HPE’s tech blueprint etched for modern CIOs: Peter Ryan

Make hybrid IT simple and power the intelligent edge, says Peter Ryan, Chief Sales Officer at HPE.




The intense change in the industry and its IT demands has compelled technology providers to tweak their GTM and product portfolio to stay relevant at the customer end. And the change is only as rapid as it gets in the digital era. CIO India had an extensive interaction with Peter Ryan, chief sales officer, Enterprise Group, HPE on his India visit about the new HPE’s focus around datacenter, cloud, and edge for the organizations.
Edited Excerpts
HPE split from parent HP, merged services with CSC, sold software assets, acquired (Aruba, Simplivity, Nimble etcetera.) since October 2014. What’s HPE positioning today in enterprise tech world?
For a company to succeed in times of dramatic transformation you need to be focused, nimble and agile. HPE wanted to be true to the values of the futuristic company. We have a heritage of being the best partnering company and an innovator in the technology space. The big opportunity to the success we believe for us hinges on the fact to make hybrid IT simple, power the intelligent edge and weave the right services to deliver the value to our end customers. That drove the major changes at the broad level at HPE
The spin out of HP enterprise services into CSC is now DXC Technologies because those services portfolio focused at IT outsourcing, business process outsourcing, application maintenance was not totally relevant to our core mission. We also looked at some software assets that support this mission and hence we spun it off into Microfocus that makes a good home for those software assets.
Partnering and acquisitions with tech companies are definitely on our radar too.  Arista would be a good example of partnering at scale with a company in the datacenter networking area. And HPE has been acquiring companies in high growth categories typically around SDN, modern datacenter to make hybrid IT simple and power intelligent edge.
Can you demystify HPE’s GTM for organizations to invest more with you in 2017 and beyond?
With regard to our GTM, we are kind of relatively unambiguous open standards, open systems, and open ecosystem. Our belief is that building best of breed ecosystem work brings value to the market and the customers. We have still unchanged as a true partnering company as our major business comes from partners of all types including SIs, service providers, MSPs, technology partners. We are approaching the market vertical-wise as the modern customers demand HPE to deliver outcomes. It can’t be generic anymore. Say what a bank seeks in term of transformation differs from IT needs of a hospital. The strategy around solutions, skillsets, the way we sell and the partner ecosystem all work in that direction.
The telco, financial services, public sector (including healthcare), manufacturing, distribution, and retail are key verticals for us as a majority of them are undergoing business transformation. Including manufacturing industry with IoT on the shop floor is a potential customer as an example.
With Hybrid IT and intelligent edge as core areas, isn’t HPE missing out on a major chunk of the ‘end-to-end’ IT infra needed by most organizations?
Our prime objective is to enable our customers to choose the right mix of technologies to further their business aims. Our bet of hybrid stems from the belief that the right mix of modern IT infra will include datacenter, cloud, and edge and that’s our value add as we bring all those three elements together. We help power and build public clouds through our infra. With Aruba and edge line technologies, we are growing faster than others in the industry.
We don’t aim to create everything at Hewlett Packard and move it to our customers. We are the largest partner for Microsoft, VMware, Red Hat, Citrix, Docker to name a few to build the right stack from both legacy and future perspective. And of course, we also partner with service companies like the strong relationship with Big 6 global systems integrators in India. In the time of transformation, it’s not enough for services companies and channel partners to consult on digital transformation but deliver those technology elements.
What about facing the heat from ‘all-in-one’ arsenal of technology giant Dell (with EMC, VMware, RSA and other consortia) today?
We solve customer’s problem with our strategy and market position through our solutions or with the ecosystem of partners. Many of the customers of our key competitor recently have been approaching us as we have clarified HPE’s roadmap for the future. The customers and partners at large are unsure of some of the competition’s joint portfolio. There are two big portfolios and which one will survive and top what extent – is now known much. If you are BFSI or government organization planning transformation of IT then you want to invest in a technology company with a clear roadmap for at least next three to five years. 

  Our product strategy and GTM approach is well-entrenched, crystal clear and future ready to succeed against the competition 
- Peter Ryan, Chief Sales Officer, Enterprise Group, HPE 

Our spin-merge-acquire roadmap and the two focus areas inflict confidence in the overall strategy and the feedback from the customers is overwhelming. For example, we are one of few vendors growing fast in the storage market and the acquisition of Nimble storage adds to the equation. Our strategy is well-entrenched, crystal clear and future ready to succeed against the competition.

We don’t aim to create everything at Hewlett Packard and move it down to our customers.

Most of HPE acquisitions demonstrate the company’s faith in the software-defined data center. Wouldn’t emergence of cloud cannibalize your DC revenues and how would you combat that fear?

The acquisitions at large have been two-fold with the common theme of high growth categories and software-defined. SGI is high-performance computing would certainly be in datacenter, Nimble with flash storage, Simplivity is on datacenter and away into the branch and small office. Aruba was trigger acquisition to get the edge. Niara is into behavioral analytics machine learning tool to help improve security, especially around IoT and edge. And we acquired cloud cruiser helps optimize the workloads across public or private.
The reality is that the traditional datacenter categories are largely on the decline like the traditional x86 servers. But the high-performance computing growing at 7 to 8 percent, high-performance analytics in 16 to 18 percent range and we are growing much faster than the market on the edge side. As companies transform IT in the digital world, we have to move them aggressively in growth areas while we deliver the quality of services around their legacy investment.

Peter’s Crystal Ball for 2017

1. Invest in the edge - industrial IT, mobile, campus, IoT – outside of datacenter.

2. Build AI, Machine learning, automation into your architecture roadmap.

3. High-performance computing to go mainstream across industry verticals.

Let’s talk about HPE Synergy that claims to be world’s first composable infrastructure platform. Aren’t you ahead of the technology curve?

We are an innovator company and we pride our pure research that helps business get better value and run their IT more effectively and efficiently. Compassable Infra is the category we created as a first mover and hence the claim. And synergy is the first platform in that space. The private cloud of the future will bring the economies of the public platform to on-prem. That’s what HPE synergy does.
We started shaping the product at scale in January of this year and many customers are adopting it backed by a good pipeline. A lot of workloads that run on blade see more advantage from synergy as they modernize across the blade environment. Not only from HPE blade servers, but we see Dell and Cisco customers come across to run their IT infra on Synergy.

 The private cloud of the future will bring the economies of the public platform to on prem. That’s what HPE synergy does.

The acceptance of the concept of synergy platform is good across verticals like telcos, government, banks, retail, and manufacturing. And the early momentum suggests a large business for us. And for a vendor at our scale means it’s for the broader set of use cases across all major verticals.

CIOs’ Bucket List for Digital Transformation

- Don’t design yourselves into the mainframe of the future.

- Adopt an architectural approach in the ‘cloud to edge’ era.

- Evangelize managements of change than hinge on technology.

- Partner with an ecosystem of tech providers for the hybrid world.

- Prioritize recruiting new skillsets -data scientists, security experts.


(As told by Peter Ryan, HPE)

What would be your advice for CIOs and IT decision makers to traverse a successful digital transformational journey?

My first general purpose guidance is - don’t design yourselves into the mainframe of the future. With the transformation, CIOs have a chance to give themselves to create the environment that gives them the flexibility and agility to cope with constant change that will come. It is diametrically opposite to the traditional concept of mainframe approach which is more like a high rock.

IT decision makers need to take an architectural approach because they need to think about datacenteR in the ‘cloud to the edge’ on where and which workloads to run, how to get security and quality of service.

It’s much more to do with the mindset and managements of change as it is to do with the technology. Most of the successful transformations rely on their people to think differently to ensure the change and not keep running in the old way for a new environment. And they need to keep an eye on the new skill sets most CIOs and CTOs struggle with data scientists, security experts to name a few.