Hortonworks and the Age of Data

Evolution and growth are common in organizations of every sort but especially those in the IT industry. That’s partly due to the nature of technology itself, which tends to get cheaper and easier to produce over time, but competitive issues also come into play. Once a company can make a living, it attracts others who want a piece of that same pie. The process is often like dealing with ants at a picnic, though at other times it’s more akin to a visit from a hungry biker gang. In any case, sitting still and exuding a Zen-like calm isn’t an option unless you prefer a life of poverty.

But how do you get to that new place? The path forward is most often linear, with vendors expanding their well-known strengths into new areas and capabilities. Think of VMware leveraging its hypervisor skills from workstations to servers to other associated data center technologies. But it can also involve leaps forward for both the vendor and the industry, like enterprise storage leader EMC’s acquisition of VMware or PC-pioneer Dell’s decision to become an end-to-end systems vendor.

In every instance, it is critical for a vendor to believably communicate the reasons behind its proactive evolution, the assets, skills and strengths it brings to the journey and the likelihood of arriving at its final destination. Otherwise it risks alienating customers, partners and allies and inspiring them to walk away.

Last week hosted its first annual analyst day in San Francisco that addressed these and other issues. Let’s consider what the company had to say and how well it succeeded in describing its plans and ongoing evolution.

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the .

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