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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.

Another two-sides-of-the-coin question. What do you see as the biggest challenge for the new HP Enterprise right now, and what do you see as the biggest opportunity?

I'd say the biggest challenge is this market continues to move at lightning speed. There's a new competitor every day in some element of our business, and it's not usually the big guys. It's a Silicon Valley startup. We have to make sure that we are leading the market, not following the market. But if we need to follow, we need to follow fast, and then add that HP magic to our infrastructure products.

We're very pleased with our Helion Cloud that is getting real traction in the marketplace, over 200 new customers in Q1. Version 2.0 of Helion OpenStack is fabulous. In fact, I was just talking to our own internal IT team yesterday, who was super-excited about the next generation of Helion OpenStack.

So it is a brutally competitive market. I have to say this is far more competitive than my background at eBay. Everyone thinks that the consumer Internet space is competitive. This is a whole new dimension, and I think it's only getting more competitive as the underlying technology is changing. So that's, I think, the biggest challenge -- speed and agility.

And the biggest opportunity is we have a very well-capitalized company in Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. It is smaller, more nimble. I will put up our engineers against anyone in the industry for enterprise-grade technology. We've got a real opportunity to redefine Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for the next generation of enterprise infrastructure software and services.

What perception about HP would you most like to change now?

I think we've done a good job of changing the perception, but I still get asked questions. When I was in Davos, I did an interview and the fellow had actually not moved beyond a decade ago. I mean he was asking me about board drama, turnover of CEOs. I mean the old stories about HP, which by the way were not inaccurate, you know, five or 10 years ago.

We've actually had stability now for nearly five years. I think we've done a great job of revamping our go-to-market. The board is the best board, I have to say. We ended up fixing the board at HP before the split and then the split gave us an opportunity to get world-class board members. If you haven't looked at the board members for Inc. and for Enterprise, you should. I think both boards are the best boards in corporate America. Diverse, incredible skill sets that are relevant to the business and real team-oriented boards. So I think I'd probably love to make sure that people have moved beyond the chatter about HP five or 10 years ago.


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