UTS Library

The Great Information Glut


Hitachi Data Systems

PR Company: 

Hitachi Data Systems

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2010 C10 - 10



Executive Summary: 

Over the past 5 years Hitachi Data Systems had grown Share of Voice from 5th to 2nd place, however, the coverage was mostly in Technology�centric publications and Hitachi had a clear case of “Follow the Leader” syndrome always playing catch�up rather than setting the agenda through the delivery of a unique point of view.

In conjunction with Howorth, Hitachi Data Systems commissioned an independent study conducted by Sweeney Research. The 36 page research report “The Great Information Glut – A look into Australia and New Zealand’s information burden and why we need an Intervention,” found one in three organisations are struggling under the excessive growth of digital information. Hitachi recommendation, undertake an “information intervention” calling for a strategic look at how digital information assets are managed.

The initiative exceeded all expectations – the media strategy produced over 30 articles including Hitachi’s first Australian television Interview; improved Government Relations with John Sheridan, Division Manager, Australian Government Information Management Office requesting a briefing on the findings following a call from Hon. Lindsay Tanner asking for detail on how findings applied to Government policy ; & the messaging/research report was used in a direct marketing campaign that delivered over AU$4,200,000 revenue – a 1,492% ROI.

Situation Analysis: 

Over the past 5 years Hitachi Data Systems had grown Share of Voice from 5th to 2nd place, however, the coverage was mostly in Technology�centric publications and Hitachi had a clear case of “Follow the Leader” syndrome always playing catch�up rather than setting the agenda through the delivery of a unique point of view.

Compounding the challenge was the fact that Hitachi Data Systems’ conservative Marketing budget did not allow for print advertising, making Public Relations the primary voice into the market. By not having a unique perspective Hitachi was rapidly becoming seen as a “me too” provider despite being the leading innovator in the industry investing the most in R&D.

With the intent to build thought leadership in the marketplace, in conjunction with Howorth (Hitachi’s PR Agency), an independent study was commissioned, conducted by Sweeney Research, to form the backbone of the PR initiative.

Upon completing a Competitive Analysis review of over 1,000 media articles across the 5 largest competitors it was identified that firstly none was focusing on business imperatives rather focusing on a technology�centric conversations and secondly none were leveraging their Managing Director to drive thought leadership.

These findings coupled with the appointment of a new media�savvy Managing Director, Neville Vincent, presented Hitachi with an opportunity to:

•        Position Neville Vincent as a thought leader in the A/NZ Business and IT industry;

•        Carve out a clear identity for Hitachi as a trusted, ethical and honest company, and a leader and innovator in the industry ; &

•        Differentiate Hitachi from its competitors in the local market.


The research consisted of two components:

  1. Competitive Analysis Review
  2. Commissioned Research

Competitive Analysis, undertaken by Howorth, reviewed of over 1,000 media articles over a 12 month period of the 5 largest competitors. The purpose of the research was to analyse competitive messaging themes, thought leadership comments and messaging frequency. This analysis allowed for the identification and assessment of key topics to take to market.

Hitachi commissioned Sweeney Research to conduct a survey of senior IT decision makers familiar with the ICT operations of their organisations in July 2009. Four hundred confidential phone interviews were undertaken across A/NZ to build a statistically representative cross�section of organisations with more than 100 employees. The phone interviews consisted of a comprehensive questionnaire exploring the ways in which these organisations managed information, the impact this had on their operations, the ways in which this could be improved and their views on the current economic climate.

The research and execution model leveraged a five stage framework to maximise impact spanning nine months, whilst the POV messaging development leveraged a four phase process. Both elements are displayed in the follow page.

Research diagrams

Target Policies: 

Primary Public

The primary target public for this initiative were Senior Executives (CEO, COO, CFO, CIO and General Counsel) within mid�market to Enterprise prospective clients across both Corporate and Government sector. This explains why we were focused on delivering a message beyond our traditional domain of Technology publications.

Secondary Public

However, as we have a strong technical user base, due to our innovation and engineering�centric approach, we could not afford to ostracise the Technical Influencers within our existing client base.

As a result we also need to be able to provide a technology slate to the messaging within the Technology publications.

Communication Strategy: 

To maximise coverage the media strategy included pre�briefing key publications, aligned the launch date (September 15th) with the Sky Business Interview and leveraged independent sources to increase credibility of the findings, these included Professor Susan Williams, Information Management Specialist, Business Information Systems at University of Sydney and Dean Walters, COO, AUSTAR Entertainment (Hitachi customer). This approach helped journalists gain a deeper understanding of the key findings and implications for organisations across A/NZ.


The development of the Information Glut Report, executive messaging framework and impact training, media engagement and Direct Marketing campaign occurred over 9 months. Total budget for all elements of execution including analysis, questionnaire development, commissioned research, Howorth professional services, report production and direct marketing equated to $100,000.

Implementation table

Implementation table 2


This initiative exceeded all gaols and expectations. There were three key results from this initiative:

  1. Extensive press coverage
  2. Positive Government Relations Impact
  3. Return on Investment = 1,492%

Extensive Press Coverage:

Over 30 pieces of coverage with the majority “On Target” generated across a broad spectrum of Business and IT publications including a live Sky Business News desk interview; Podcast with BTalk a ZDNet division; & extensive print/online articles in publications such as the AFR, New Zealand Law Society, The NZ Herald and The Independent (UK).

On Target Coverage (TV = Television / P = Print / O = Online)

1) Sky Business News – The Tech Report (Sept 2009) (TV)

2 + 3) New Zealand Herald – Companies struggle to cope with data glut (Sept 2009) (P+O)

4 + 5) The Adelaide Advertiser – Information glut hindering business efficiency (Sept 2009) (P+O)

6 + 7) Voice & Data – The Great Information Glut (Oct/Dec 2010) (P + O)

8) Australian Financial Review – Spending freeze choking public agencies (Sept 2009) (P)

9) The Channel New Zealand – The Information Glut (January 2010) (P)

10) The Risk Report – ‘Information Glut’ deepens the risk (October 2009) (P)

11) Risk – The great information glut (October 2009) (P)

12) New Zealand Law Society Journal – LawTalk (December 2010) (P)

13) BNET – Too Much Information | BTalk Australia (Sept 2009) (O � PodCast/Blog)

14) CEBIT � Data glut hamstrings ANZ businesses (Sept 2009) (O)

15) iTNews – Austar breathes new life into old data (Sept 2009) (O)

16) Queensland Business Review – Business stuck in 'information glut': report (Sept 2009) (O)

17) ITWire – 'Information Glut' choking Australian organisations: report (Sept 2009) (O)

18) IT Brief – 'Information glut' blocking NZ businesses (Sept 2009) (O)

19) Reseller New Zealand – Hitachi: One third of ANZ companies can’t recover files (Sept 2009) (O)

20) The Independent UK – Companies struggle to cope with data glut (Sept 2009) (O)

21) Computerworld – The serious business of business continuity (December 2009) (O)

22) Dynamic Business – Managing the (data) growth of your business (Feb 2010) (O)


Off Target Coverage (O = Online)

23) iStart – Survey finds local organisations exposed to file recovery risk (Sept 2009) (O)

24) Library Archives of Canada – Governance and Recordkeeping eNewsletter (Dec 2009) (O)

25) Tivarati.com – Article: The (data) growth of your business (May 2010) (O)

26) WotNews – 30% of ANZ organisations exposed to unnecessary risk (Sept 2009) (O)

27) Reserve PR – 30% of ANZ Organisations exposed to unnecessary risk (Sept 2010) (O)

28) Wavenet – 30% of ANZ Organisations exposed to unnecessary risk (Sept 2010) (O)

29) Unitiv – 30% of ANZ Organisations exposed to unnecessary risk (Sept 2010) (O)

30) CWeb News – Companies struggle to cope with data glut (Sept 2009)

31) Sydney University News Review (Dec 2010) (O)

32) Davis Langdon eNewsletter – Data Overload (Dec 2010) (O)

33) eTrust Conference (Slovenia) – Managing Information Risks and Protecting Information Assets in a Web 2.0 era (June 2010) (O)

There have been significant flow�on effects – Neville Vincent was profiled in December’s Virgin Voyeur; Hitachi took #1 coverage position for IT Storage vendors in 2009 for the first time; the “Information Intervention” messaging framework is being leveraged across Sales; & Neville Vincent co�presented “Information Glut and why they needed an Information Intervention” with the Managing Director of NSW Businesslink at Australia’s largest IT Executive Forum, Gartner Symposium. The graph of coverage also highlights the flow�on effects with “Glut” specific coverage still coming through during the 1st half 2010.

Results diagram

Positive Government Relations Impact:

On the day the Australian Financial Review article was published, Hitachi Data Systems received a call from John Sheridan, Division Manager Business Improvement & Agency Services Divisions at the Australian Government Information Management Office, requesting a briefing on the research findings following him receiving a call from Hon. Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, for detail on how Hitachi’s findings could be applied to Government policy.

Return on Investment = 1,492%

The messaging framework and research report also formed the cornerstone of a direct marketing initiative that has delivered over AU$4,200,000 revenue – a 1,492% ROI.

The initiative was presented to Hitachi’s Executive Committee on April 28th by Neville Vincent – they have requested we review the potential of rolling out this initiative globally.


•        Broaden Hitachi’s coverage beyond Technology publications

    • This was defined by achieving four types of non�IT coverage: Television coverage on Sky Business; a business�related Podcast; coverage in either The Australian or Australian Financial Review; & minimum of two piece of coverage within different business publications.

All four types of coverage goals were achieved.

•        Exceed 20 pieces of coverage;

In excess of 30 pieces of coverage was achieved.

•        Move into the #1 Share of Voice position in 2009 within the Data Storage sector; &

Hitachi achieved #1 Share of Voice position in 2009.

•        Make the campaign cost�neutral by leveraging the research report and PR messaging framework for an ANZ�wide Direct Marketing campaign.

The Direct Marketing campaign has delivered 1,492% ROI far exceeding the 100% ROI target.