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Meg Whitman tells IT leaders everything they need to know about HP Enterprise

John Gallant | April 7, 2016
In this installment of the IDG CEO Interview Series, we asked Whitman to talk directly to IT leaders about what the company split means for them as customers, and how HP Enterprise's new innovation agenda will help them transition to private and hybrid cloud.

We hear terms like agile and nimble a lot. Can you give our readers some specific examples of what that means for them? Where is this agility actually showing up in terms of new investment or bringing things to market more quickly?

It turns out these two businesses -- both HP, Inc. as well as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise -- are two different businesses. Right? The PC and printer business is a scale [business]. We sell six PCs a second at HP, Inc.

The Hewlett-Packard Enterprise business is a solutions business. And we are now doubling down on innovation and R&D. We have introduced probably the fastest and most important innovation agenda that we have had -- at least since I've been here, for sure, and maybe in the last decade. A lot of long-time HP'ers tell me this is the best product lineup we've had in a decade. It is more focused.

[According to data provided by an HPE spokesman, R&D increased both in absolute terms and as a percentage of revenue over the past three years. R&D grew from $1.95 billion and 3.4% of revenue in fiscal year 2013 to $2.33 billion and 4.5% of revenue in FY2015.]

I'll just tell you personally, I went from running seven businesses to basically running four. And I can tell you I go deeper on each customer, I go deeper on the technology roadmap over the next three years and I work a lot more closely with our business units because I have more time. And that shows up, I believe, in results. We've strengthened our go-to-market and I'd be happy to go through some of the products that we've introduced in the last year if that would be of interest.

I definitely want to go into some of those key areas that you've mentioned. When you talk specifically about R&D and doubling down, can you put some numbers around that? What exactly would people see there?

Well, first of all, they would see research and development as an increasing percentage of sales over the last 4-1/2 years, even as we were cutting costs pretty dramatically. We expect that trend to continue with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. When you break apart the two businesses, we actually spend a higher percentage of sales on R&D at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise than we did at HP, Inc. because, obviously, the PC business doesn't have a big R&D spend and it's a huge business. I think you will see quite a different picture of our R&D spend and we're going to continue to increase that spend.

When you talk about that innovation agenda, what tops that innovation agenda? What should people know about that?


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