Hakkoda Origin Story

Hakkoda is a data consultancy built for doing new things in new ways. Read our full origin story here.
May 31, 2024
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The Hakkōda Origin Story: A Snowflake Consulting Firm Doing New Things in New Ways

The decision to found Hakkoda was the culmination of my nearly 30-year career in data, analytics, and professional services. As those experiences built up over time, I developed a sense of empathy for large organizations that found themselves falling into a narrow understanding of what it means to adapt to a changing marketplace. As much as Hakkoda reflects my past journey and experiences, our business is all about doing new things in new ways and embracing the opportunities and challenges of the present moment. Right now, that moment looks something like this:  

  • Migration to the cloud is creating new opportunities for enterprises to enhance business outcomes by leveraging data at scale.
  • AI Copilots and Gen AI are revolutionizing the way enterprises operate and innovate.
  • Talented people are reprioritizing what’s important, requiring a new form of organization rooted in purpose, forward-thinking, and strong community and development.

We believe that the future of innovation belongs to exceptionally talented people leveraging modern data platforms to tame vast amounts of data using new design patterns and new skills – and with help from AI. 

We’ve intentionally designed our service models, selected our technology partners, and recruited the right talent to meet our customers where they are and help them realize incredible value from their data and harness the power of AI to drive innovation.


Why Does Hakkōda Exist?

  1. Companies are in an existential race to leverage data both inside and outside their business. Hakkoda exists to help those companies thrive by realizing incredible value from their data.
  2. Technology advancements have rewritten the playbook for a modern data platform. Hakkoda exists to help companies drive innovation by adopting modern data platforms and AI-driven solutions.
  3. Talent is scarce and seeking meaningful purpose and community. Hakkoda exists to provide community and fulfillment to the exceptional people who serve our customers and carry out our commercial and social missions.

Who We Serve

Hakkoda helps healthcare, financial services, and public sector organizations modernize their data architecture, migrate applications and data into the cloud, and harness the power of GenAI to move forward in their data innovation journey.

The organizations we serve recognize the importance of data and the need for modern cloud data platforms that can power Big Data and AI use cases. In the newly released Hakkoda 2024 State of Data Report, 94% of the organizations surveyed said they would need to modernize their data stack in 2024. And of those organizations, 79% said they would need a “large” or “moderate” amount of external help.

While these numbers indicate high demand for Hakkoda’s expertise, other results from the same survey reveal just how much work is still to be done:

  • 29% of organizations currently have their data centralized on a primary cloud platform.
  • 27% of organizations demonstrated high data literacy across their organizations.
  • 24% of organizations successfully monetized their data in 2023.

Hakkoda connects our customers with the expertise they need to address these challenges head-on and bridge the gap between their current state of data readiness and their aspirations for a data-driven future.


Our Mission: Data for Good

When we set our mission to ignite the power of data and embolden the changemakers to create a better world, we were intentional in aligning with those charged with driving data transformation. 

Igniting the power of data means we have to make it move faster, make it more secure and accessible, make it higher quality, and make it infinitely more usable. 

Embedded in our mission is to help organizations spend less time fiddling with data and more time innovating and creating value. That’s why we carry data all the way through automated decisioning and rich data applications—to power the innovation our clients need. 

And while creating a better world might seem cliché or overly ambitious, we believe the answers to the world’s greatest challenges exist in data. Our goal is to attract a team aligned with our meaningful purpose and dedication to making a difference. We deliver on our mission by helping our clients with their biggest data challenges and partnering directly with organizations working to save our oceans. We’ve volunteered our skills, experience, and technology partners to develop algorithms that helped MarViva solve sustainable fishing challenges and support conservation efforts in the Pacific Ocean.

Powering the AI Revolution

Most recently, Hakkoda has also served as an Impact Partner for the United World Challenge, supporting the organization’s founder, Tez Steinberg, as he completed a historic 5,000-mile solo row from Hawaii to Australia while collecting vital data on microplastics and calling others to action in the dire battle to solve the ocean plastic crisis. This ongoing partnership acts as an important reaffirmation of Hakkoda’s commitment to marine conservation, and making the world better through the innovative application of data. 

AI-driven automation is helping organizations streamline the most repetitive and error-prone manual tasks, predictive AI is empowering organizations to anticipate and plan for the future, and Gen AI is democratizing analytics and changing how humans interface with data. The AI Revolution is here – and so are we.

Hakkoda is helping our customers implement AI-based solutions and technology throughout the data life cycle, from data cleaning and preprocessing through to metadata generation, ETL processes, querying, and governance.

“By having a deeper understanding of AI and making it consumable for our clients, we offer use cases that drive value. We’ve completely rethought how master data management works with AI. We’ve enabled massive discovery, analysis, and contextualization of information in 10,000th of the time it would have taken before.”

Hakkoda CEO and Co-founder Erik Duffield, in an Interview with Cynthia Corsetti of Authority Magazine 

A Fresh Approach to Snowflake Consulting

We’ve embraced Snowflake as a transformational cloud data platform above and beyond a high-performance data warehouse, one with the power to completely change how our customers leverage Big Data and AI within their businesses.

We recognize similarities between Snowflake’s upward trajectory and how Salesforce viewed the CRM market as bigger than Salesforce’s automation and manifested it. The Data Cloud vision and technology already provide a decade of modernization to come, but the patterns tell us it’s only getting bigger. Snowflake is the center of gravity for an ecosystem that is redefining how organizations build and operate a modern data platform. 

We are seeing traditional data engineering learn and develop tools from software engineering and DevOps. Companies like  Coalesce, Sigma, dbt, Fivetran, DataRobot, and others are acting as leaders in the modern data stack by enabling new design patterns and dramatically increased automation, efficiencies, and capabilities. 

There is now a clear delineation between organizations that leverage modern data platforms and those that are falling behind. We documented the data enlightenment journey to light the way.

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

William Gibson, The Economist, December 4, 2003

Our People

I’ve worked in every kind of services business, from highly specialized, boutique data warehousing, to a disruptive cloud consulting firm with locations in major markets around the world, and most recently in the largest and most respected global systems integrator. Hakkoda reflects the best qualities of each but what stands out is our bold focus. 

To be bold takes commitment and I knew I needed aligned investors and board members. It had to start with Tercera. Not only do I know them well from prior ventures, but they were also on a similar mission to invest in and advise companies who want to lead the Third Wave of Cloud Computing

Our founding team has been essential – both to the success of Hakkoda, and my day-to-day joy in the journey. I have worked with each of our founding team members in prior companies for between 6 and 20 years each. Together we’re a winning team with complementary skills, deep experience, and the drive to scale from day one.

Each of our Hakkoda hires adds to a community that can deliver powerful results for clients. They bring skills, perspectives, and diverse experiences. Hakkoda attracts curious people that are motivated to learn, experiment, and lead.

Our Global Footprint

Given the dramatic shift toward work-from-home and my prior experience at Appirio, a pre-pandemic pioneer in terms of success with a largely remote workforce, I knew our US team would be virtual. On that front, we’d redirect our real estate budget into training while still pulling the team together to connect and grow our culture in more creative settings. 

Building capacity in India is a default assumption in IT. The ability to scale talent quickly and at efficient costs has led me to choose this path a few times in the past. But I also knew from experience that the time zone difference between India and the US meant that capacity wouldn’t always be the answer. For our team to work with clients directly, it would require tough tradeoffs on working hours for them and often for our clients. Today’s best tech talent values a work-life balance that we could only deliver by scaling our capacity closer to home.

Our team had seen the rise of IT Services in Latin America and the potential of building a delivery team and customer innovation center in Costa Rica. Hakkoda was the time and this was the moment. 

Costa Rica is advantageous in its US time zone and emerging talent in the IT services space. I refer to it as our Austin office, just a bit further south. It is also highly aligned with our work to leverage our talent and skills to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Costa Rica’s success in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) makes it a global leader and an excellent partner to do meaningful work. Costa Rica was the right fit for the skills and culture we need and reflects our aspirations for our teams and clients.

Hakkōda: The Story Behind Our Name

The name Hakkoda comes from the Japanese mountain range. We chose this name because it is one of the snowiest places on earth. It’s also a reflection of our affinity for the innovation Snowflake embodies. It’s also known for its backcountry skiing, insane powder, and a place most people haven’t been. It’s like Hakkoda the company, it’s where the experts go to do cool shit. 

Hakkoda is providing a new way forward for organizations struggling to adapt in a data-first world. We help our customers navigate challenges around talent acquisition, overcome legacy thinking, and start leveraging Big Data and AI to enhance business outcomes.

Interested in working with Hakkoda on your data initiatives? Contact us here.

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