"With IT owning delivery, you have consistency in architecture and governance models," Spradley says. "But when you have managed services providers providing it, you can have inconsistencies."
Do you know what you unknown unknowns are?
Merging two companies requires a lot of IT asset rationalization, which require several transitions services agreements (TSA), which essentially state which of the two merging entities are responsible for supplying infrastructure and services to whom. HPE needs to figure out how it must construct TSAs in the case of two systems. "In this spin merge, they have to catch what we're going to throw them,” he says.
For example, it may make sense to send systems A and B to CSC. But if CSC already has its own version of system B and they elect to keep it, but they want system A and HPE needs it, the two companies must come to some arrangement that works for both parties. "All of those unknowns create a perfect storm of complexity, particularly when you look at cost and time being two of the biggest drivers," Spradley says.
While Spradley is laser focused on the services separation, HPE has seemed anything but focused in recent years. There have been ill-conceived acquisitions (Compaq, EDS and Autonomy), scandals (pretexting and Mark Hurd) and architecture missteps (such as Itanium). And that's independent of the secular trends, including the shifts to public cloud software offered by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, a tech evolution to which the company has struggled to adjust.
HPE’s micro and macro challenges might seem like drudgery to CIOs whose primary occupations include building digital products and services to drive business innovation. Such CIOs would rather experiment with blockchain, stitch together APIs and host hackathons than divest and spin off assets and staff.
But despite the series of business and IT transformations, Spradley says that he loves his job. "I've always been known as transformational CIO -- take old, make new, take slow and make fast," Spradley says. He says that his team "lives for the chance to do something that everybody in the company sees the value in."
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