Today I had the pleasure of being part of a small group of our Leadership Team who met Antonio Neri at Hewlett Packard Enterprise's City of London office. Antonio has been in position as the President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise for only a couple of weeks. He's the first internal appointment as CEO of the company since Lew Platt succeeded John Young in 1992, and it is evident he takes great honour in this. Antonio has been with the organisation for 23 years, working his way up from his first role as a Customer Call Centre operative in Amsterdam, back in 1995. Through that time, he's seen a great deal of change in the organisation and it's probably fair to say no more so than in the last 24 months.
I've had the pleasure of seeing Antonio on stage at numerous large-scale HPE events as well as at a smaller, customer-centric event we ran in the Customer Engagement Centre almost two years ago. What is always clear is his enthusiasm for technology – he is after all a self-proclaimed "technologist". This was even more evident in this small, close encounters environment. Going forward you can tell HPE's desire to be a narrower, more agile and technology-focused organisation will give partners and our joint customers a better experience.
As we've discussed in previous articles, through a number of spin-merges/separations, HPE is a much more focused business now thanks to Meg Whitman's vision, which continues through the next stage of their existence under the stewardship of Antonio. They are concentrating on making the Hybrid world simpler, powering the Intelligent Edge and on the Services that help to deploy applications and data across these converging worlds.
Antonio talked us through his three main priorities as CEO:
HPE has always been a Partner-first organisation, and as one of their largest in the UK, it's great to hear that they want to continue that mantra. They have a stated goal to be the best organisation to partner with, and are striving to continuously improve their processes to make that happen. This allows us to better serve our joint customers, whilst also providing HPE with the opportunity to work with more organisations through the reach of their partner program.
Antonio told a story about a customer he went to see last week, where he drove himself to the meeting and sat toe-to-toe with two of his top-level engineers. The customer commented that he hadn't expected Antonio, as CEO, to drive himself, but that's the kind of guy he is, and the kind of organisation he is leading. He expects his Leadership Team to roll up their sleeves and get involved at all levels of customer and partner engagement.
Their vision for innovation seems never stronger. In this rapidly (and digitally) transforming world, being innovative is still HPE's differentiator. Whether that's built-into-the-silicon security in the latest Gen10 Proliant servers; the evolution of Composable Hybrid Infrastructure starting with Synergy and eventually extending through Simplivity, to all architectures; Memory-centric architectures with the continued development of The Machine, or the single management layer in OneView. HPE will continue to push technology forward, to improve how our customers use it, to in turn, improve their organisations.
When you spend a long time at one company (my personal experience is 15 years at Softcat), the passion you feel towards the organisation is obvious. Through their much-talked about HPE Next initiative, it's clear that HPE themselves are undergoing their own digital transformation. Antonio talked at length about how important it is to keep their culture intact through this transition.
Employee engagement is a passion both our organisations enjoy, so it was really positive to hear how vital that is to them too. It is evident that they believe that this will ultimately drive a partner-first, innovate and act culture. I believe it will lead to a better Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
With attention on these three focuses as CEO, we know that HPE is already writing its next chapter. From my early days selling industry standard datacentre hardware, I've always had a soft spot for HPE, but under Antonio I wouldn’t bet against them in this continuously evolving market.
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