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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.

Are there areas of hiring that you wanted to identify?

As I said, R&D, engineering. We have been increasing our hiring, particularly in our engineering functions. Anything that is R&D-oriented and sales-oriented, we tend to invest in and we've tried to reduce and be more efficient in the non-customer facing functions -- HR, finance, legal.

Although we have made a substantial investment in our own internal IT. This was one of those funny situations where the cobbler's kids have no shoes. We had quite some work to do in investing in our own IT so we could be easier for customers and partners to do business with.

I agree with you that this is a very exciting time in IT because the next-generation architecture is taking shape, although I'm not sure everyone is entirely clear what that will look like. Why is HP Enterprise a better partner going forward for customers than a Dell/EMC or a Cisco or anyone else?

As you well know, we obviously have a fantastic footprint across the globe. We can help customers implement anyplace, anytime. We talk about TS as a big important part of that, but first of all we can do anything anywhere. You want to set up, reinvent your edge IT system on an oil rig in the North Sea, we're there. You want to do it in Kazakhstan, we are there. There are only a handful of customers now that can do that effectively globally with their own people. So that's the first thing.

Remember I talked to you about our innovation engine and how we are really focused on innovation at the company? It's interesting because Dell/EMC, they have taken an entirely different strategy than we have. We decided to get smaller, they decided to get bigger. We decided to de-lever the company. We've got about $10.5 billion of cash on the operating company at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. They have chosen to lever up. We have chosen to lean into new technology, like 3PAR all flash [storage], our next generation of servers, high-performance compute, hyper-converged Composable Infrastructure and our Helion OpenStack cloud offerings. I think they are about to double down on old technology and run a cost takeout play.

The way you should think about it, in my view, is Dell/EMC is now owned by private equity. What does private equity do? They rip out cost. And some of that cost is probably good to rip out and some of it is going to cut into, I'm certain, their innovation engine.

Two entirely different strategies. As one of my investors said the other day: "One of you will be right."


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