Channel Blockbuster: HPE’s New AI Opportunity Engine Takes Sales Proposals From 45 Days To 45 Seconds

‘We help you increase the velocity of your growth and increase your customer relevancy in a way that our competitors currently do not have the ability to do,’ says HPE Storage Senior Vice President and General Manager Tom Black. ‘Sales productivity goes up substantially with the Software Defined Opportunity Engine. What used to take 45 days can now be done in 45 seconds.’


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Tuesday unveiled a breakthrough cloud-based machine learning platform that slashes the time it takes to do custom sales proposals from 45 days to just 45 seconds, said HPE Storage Senior Vice President and General Manager Tom Black.

Black—the hard-charging leader of HPE’s storage business who conceived of the new cloud-based machine learning platform—said the Software Defined Opportunity Engine (SDOE) quickly analyzes a customer’s IT environment and delivers the optimal IT solution.

Specifically, SDOE analyzes a customer’s IT environment, runs it through a cloud-based data lake of 1,250 trillion data points and provides the optimal solution scenario.

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“This is a massive productivity increase for partners looking to get to the sales close meeting and get the PO [purchase order],” said Black. “When you partner with HPE, we help you go fast. We help you increase your revenue. We help you increase the velocity of your growth and increase your customer relevancy in a way that our competitors currently do not have the ability to do. Sales productivity goes up substantially with the SDOE. What used to take 45 days can now be done in 45 seconds.”

The AI-based SDOE software uses the exact customer scenario to provide a custom storage migration proposal with multiple scenarios, said Black.

“SDOE creates a complete sales proposal that explains what the customer has currently and what we propose as a new offer with multiple financial options,” said Black. “It describes the new offer in detail with a side-by-side comparison of what your performance and capacity was before and after. It then actually inserts that right into our instance to the partner, the partner business manager or a direct rep as an opportunity.”

The SDOE cloud platform is based on HPE’s InfoSight software platform, which collects information from HPE’s massive installed base to automatically remediate infrastructure issues.

The plan out of the gate is to use the InfoSight-based SDOE for storage upgrades with a sharp focus on moving the 3Par installed base to Nimble or Primera.

InfoSight, which was part of HPE’s acquisition of the Nimble storage business in 2017, has what may well be the most comprehensive storage workload data lake ever assembled.

SDOE represents a dramatic leap forward in what was once a process that took several months before coming up with a custom sales quote proposal for a customer, said Black. That often involved a systems engineer and salesperson going on-site and then drawing up a proposal.

“Before SDOE you had to have a systems engineer or solutions architect go through understanding that environment and then do the manual work of mapping that to a new technology,” said Black. “Then you had to work through a price quote and a follow up with the customer. All of that in order for a customer to get to a final proposal. With SDOE we’ve taken all those weeks and many meetings out of the process. We literally save in many cases days or weeks to get to a fully qualified, software-generated proposal.”

The HPE SDOE will be teamed with HPE’s acquisition of CloudPhysics, maker of an AI-based hybrid cloud assessment tool.

The CloudPhysics data lake—which includes more than 200 trillion data samples from more than 1 million virtual machines—provides a one-two AI sales punch when teamed with HPE’s SDOE.

“Our current data lakes work for our installed base, but CloudPhysics has this massive data lake with the ability to go in and assess any enterprise [IT] environment,” said Black. “The strategic intent of this acquisition is to bring that team and technology into HPE. Now, not only do we have our AI-driven installed base data lake but the CloudPhysics data lake to do on-premises assessments of a customer’s environment.”

The HPE plan is to combine the CloudPhysics and InfoSight data into the SDOE to provide customized sales proposals. “We already prototyped the integration to prove it before we made the [CloudPhysics] offer,” said Black.

Black said he sees the new SDOE dramatically shortening the sales cycle. “This isn’t like a 20 percent difference, this is whole integer and multiple increases in productivity,” he said.

HPE’s new AI-based opportunity engine is a quantum leap forward in driving qualified sales leads for partners, said Steven Flynn (pictured), vice president of HPE product management at Synnex, HPE Americas Cloud Distributor of the Year. “Nothing like this has been done before,” he said.

Before the SDOE, vendor leads, for the most part, were disappointing, said Flynn. “We all know that we deliver leads with various degrees of veracity,” he said. “You might get one big one out of the bunch that you pursue. With this every single opportunity that gets delivered to the partner has validity. Every single one has a reason why or multiple reasons why it should be taken seriously by a customer. You can’t get a much hotter lead than that. The only thing hotter than that is to have the customer call and say, ‘Hey, I need to buy something from you.’”

The HPE SDOE eliminates the long, arduous up-front discovery process to qualify an opportunity, said Flynn. “This takes opportunities that already exist, applies the various intelligence, the sizing tools, the database assets and applies all of that,” he said. “It applies all of that, skips the entire lead generation process and says, ‘Your customer needs this and here’s why.’ If you’re in sales, could you imagine having that delivered to you?”

Flynn said he sees the SDOE having a dramatic impact on the HPE drive to move the large 3Par installed base to either HPE Primera or HPE Nimble all flash. The AI-based intelligence in the SDOE has the ability to provide the optimal storage solution for customers, he said.

“There are many opportunities where a 3Par legacy environment should be converted to Nimble and there are many others where it should be converted to Primera,” he said. “The intelligence HPE has put into this to deliver recommendations gets down to that granular detail. It determines what the best solution is for the customer. The partner is able to go to the customer with that kind of insight.”

In the past, solution architects may have pushed a customer to what might not have been the most optimal solution, said Flynn. “This optimizes the solution for the way the current [IT] environment is functioning,” he said.

Partners that are interested in taking advantage of the SDOE opportunity with Synnex can email the company at [email protected], said Flynn. “How quickly the vast range of partners will have an opportunity to work with this will depend quite a bit upon how fast HPE can ramp their back-end provisioning across a number of partners,” he said. “They are excited about this. I am sure that will go very quickly. We’ve got the team in place already to work with them.”

Flynn said he expects a big response from partners anxious to take advantage of the SDOE. “HPE has made this so simple, I can’t understand a reason why a partner would not jump all over this,” he said.

The SDOE is just one more sign of HPE’s long-standing commitment to invest in its partner-led go-to-market model, said Flynn.

“HPE has been investing in the partner community for many, many years, which makes this a far more loyal partner community than I have seen elsewhere,”he said. “Anybody can leapfrog in terms of technologies or specifics in programs, but HPE is the only one that I have seen stay as consistently committed to investing in their partner community as they have. This is just an extension of that.”

Black, for his part, said the SDOE is simply one more example of HPE’s commitment to use cutting-edge AI technology to help its partners increase sales.

“When you partner with us you can be assured we have invested in modern cloud technology and software to make you more profitable and to help you grow faster. And we don’t charge partners for this. This is a benefit of doing business with HPE.”

HPE is currently rolling out the SDOE to run storage upgrade campaigns, working with partners on a region-by-region basis, said Black. “We provide these opportunities in a huge batch for partners,” he said. “We are rolling through this as fast as we can.”