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Healing the cracks: HP's comeback

Joe Lipscombe | April 25, 2013
As the dust begins to settle following arguably HP's most challenging era, Middle East managing director, Eyad Shihabi, talks to Joe Lipscombe about where the wheels came off, and how retracing the steps back to the beginning will provide the spark needed to launch the company into the future.

As the dust begins to settle following arguably HP's most challenging era, Middle East managing  director, Eyad Shihabi, talks to Joe Lipscombe about where the wheels came off, and how retracing the steps back to the beginning will provide the spark needed to launch the company into the future.

It's been a challenging time recently at HP and you've struggled to keep out of the news -- how has that been from your perspective?

Firstly, we've been fortunate to be the biggest supplier of IT news over the past few years, but joking aside, it has been challenging, personally. Since the Autonomy scandal I've found myself spending most of my time defending the company, the policies, the innovations, but not anymore. Now, when I go into a meeting with a partner I ask if I have to update them on HP and they say no, they're confident, they're happy. HP is most definitely in the turnaround phase.

How much of this turnaround is down to Meg Whitman?

What Meg [Whitman] did was come in and recognise our problems and issues, honestly and openly admit these and then set about publically rectifying them. She is exactly what this company needed, she instils confidence and enthusiasm into this company and every team, partner and customer believes in her.

One of the main issues, from a customer perspective, was that many products were too complicated and the innovation aspect of HP had become slightly distorted, how did Whitman address this?

We had multiple products that were largely doing the same thing, too many silos, too many complications. Meg has given us new standards, we listened, we innovated. Now, take our converged cloud as an example -- we're the only company which can deliver the flexibility to our customers that we do, with no lock in, we're proud of that. We give the tools to administrators in this space with over 100 maps for them to implement. We've completely simplified the experience, that's what we've been strictly focused on over the past year.

This is about recognising where we went wrong, stripping it down and starting again. Technology can always be improved. The last few years have been confused; we were focused on acquisitions and not innovation. Now, we're back in R&D and 100% of our energy is in investing in technology and innovation.

HP has had its fair share of CEOs in recent years, why is Whitman the right person for the job?

What Meg has done has recognised the culture of the company, the roots that Bill (William Hewlett) and Dave (David Packard) installed and made it what it once was. About four or five years ago we started to deviate from this culture and then the cracks started to show. Meg has made it clear to all of us that this company needs to be run on the culture of Bill and Dave, and that's where we're headed now. We're growing now, and we're pulling away from our competition. Competition won't have any reason to make noise about us anymore.

 

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