CEO Antonio Neri Has HPE Pushing The Innovation Envelope: Partners

HPE partners say CEO Antonio Neri has brought HPE back to its roots as a technology innovator.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise partners say the blizzard of innovation at this year’s Discover 2019 conference is a testament to HPE CEO Antonio Neri’s drive to make big bold technology and business model innovation bets.

Russ Chow, vice president of technology solutions for New York-based PKA Technologies Inc., one of HPE's top Platinum partners, said Neri has brought HPE back to its roots as a technology innovator.

“Antonio has taken HPE back to being a more innovative engineering company again,” said Chow. “The introduction of Primera – a new mission critical storage platform- shows HPE has gone back to basics and is innovating again. They bought Nimble but what they have done here is built a new storage platform. Antonio gets it. He comes from the engineering side. He understands that customers are looking for innovation. That is how (HP founders) Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard built the company. It was all about innovation.”

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Chow said that innovation – along with an openness to provide customers with an array of technology choices – is critical for partners to drive sales growth. “There is not a one size fits all,” said Chow at a customer event hosted by PKA that included storage partner Qumulo. “There is so much HPE has in its portfolio, but at the same time there are a lot of gaps. That HPE Complete program helps fills those gaps especially on the storage side with a company like Qumulo for scalable file systems. That gives customers more choice.”

Among the blockbuster announcements at HPE Discover 2019- were: Primera – a new artificial intelligence based mission critical intelligent storage platform that is powered by HPE InfoSight; new GreenLake as a service offerings for the midmarket and Aruba Network as a Service; a new hybrid cloud for containers partnership with Google Cloud with a GreenLake as a service option; and the extension of the breakthrough HPE composable infrastructure to HPE ProLiant DL 360/380/560 Gen10 rack based servers.

Besides that, Neri fired a shot across the bow of all HPE’s competitors by pledging to deliver HPE’s entire portfolio as a service by 2022 through a range of subscription, pay per use and consumption driven offerings.

Jeff Smith, vice president of digital transformation technologies and business development for International Integrated Solutions Ltd. (IIS), an HPE Platinum partner headquartered in Plainview, New York, No. 112 on the CRN SP500, said he sees the innovation difference at this year’s Discover.

“HPE made big steps forward in innovation here that are going to allow us to really grow our business- Antonio has the DNA of the old HP,” said Smith, who spent 17 years at HP before joining IIS in 2007. “That is refreshing for an old HP guy like me. I get that feeling from Antonio. The investments that Antonio is making in Cray, before that Silicon Graphics and Aruba are all great technology acquisitions.”

The impact Neri – a 24-year HPE veteran who started in a customer call center - is having on HPE is profound, said Smith. “(Former HPE CEO) Meg Whitman did a great job moving Antonio into that position,” said Smith. “With the transformation Meg made Antonio is now in a position to deliver innovation to the market and grow the business like I haven’t seen from HP/HPE in 20 years.”

Andy Wright, commercial director of XMA, a United Kingdom HPE Platinum partner, said the Discover conference this year was one of the “most exciting” conferences he has been to in the last five years. “HPE has its swagger back and has made some announcements that are new and exciting,” he said. “Our job now is to enable customers to take those benefits and differentiators and develop them into solutions for their businesses.”

Wright said the GreenLake everything as a service model is revolutionary. “It is resonating with customers,” he said. “We have got a pipeline building. I am quite excited about Aruba Network as a Service.”

James Hardy, deputy managing director of CCS Media Limited, a United Kingdom HPE partner that has made big gains in the midmarket with HPE InfoSight, said Neri has had a “significant” impact on driving innovation.

“Antonio is driving clarity of innovation and on the road map of innovation- building cohesive innovation throughout the business,” said Hardy. “He is not just building technology innovation. He is building organizational innovation at the cultural level. That is helping HPE to innovate at the product level and also at the partner level. It is a phenomenal organization to partner with at the moment. I think he is an architect of success.”

CCS Media will definitely look at embracing HPE Primera and GreenLake for the midmarket. “What we have got to do is see how it will work within our InfoSight focus and help us scale that business,” he said.

Ron Nemecek, business alliance manager for CBTS, an HPE Platinum partner which closed one of the first GreenLake 3.0 deals, said HPE’s innovation has extended beyond tech products and services into business outcomes for customers.

“The new innovation that HPE brings to the marketplace is business solutions and business outcomes that are really desired by our customers because they only want to pay for what they use moving forward,” he said. “Customers are telling us that we and HPE have listened to what they have been asking for years -- getting them out of paying for stuff they are not going to use.”

Nemecek said customers are blown away by the GreenLake consumption experience. “They can’t believe that it is true and that a company came to them with a partnership to solve the business problem they have had for decades,” he said. “That is the innovation that HPE has brought to the marketplace and they have empowered it through partners with GreenLake 3.0.”

Nemecek said he see exponential growth ahead with the GreenLake. “This is what our customers are looking for and we are going to address their needs,” he said. “We can absolutely double our GreenLake business over the next year.”

Nemecek said Neri has done an outstanding job leading HPE into the future.

“Antonio has done a great job,” said Nemecek. “Technology continues to evolve. HPE continues to innovate and develop at a faster pace than the marketplace. That is an advantage to our customers and to us. But the true innovation is not just the technology, but enabling the technology to our customers through consumption models. What company is innovating and pioneering a business outcome model other than HPE?”