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HPE: News from the very top …




Recently I needed to take a closer look at the time when HPE CEO, Antonio Neri, came to head HPE. In so doing, I came across a report featuring some of the last remarks made by former HPE CEO, Meg Whitman. These comments can be found in the government pages of the publication, diginomica – “a new type of media property designed to serve the interests of enterprise leaders in the digital era” published November 24, 2017. Under the heading, HPE’s next phase – life after Megthere are a couple of quotes by Whitman that are worth taking a look at –

“There hasn’t been a change in sentiment. What I think is absolutely true is Antonio is ready to take the reins and go the distance. I you think about it, we have a much smaller, much nimbler, much more focused company. I think it is absolutely the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins. We have got a very good leadership bench. We have got a strategy that is crystal clear and focused.

“I think I have added a lot of value here in terms of shareholder value creation, financial restructuring, nice ignition of the innovation engine, but the next CEO of this company needs to be a deeper technologist and that’s exactly what Antonio is. 

“This transition is possible because of all the work we have done during the past 6 years to transform HP. We stabilized and strengthened the leadership team, improved productivity and reinvigorated the culture. We significantly improved customer satisfaction driving NPS scores from negative in some cases to an industry leading 80 for our services today. And we pivoted hard back towards partners, rebuilding our entire partner ecosystem and shifting resources to this critical go-to-market channel.” 

The emphasis in these quotes are entirely mine and I have made them to highlight what I consider as important for everyone in the NonStop community to consider now that we are almost six months removed from that time. I suspect I will not hear any arguments being made about HPE not being focused or lacking in a crystal clear strategy – if the words simplifying the transformation to hybrid IT don’t ring any bells, then you certainly have been out of the loop.

However, igniting the innovation engine, strengthening the leadership team (as well as reinvigorating the culture), and making that all-important pivot back to partners well, they may not be as well known to the NonStop community. But indeed, that’s what HPE has done in these six months. The most obvious outcome from strengthening the leadership may in fact be the changes that happened in sales – from three GEOs to eleven regions with just a single head of sales (formerly from AP-J), a separation of value sales from volume sales with completely different sets of operating guidelines and performance metrics, and yes, a clean line-of sight for all HPE customers as to who they should be talking to. Again, all in six months …

“So now HPE is more relevant, they know what we stand for and the core value proposition is the software defined data center on-prem with public cloud-like economics.This whole move to flexible capacity and a pay-per-use modelis actually encouraging people to say, ‘Do I need to move every workload to the public cloud?’” 

The above quote was among the last comments Whitman made in her exchange with diginomica and they are very revealing. While we are all getting more comfortable with software defined everything and see in the move by NonStop development to provide virtualized NonStop, it is the observation by Whitman and supported by Neri, about the transition to “cloud-like economics” with a “pay-per-use” model. This is all very new to the NonStop community and will be the topic of many conversations at upcoming RUG events as it is both an opportunity (for differentiation with greater competitiveness) and a challenge (over implementation) not to mention a likely trying financial period for the NonStop vendor community during the transition.

As a community, we all like to hear messages directly from those in leadership and our attendance at major RUG events like BITUG, GTUG and in particular, the NonStop Boot Camp, is very much driven by our understanding that these are the places where we can hear what’s happening with NonStop and where we can converse directly with all responsible parties. For 2018, these conversations will be particularly lively, I expect, but at the same time, healthy for all involved. If the strategy is clear and the execution proceeds under the oversight of a strong leadership team, and yes, if the journey is taking all of us to a software-defined data center exhibiting cloud-like economics, then surely this will be beneficial to the NonStop community.

For far too long the biggest knock against NonStop has been cost both initial cost and total cost of ownership – but that will all likely change as HPE retools the pricing models. It was late last year that newly-minted boss of HPE Pointnext, Ana Pinczuk, joined by Rackspace EVP of Private Cloud Scott Crenshaw (following the announcement of the new pay-as-you-go managed private cloud, offered in partnership with Rackspace) told digital publication SDxCentralon December 15, 2017, that “enterprise customers want managed services and pay-as-you-go pricing.” The only real question remaining today for the NonStop community then is whether or not we are ready for the change and are we prepared to welcome the benefits that will likely follow?