In the Idea Economy era, combining applications and data creates dramatically new experiences, new markets

In November 2015, Hewlett-Packard finalised its historic division into two companies, with the launch of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) on the New York Stock Exchange. Following the split, HP Incorporated (HP Inc.) continued selling PCs and printers, while HPE focused on servers, storage, networking, security and corporate services, aiming to drive a technology roadmap designed to accelerate its customers’ digital transformation and transition to the data centre of the future. It has focused on four key areas, namely helping clients transform to a hybrid infrastructure; empowering a data-driven organization; protecting the digital enterprise; and enabling workplace productivity.

Martin Kubala, Managing Director and Enterprise Group Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise South East Europe (SEE)

The last year has been a year of huge change for HP – now Hewlett Packard Enterprise – why so much change?

We live and work in a world, which is undergoing major transformation, and with technology changing more rapidly than ever before, it’s imperative that we adapt to this new environment and that’s precisely why we split and launched Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in November 2015. To help our customers get faster, we had to go faster ourselves. Since the separation, we have been driving a technology roadmap designed to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation and transition to the data centre of the future. We are seeing the benefits of being a more focused, more agile company following the separation of Hewlett-Packard Company. For example, in the second quarter of this financial year, all HPE businesses increased revenue on an “as reported” basis for the first time since 2011.

What is the focus of HPE investments?

Our focus is on building secure, next-generation, software-defined infrastructure that leverages our world-class portfolio of servers, storage, networking, converged infrastructure, Helion Cloud platform and software assets. Beyond the data centre, HPE is redefining IT at the edge with our next generation of Aruba and computing products for campus, branch and IoT applications. In addition, through our Technology Services division, we can deliver consulting and support to customers, while HPE Financial Services offers financial flexibility to clients to maximize their investments. As you probably know, we announced in May 2016 our plans to spin off our Enterprise Services business and merge this with CSC to create a new global services leader, which will be completed by the end of March 2017. We believe our focus will enable us to better support our customers achieve the transformation they need to drive across their organisations.

What are the main challenges faced by your customers today?

A great idea alone is no longer enough – business success today is defined by the ability to turn ideas into value faster than your competition. We now live in an idea economy. Never before have the tools required to turn an idea into a new product, business – or even a new industry – been more accessible or easy to deploy. In the Idea Economy, no industry is immune to disruption. Companies, whether they be start-ups or large enterprises, must combine their vision with technological agility to quickly turn ideas into reality or risk falling behind. This presents an opportunity and a challenge for most companies. On the one hand, cloud, mobile, big data and analytics give organizations the tools to accelerate the process and the time it takes to see a business return. Combining applications and data can create dramatically new experiences, even new markets. On the other hand, most organizations have been built with rigid, inflexible legacy IT infrastructures that are costly to maintain and that make it difficult, if not impossible, to implement new ideas quickly. The ultimate winners are those companies – be they startups or huge established businesses – that understand how to use the power of IT to unlock the full potential of their ideas.

How do you help your customers?

Research by Oxford Economics and Hewlett Packard Enterprise fielded a global survey of 300 business and IT executives during the fourth quarter of 2015. This research showed that 70% of executives see the rapid development of new products and services is a competitive necessity but 69% find it difficult to develop an idea into a product or service quickly because of their current technology infrastructure. This is why we are investing so much in innovating and building secure, next-generation software-defined infrastructures for our clients. Hewlett Packard Enterprise can enable organizations to act rapidly on ideas by creating, consuming and re-configuring new solutions, experiences and business models. And we will deliver infrastructure that is built from components that can be composed and re-composed easily and quickly.

Our customers typically ask us to help them around these four main areas:

  • Transforming to a hybrid infrastructure: The emphasis here is in helping customers seamlessly manage information across traditional IT and private, managed and public cloud environments;

  • Empowering a data-driven organization: Here we work with customers in turning information into insight and insight into action;

  • Protecting the digital enterprise: Critical to our customers is managing risk, monitoring operations, protecting information and applications and sustaining operational integrity;

  • Enabling workplace productivity: Driving innovation and creating best-in-class experiences for employees, customers and partners through mobility and networking solutions.

Over the last few months since the separation from HP Inc., what have been the questions from your regional customers and partners?

On the day we separated and launched as a new company, we immediately started in a strong position, being number 1 or 2 in most of our key markets, and in delivering one of the broadest go-to-market capabilities in the industry with our channel partners and sales teams.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a different company. It is a stronger, more agile, more innovative company that is better positioned to help our customers transform their IT infrastructures.

Our own experience having gone through the separation is invaluable for our clients. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has the vision, financial resources and flexibility to help our customers succeed.

As a new and distinct organization, HPE benefits from strong leadership, employee experience and knowledge, coupled with the agility and responsiveness typically found in leaner companies. Our focus on the channel now is more tuned in than ever with major enhancements being made to channel processes, operations, enablement, support, resources and tools.

All these factors combined make us stand out from our competitors and provide added value to our partners. And the positive reactions from our customers and partners in Southern and Eastern Europe (SEE) are confirming that we are on the right way to further strengthen our already strong market position.

Very often we get asked how the key customers in SEE are absorbing the new technology. The truth is that in the SEE region we have traditionally had a highly technologically skilled workforce. We are running a significant number of highly innovative projects with our customers in the region, which are ground-breaking in Europe or even globally. This “early adopter” mentality that we have in SEE helps the customers leverage the very best of the very newest portfolio. HPE has benefited from having a highly skilled team of people available in the market by building global delivery centers in this region and employing several thousands of IT experts, who are here to support customers and projects around the world.

Has it been challenging to make the transition to HPE from a regional channel point of view?

The feedback from our partners since the separation has been extremely positive. Partners benefit from having one “Partner Ready”program across the board for HPE, making it easier and more seamless to operate and manage their rebates, programs, bonuses and more. Now more than ever, partners can expect HPE to be more agile and more focused from an R&D perspective and go-to-market strategy.

Our key strategic partners are assigned an HPE Channel Manager who works to develop joint business plans. We know their mix of hardware versus software versus services, we know their strategic plan of where they are headed and we know what investments they are making.

This joint planning also helps us to better allocate our Market Development Funds (MDF) and if the partner is aligned with a transformation area, the plan is approved for creating more market demand.

Over the last year, there have been significant enhancements made to the new “Partner Ready Program” of HPE. We have reduced the amount of sales certification from nine to one and certifications will be focused on our four transformation areas.

Additionally, our Partners can access Software Support Online (SSO) through the Partner Ready Portal. SSO provides all the information and support needed for a successful customer engagement. The self-solve knowledge base contains demos and downloads, discussion forums, tools for servers and developers, enhancement requests, full manuals and general support.

We have also added a new partner locator on the portal, which makes it easier to find partners from a customer perspective.

With Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and cloud technologies gaining more importance, what is HPE’s response?

Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and cloud, amongst other innovative technologies, play an integral role in HPE’s four transformation areas and we’ve significantly invested in these technologies.

For example, in Big Data, we recently announced the immediate commercial availability of HPE Haven On Demand, an innovative cloud platform that provides advanced machine learning APIs and services that enable developers, startups and enterprises to build data-rich mobile and enterprise applications. We also launched a new HPE Investigative Analytics software solution, designed to enable financial institutions and other highly regulated organizations to identify and analyse risk events and take action to prevent them.

In the Cloud or Hybrid IT space, we’ve established a strong relationship with Microsoft Azure, appointing them as a preferred public cloud partner for our customers, while HPE will serve as a preferred partner in providing infrastructure and services for Microsoft’s hybrid cloud offerings. We also recently launched HPE Synergy, our composable infrastructure solution, which brings together compute, storage, and networking. It’s essentially a new category of infrastructure designed to run both traditional and cloud native applications for organizations running a hybrid infrastructure.

Beyond the data centre, HPE is redefining IT at the edge with its next generation of Aruba and computing products for campus, branch, and IoT applications. IoT Edgeline systems and Aruba networking sensors were specifically designed to help customers more efficiently collect, process and analyse IoT data. The new solutions are key elements of our strategy of delivering more connectivity and computing power at the network edge.

What is your channel strategy going forward? In which technology areas will we see more partners coming on board?

We will continue to evolve and enhance our channel offerings and build tools, processes and other initiatives to extend market share in the Enterprise market.

There is also strong focus on the SMB segment, which has been highly profitable for HPE and our channel. Our transaction business remains strong as we continue to enable and move partners towards the transformation areas. As such, Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Security will continue to be the pillars for innovation and channel recruitment.

How can partners accelerate their business considering the current market situation?

Everyone knows that we’re facing a challenging macroeconomic environment. Soft consumer spending, continued weakness across Europe, and stock market volatility continue to drive uncertainty.

Despite this, the recent launch of HPE will enable us to remain focused on our ability to execute consistently and profitably and we are well positioned to deliver on our plan to grow in 2016 and beyond.

By affiliating with us, our channel is assured of a vendor, who is uniquely positioned to be the most trusted technology partner across infrastructure, software, hybrid IT and more. We are focused on continual innovation, delivering value for our customers, and creating better business outcomes for our shareholders, partners and employees.

What is the business focus for Southern and Eastern Europe in the coming year?

We started our journey as a new company on November 1, 2015, and over the next five years our aim is to generate growth and long-term value for our customers and partners.

From where we are today, we will be able to continue to grow by maintaining our focus on the four transformation areas already highlighted. We’re purposefully concentrating our strategy around these areas as we believe they are the four most important components customers and partners need to focus on in order to successfully navigate their way through the huge technological changes they are witnessing in their industries and enable them to create real benefits for their businesses.

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