HPE Discover 2017: Under Antonio Neri, HPE Will Expand Its Focus on the Edge and Intelligent IT

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• At its Discover event in Madrid, HPE communicated its vision and strategy and to an industry eager to comprehend the impact of Meg Whitman’s decision to step down as CEO.

• In addition to its goal of making hybrid IT simple for enterprise customers, HPE, under its incoming CEO, Antonio Neri, will strengthen its focus on IoT, what it terms “intelligent IT”, edge computing, converged OT control systems, and analytics.

For HPE, last week’s Discover event in Madrid was an opportunity to communicate its vision and strategy to an industry eager to comprehend the impact of Meg Whitman’s announced decision, the week before, to step down as CEO. In her time as CEO, Whitman oversaw the company’s transformation from a provider of traditional data center infrastructure to a business focused on enterprise cloud and hybrid IT solutions. This transformation saw the creation of HPE at the end of 2014, followed by a further slimming down of the company via the disposal of non-core businesses. At the same time, HPE acquired several new companies, including wireless-network infrastructure provider, Aruba Networks and all-flash hybrid storage array provider, Nimble Storage.

As Whitman noted in her outgoing keynote presentation as CEO, these acquisitions were intended to beef-up HPE’s ability to deliver on three core objectives: (i) to make hybrid IT simple; (ii) to power the so-called intelligent edge; and (iii) to provide the services expertise to “make IT happen”. Hybrid IT and the intelligent edge were major themes of the event, so too was HPE’s focus on IT as service and the different ways HPE helps enterprises with IT transformation. One of HPE’s core businesses, with responsibility for delivering on all three objectives is Pointnext. Established earlier this year, Pointnext provides strategic advisory services and operational support for enterprises undergoing IT transformation. Pointnext also supports the vendor’s focus on flexible consumption, offering solutions via a payment model that allows users to pay only for what they consume.

Flexible consumption is central to OneSphere, a new SaaS-based multi-cloud management solution that was announced in Madrid. OneSphere is designed to help HPE support enterprise DevOp initiatives by providing both IT operations and developers with a single management solution for their cloud resources.

In her keynote presentation, Meg Whitman encouraged HPE’s incoming CEO, Antonio Neri “to be bold and take risks”. Neri will have the responsibility for the next stage of HPE’s evolution, which will include strengthening the company’s focus on IoT, edge computing and analytics, and on building AI and ML technologies into different layers of an enterprise IT infrastructure. HPE is already extending its IoT strategy – a new partnership announced in Madrid, with robotics specialist ABB, is intended to help HPE target emerging IoT opportunities in the manufacturing, transportation and utilities sectors.

Alongside its mission to deploy AI and ML technologies across an enterprise IT footprint – from the cloud through to core data centers through to the network edge – HPE has set out to explore the challenges of edge connectivity in outer space, having recently embarked on a project to design edge systems that can address latency, bandwidth and performance challenges in space travel. Projects like these are possibly what Meg Whitman has in mind when encouraging HPE to be bold and take risks. They could also ensure that HPE maintains its own competitive edge vis-à-vis its chief rivals.

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