In this article

  • In speaking with customers at Discover 2018 Las Vegas, Phil Davis sees a change in how customers are viewing their IT and the challenges they face
  • Automation, Hybrid IT, the Intelligent Edge and HPE GreenLake generated the most excitement from customers during the event last week
Chief Sales Officer Phil Davis shares what customers were most excited about at Discover 2018 Las Vegas

As Chief Sales Officer my daily work involves working alongside our amazing Hewlett Packard Enterprise employees and meeting with partners and customers. It’s rewarding and exciting, but nothing in our day-to-day work comes close to the energy and passion of HPE Discover. There is so much electricity in the air when thousands of employees, partners, and customers come together to share their experiences, challenges, and visions for IT.

Discover Las Vegas really was very special. Over literally hundreds of interactions with customers, I gained so much insight into what Hewlett Packard Enterprise is doing right and where customers would like us to go. Most of all, I came away convinced that customers still see HPE as a new and disruptive company  but they also now fully understand our identity and see us as a true leader.

Our employees are fully invested in our company identity and carry that with pride. Our partners are excited by the innovations we are bringing to market. And our customers have fully bought in on this shared vision.

Speaking to customers, there has been a clear change in how they view IT and the challenges they face. The public cloud has brought about a seismic shift in the expectations on IT. Customers no longer hope for their IT to be able to scale up or down—or for it to be flexible, or to be able to pay only for what they consume and have it all automated—they absolutely expect it to be that way. 

As Interim President of Hybrid IT, it was interesting for me to hear how Hybrid Infrastructure has so quickly moved from a conceptual idea to being the central pillar of IT. Customers are feeling the accelerating pace of business, and the pressure is on to “disrupt or be disrupted.” They need IT to be faster, more agile, and more flexible, so that they can pre-empt and drive change instead of reacting to it.

This is great news for HPE. We feel that we have already proven ourselves to be the industry leader in these areas, and some of the stories we shared at HPE Discover Las Vegas highlighted how we are strengthening our leadership position and moving even further ahead of the competition. Antonio talked on the main stage about Travelport, who are a great example of how advanced IT solutions differentiate the service a company offers from that of the competition. It’s not just products and customer experience that count, literally every single second is vital, as solutions are measured “by the second for uptime, availability, speed of search and being able to create a transaction that results in a sale.”

Through all my Discover conversations with HPE customers and partners, there were a few key themes that popped up over and over again and really seemed to generate a lot of excitement:

  • Automation: I got a lot of feedback about how glad customers are to see continued investment in HPE OneView and OneSphere, as well as our ongoing commitment to keep improving and investing in HPE InfoSight. Automation is key to the future of business, and InfoSight is already able to find and remediate 86% of storage problems before the user even knows they exist. This is the future of all IT maintenance and trouble-shooting; it will continue to drive up quality and drive down costs as we develop the solution further.
  • Hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge: HPE is already seen as a leader in mobility. Our Aruba and recently-acquired Niara portfolios mean that we have the hardware, software, and security that nobody else can offer. We are also investing in software-defined datacenter WAN technology, which excited a lot of customers at Discover, as did the announcement that HPE will be investing $4B in the Intelligent Edge over the coming years. We have made it clear that we are all-in on Hybrid IT, software-defined, and the Intelligent Edge. We continue to invest and innovate, and that is what partners and customers want to see. And it is really important to remember that the point of any IT innovation is not just to create clever technology, it must improve the lives of people. Our work on the Intelligent Edge with Ford is a great example of technology and data having the capacity to improve the lives of people.
  • HPE GreenLake: Customers also made it clear throughout our conversations at Discover that consumption models are now essential to funding their IT environments. Customers want a flexible financing experience that allows them to only pay for what they consume. Our CEO, Antonio Neri, highlighted in his keynote speech how funding IT investments has been a real problem for businesses. Even those that identify the right technology and have the right level of skill in their people can find it hard to fund IT environments effectively. Our announcements around HPE GreenLake were massive; we are essentially saying that we can help any size or type of company to find and fund the right IT solution with consumption models. And for our partners, it was a huge win to discover that we will be offering them a 17% rebate, making it easier and more profitable for everyone to participate in consumption models.

Having excited and energized people with big announcements at Discover Las Vegas, our task at HPE is now to deliver on these promises. We have therefore committed to enabling customers and partners to take that journey with us. We are going to be investing heavily in helping our partners get enablement, training and certification, so they can make the most of the new value we are bringing to the table.

If I had to choose one word that described the mood at Discover Las Vegas, it would probably be confidence—some people even described it as the organization having a little swagger. It felt like Hewlett Packard Enterprise is now a company that is comfortable with its identity and totally confident in the solutions it is offering—and that our customers and partners are confident in our ability to help develop their businesses. Everyone is along for the ride: employees, partners, and customers. I couldn’t be more excited about taking that journey together!