, Greece, Lebanon, Germany, Luxembourg, and Spain. John is native in Greek and English, and fluent in French and Spanish.

Henk Jan Gerzee

Henk Jan Gerzee

Chief Digital Officer
Royal Schipol Group
Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison

CEO - Airport Services
Manchester Airport Groups
Mary Hewitt

Mary Hewitt

Strategy and Policy Director

Mary Hewitt has been strategy and Policy Director for Arriva UK Trains since 2017. She is a key part of the Arriva UK Trains leadership team, sitting on the boards of the Train Operating Companies. Mary’s expertise is in developing pragmatic policy solutions, understanding the commercial implications of policy, driving performance improvement and setting and delivering future strategies, against a changing backdrop.

Prior to joining Arriva, Mary worked in policy and strategy roles in the UK power sector where she was responsible for understanding and influencing the commercial implications of government policy on existing and future assets and played a key part in the development of the Electricity Market Reform. She started her career in strategy consultancy, with PwC initially before working for a smaller strategy consultancy, Corven. There she led multiple international assignments across a range of clients, taking her to a variety of places such as West Africa, the USA, The Netherlands and Russia.

She has a First Class MEng in Chemical Engineering with Management from the University of Birmingham.

Niclas Mårtensson

Niclas Mårtensson

Stena Line
Nicola  McCheyne

Nicola McCheyne

Head of Ideas Lab

Nicola McCheyne is responsible for internal venture creation in Centrica Innovations – a £100m investment fund targeted at changing the way we live, work and move through energy. Alongside this role, Nicola is the Commercial Director of Home Energy Management Ventures – a Centrica business created to transform the way energy is generated and managed in the home. In 2018, Nicola incubated Centrica Mobility Ventures, a business providing energy solutions for the electrification of the transport sector.

Prior to her time at Centrica Nicola spent 7 years in a sustainable energy social enterprise and launched two new business opportunities through social accelerator programmes. Nicola joined Centrica three four ago, where she was responsible for designing, developing and securing investment in the £19m Cornwall Local Energy Systems demonstration project, and over the course of her career, has raised nearly £50m for innovation projects and business investment.

Further to this, Nicola is leading efforts to establish a venture capital fund for women in cleantech, has a B.Eng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering with Business, an MSc in Sustainable Development and is a student at Cambridge Judge Business School studying for an MSt. In Entrepreneurship.  In her spare time, Nicola is a long distance sea swimmer and in 2017 successfully completed a solo crossing of the English Channel.


FT Chair (1)

Malcolm Moore

Malcolm Moore

Technology News Editor
Financial Times

Malcolm Moore took up the role of Technology News Editor in October 2018. Prior to this, he was the United Kingdom News Editor 2016 - 2018. Before being UK News Editor, Malcolm was Leisure Industries Correspondent for the Financial Times. He joined the Financial Times in April 2015 from Telegraph Media Group, where he was Deputy Head of World News and a correspondent in Beijing and Shanghai. He was the winner of the 2012 Foreign Press Association award for ‘News Story of the Year’. Malcolm was also a Rome correspondent, an economics correspondent and a business reporter for the Telegraph. Malcolm holds a BA from University College London in English and is based currently based in London.


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London EC4M 9BT


Presented By (2)

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.

Hitachi Europe Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., is headquartered in Maidenhead, UK. The company is focused on its Social Innovation Business - delivering innovations that answer society’s challenges. Hitachi Europe and its subsidiary companies offers a broad range of information & telecommunication systems; rail systems, power and industrial systems; industrial components & equipment; automotive systems, digital media & consumer products and others with operations and research & development Laboratories across EMEA. 

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