NetApp CEO George Kurian | NetApp Insight Keynote

Another set of data-driven views from Insight Las Vegas 2018 on Day 2


There’s a data-driven digital transformation underway that is changing how we live our lives, run our businesses, and even calls into question our very existence. From NetApp’s CEO George Kurian’s inspiring keynote about how successful companies are reinventing themselves as digital enterprises to futurist Gerd Leonhard’s observation that humans will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300 years, Insight Las Vegas 2018 kicked into high gear on Day Two.


Before outlining the three steps companies should take to reinvent themselves as digital enterprises, Kurian noted that in 2006 only one out of the world’s 10 biggest companies were data-driven. By 2017, that number had increased to six out of ten.


Even if you’re a traditional business, meaning not born in the cloud, is not too late to get started.


“Your data is your key asset; something that startup disruptors do not have,” Kurian said. By being data-driven, which means leveraging data you already have, you to achieve substantially better business outcomes.”


Kurian also had another bit of advice for companies about to embark on the on a digital transformation.


“With traditional businesses, scale was the competitive advantage. But in the digital world, speed replaces scale,” he noted.


Kurian then listed the three immediate steps companies should take to become more data-driven:

  1. Digital transformation requires an IT transformation.
  2. Speed and efficiency will require a hybrid, multi-cloud architecture.
  3. NetApp’s Data Fabric is the essential component for simplifying and integrating the orchestration of data services across a choice of hybrid, multi-cloud environments.

And don’t forget that the people who will lead this wave of transformation are all around you.


From executives, who are responsible for leading digital transformation to the architects who are designing a hybrid, multi-cloud environment everyone Kurian emphasized that everyone has a role to play.


“Wherever you are on the journey, whatever role you play for your company, leadership starts now. And NetApp can help you,” he explained. As we’ve learned… anything is possible… and everyone can make it real.”


As science fiction becomes science fact, what happens to humans?

As data becomes the new oil, Artificial Intelligence becomes the new electricity, and the IoT things becomes the new nervous systems, futurist Gerd Leonhard told the Insight attendees that humans must not lose sight of the unique contribution they bring to society.


“Technology and data have no ethics, but societies without ethics are doomed.,” Leonard said.  We may be driven by data, but we are defined by our humanity.”


Leonhard also dismissed concerns that advances in artificial intelligence will mean that humans will no longer need to work. What will change, he said, is the very nature of work itself.


“If your work is routine, then it will be probably be replaced,” he said. “In the future, creativity and emotional intelligence will be more important. These are the kind of qualities that machines don’t have.” 

Decoding the blueprint of life to improve the healthcare around the world

WuXi NextCODE, the global leader for genomic data, uses the world’s largest genomic datasets to improve the health of millions of people worldwide. Thanks to NetApp, WuXi NextCODE helps scientists and researchers process more data than ever before.


Hakon Gudbjartsson, CIO of WuXi NextCODE, said genomic data is expected to be among the biggest datasets in the world. Scientists predict that up to 2 billion human genomes will be stored by 2025. Each data sequence is made up of 3.2 billion bits of information and is 150GB in size. Out of the 3.2 billion bits, scientists might be looking for only 2 specific bits.


By analyzing DNA data, the company can achieve its goal of personalized medicine.


“By better understanding genomic data, we can create specific treatments and drugs to treat diseases,” Gudbjartsson said. We can do this because NetApp allows us to handle billions of bits of information.”


Stay tuned for the next series of interviews from the feet on the street at NetApp Insight!

Barry Kliff

Barry Kliff is NetApp’s Chief Storyteller where he is responsible for helping to shape the company’s image, explaining how technology impacts people's lives all over the world, creating a better understanding of complex subjects like Artificial Intelligence (AI), and generating a sense of pride among the people who work at NetApp. Before becoming a Chief Storyteller, which he says is the best job and job title at NetApp, Kliff was instrumental in the creation of /, which is now at 1.2B+ page views per month. A longtime journalist/reporter in all media, Kliff was twice nominated for the National Newspaper Award.

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