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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.

When we went through the separation, we actually had two separate contracts with customers because we had to invoice as two separate companies, they had to pay two separate companies. So to do that we went customer by customer -- by the way, value added reseller by value added reseller, of which we have 150,000 -- to get that technology change made there.

Then, by the way, most folks had at least two representatives calling on them. They had a data center person and a printer and PC business. Our global accounts had one person, and the global accounts will still run interference. If you're on the HPE side, they'll run interference for HP, Inc.

I have to say that customers have adapted to this beautifully. I think I've had one customer call me and say, "Hey, I wish I could still have my AGM [account general manager] in charge of all of HP." And I said, "Well great, you can. Don't worry about it, we'll do some one-offs for you."

But the truth is the people making the printer and PC decisions are almost entirely different than the executives that are making the data center decisions. So it's been a really seamless separation of these two companies. Customers got it. There's an expression in politics: When you're explaining, you're losing. And we didn't have to do much explaining on this, honestly.

A lot has happened at HP over the past decade. With all that was going on at the company, where do you think you've fallen behind? And on the flip side, where are you ahead of the competition?

It's hard for me to comment about where we missed the initiative prior to when I got here, and I didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, because you can't change the past but you can change the future. So I wanted to make sure that particularly on the data center infrastructure side that we were best in class. We refreshed our entire server portfolio from top to bottom, whether it's rack or tower or the Gen9 ProLiant server. We've invested heavily, as I mentioned, in high-performance compute. We've got a refresh of our Superdome servers, we call them Superdome X and Superdome Integrity X servers.

HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman
HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. Credit: HP

And we have very much focused on HP OneView, which is the system software that actually knits together many of our most important products.

If you think about converged [computing], I would say converged was in many respects our idea, and I think we didn't execute as well on converged as we should have. But you look at our new converged offering,HPE Synergy, and I think we have now caught up with and perhaps surpassed the competition. We're really excited about Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Synergy, which I'm sure you know is basically our Composable Infrastructure.


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