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HPE CEO Antonio Neri On Dell’s ‘Little Bit Strange’ Decision Not To Provide Apex Quarterly Updates

Steven Burke

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri said he sees rival Dell Technologies’ decision not to provide detailed quarterly financial updates on its Dell Apex offering as a “little bit strange.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri said he sees rival Dell Technologies’ decision not to provide detailed quarterly financial updates on its Apex as-a-service offering as an admission of sorts that Dell has “more work to do” before it can provide regular updates.

“It’s a little bit [like Dell] saying, ‘We have more work to do before we can show you the numbers,’” said Neri Tuesday in an interview with CRN following the release of HPE’s fourth-quarter financial results, reacting to Dell’s recent decision not to provide detailed quarterly financial updates on Apex. “That is my takeaway. For us it doesn’t matter because, honestly, what I really care about is the customers and partners coming with us, and that is ultimately what really matters.”

Just one quarter after Dell announced it had surpassed $1 billion in annual recurring revenue with Apex, Dell Co-Chief Operating Officer Chuck Whitten told Wall Street analysts earlier this month that the company would not provide regular quarterly financial updates on Apex going forward.

“We’re certainly not going to provide quarter-to-quarter updates,” said Whitten. “And so, we can share metrics that can be traced clearly back to the [profit and loss statement]. But what I would tell you is interest remains very high in our subscription offers. We saw again triple-digit customer growth and healthy [annual recurring revenue] growth in the quarter. And we continue to invest in the portfolio and ... a whole series of new Apex offers that we’ve released since we last spoke in August.”

CRN has reached out to Dell for reaction to Neri’s comments and will update this story if it responds.

Dell’s decision not to disclose quarterly annual recurring revenue on Apex stands in sharp contrast to HPE, which has provided quarterly updates on GreenLake annualized revenue run rate (ARR) for the last three fiscal years.

In its fourth quarter, ended Oct. 31, HPE reported that ARR rose 17 percent (25 percent on a constant currency basis) to $936 million, even in the midst of supply constraints that continued to limit some GreenLake installations.

What’s more, HPE said partners delivered record results for the HPE GreenLake cloud service during the quarter, with a 70-plus percent increase in sales, higher than HPE’s direct sales of the fast-growing pay-per-use platform.

“Partners booked more HPE GreenLake orders in the fourth quarter than they ever did before, extending their streak of order growth to 22 consecutive quarters,” said Neri Tuesday during a conference call with financial analysts. “In the fourth quarter, we also saw a greater share of partners booking multiple HPE GreenLake deals.”

The robust partner growth came with HPE attracting more new customers to the GreenLake platform during the fourth quarter than in any quarter ever before. HPE ended the fiscal year with twice as many new HPE GreenLake logo customers than in the prior fiscal year.

Neri’s reaction to Dell’s decision not to provide Apex quarterly updates comes after he told CRN last quarter that he was “very skeptical” Dell’s claim that the Apex as-a-service business had surpassed $1 billion in annual recurring revenue was a meaningful metric.

“When I look at some of the numbers being quoted, I would suggest you ask first of all the definition of it and the historical performance against that,” said Neri at the time. “When somebody shows up out of the blue and shows a number with nothing backing it up, it is a little bit hard to assess what it really is. I will let you assess that. I am focused on what we are doing with our partners.”

Neri Tuesday after the conference call spoke with CRN about channel partners’ record GreenLake performance, Dell’s Apex decision, the strength of HPE’s storage business and taking share from Cisco. An edited version of the conversation follows.

 
Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at sburke@thechannelcompany.com.

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