Darren Barker

clock • 3 min read

VP & general manager (UK&I), Hitachi Vantara

Tell us something most people won't know about you

On leaving school, I spent the first five years of my working life as a carpenter. A very different job than what I do today.

What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?

Returning to my roots and becoming UK and Ireland general manager. The team is brilliant and the opportunity ahead of us is unparalleled.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

I'd like to think Sean Bean - we are both from Yorkshire and tough. My team would suggest Mr Bean is more appropriate, which is probably very true.

Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?

There are a few I admire, but it has to be Apple as it was the first trillion-dollar company and its products are easy and fun to use.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Taking my son to watch our team whenever and wherever possible. I also enjoy the occasional pint of Guinness.

What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?

We hear a lot about ‘digital currency', ‘blockchain processing', ‘augmented reality'. There is a lot going on around ‘agile development strategies' and ‘micro services' and I know a lot of companies are investing in ‘serve-yourself data warehouses'. What does it all mean? Well, a bunch of new industry terms for what, for the most part, is a refinement and evolution in technology.

What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?

It seems counter intuitive coming from someone who works in tech, but I think young people need to put down their technology and get outside more often, whether that's through sports or other activities. I would like to see more investment and programmes supporting our young people to have sporting opportunities and new activities. I would also make sure Test cricket returns to terrestrial TV. It's the best sport in the world.

What's the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?

It is the opportunity that is directly ahead of us: driving data value. Today, we only use five per cent of our data. And while we all know the importance of properly storing and managing your data, we're not making the most of the data - and in turn, the invaluable insights - companies are sitting on today.

The opportunities are limitless - whether it's using data to improve the customer experience, drive revenue, identify efficiencies and so on - we're helping our customers make more sense of their data to drive what we call ‘return on data'.

What is your most treasured possession?

My original Manchester United scarf, which I wore to my first game in 1977. It still makes an appearance on big occasions.

What do your family think you do all day?

My 10-year-old daughter, Lily, thinks I talk all day. She takes after me!

Who has been your mentor in business?

A Scotsman named Murphy. He spotted something, believed in me and gave me an opportunity, something I encourage across our leadership team.

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