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HPE Restructures For ‘Post COVID-19 World’: New CTO, New GreenLake Cloud Services Business Group

“There has been a tremendous amount of pain and fear born out of living in uncertainty and isolation,” says HPE CEO Antonio Neri. “And, yet, we also witness daily inspiring acts of kindness and unity. One thing is certain: we will never go back to “what used to be.” We can only build what comes next.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri is restructuring the company for a “post COVID-19 world” as a more agile organization with a new chief technology officer and a new GreenLake Cloud Services Business Group.

HPE Senior Vice President Kumar Sreekanti – the one time co-founder and CEO of artificial intelligence/big data high-flyer BlueData, which HPE acquired in 2018, will now take on a dual role as both CTO and the head of software.

“Software plays a foundational strategic role in enabling our edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service strategy and I am excited to have Kumar drive the innovation agenda and technology roadmap for HPE that integrates the strategy, design and development for the HPE software defined portfolio,” said Neri in a blog post titled ‘Designing an Agile Organization For a Post COVID-19 World.’ 

Mark Potter, who was CTO and also managed HPE Labs, is retiring effective this summer.

San Jose, Calif.-based HPE is also establishing its fast growing GreenLake business under a new GreenLake Cloud Services Business Group that will be headed by Keith White, a former Microsoft cloud superstar who joined HPE last December.

“This team will provide customers with a consistent cloud experience for all of their applications and data wherever they live: at the edge, across public and private clouds, in co-locations, or in the data center consumed through a flexible, pay-as-you-go model,” said Neri.

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Besides those changes, HPE -- which has 60,000 employees, operates in 170 countries and generated $29.1 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year -- is forming a new “go forward Executive Committee” (pictured above) aimed at accelerating its pivot to an edge-to-cloud platform as a service company.

“Over recent weeks, I have evaluated our organizational structure to determine the model that will best enable our execution and transformation,” said Neri. “The time is right for an organization where each one of our business groups, aligned to market trends and our own financial segmentation, directly reports to me.”

Under the new structure, all seven of HPE’s business group leaders (GreenLake Cloud Services: White, Storage: Tom Black, Pointnext Technology Services: Pradeep Kumar, Compute: Neil MacDonald, Intelligent Edge: Keerti Melkote, HPE Financial Services: Irv Rothman, and High Performance and Mission Critical Solutions: Pete Ungarro) will all report to Neri.

Ungaro will also oversee HPE Labs which will provide a “greater focus and innovation” aimed at advancing HPE’s high performance computing offerings, said Neri.

Chief Sales Officer Heiko Meyer and Global Operations Chief Pat Collins will also report directly to Neri.

The new HPE Executive Committee will also include the company’s five global function leaders who already reported to Neri: Chief Marketing Officer Jim Jackson, Chief People Officer Alan May, Chief Financial Officer Tarek Robbiati; Chief Legal/Administrative Officer and Head of HPE’s Transformation Office John Schultz and Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Temple.

The changes come with the coronavirus global pandemic forever changing businesses, said Neri. “Every day, I am struck by how quickly and dramatically our world has changed as we have confronted and adjusted to living through a global pandemic,” he said. “There has been a tremendous amount of pain and fear born out of living in uncertainty and isolation. And, yet, we also witness daily inspiring acts of kindness and unity. One thing is certain: we will never go back to “what used to be. We can only build what comes next.”

In the new world that is emerging, business continuity will will depend on “technology that advances IT resiliency, empowers remote workforces, and creates new experiences,” said Neri. “Through the power of technology, we can reinvigorate customer engagement and help organizations re-imagine their business models. HPE has a very important role to play in all of this, and it’s critical that we accelerate our pivot to becoming the edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company.”

Partners said the changes represent an aggressive new front in Neri’s bold vision to transform HPE into an everything as a service company with the full HPE portfolio delvivered as a service by 2022.

Erik Krucker, CTO at Ramsey, N.J.-based Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner, No. 333 on the CRN SP500, said the appointment of Sreekanti – who previously headed up R&D for VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Business unit- is an important step forward as HPE moves to take its software defined services strategy to the next level.

“Kumar is a bright technologist who has a cloud customer experience mindset,” said Krucker. “He is going to look at how software can be applied to services out in the cloud which is exactly where HPE is pivoting to with its technology and GreenLake. He brings a very customer centric focus around hybrid IT both on prem and in the cloud. His lineage is VMware with innovative technologies like vSAN and VSphere Virtual Volumes. This is going to accelerate the HPE hybrid cloud story.”

Krucker expects Sreekanti’s appointment to translate into an HPE GreenLake as a service model that puts a premium on the ability to more easily deploy applications and workloads in a hybrid cloud world. “Kumar brings a services focused energy to the CTO job,” he said. “This is going to make it easy for customers to not only deploy, but to manage and monitor applications and workloads where they want to and when they want to do. I think Kumar will bring more value to the software defined side of the company. This is an opportunity to usher in a new era of software defined for HPE.”

White’s appointment as the head of the new GreenLake Cloud Business Group is also a breakout move for HPE, said Krucker. “Keith brings a strong leadership hand to what HPE is trying to do with GreenLake,” he said. “He brings a lot of consistency across the board with the vision of what GreenLake can be for HPE. It sends a strong signal to partners that HPE is committed to GreenLake. Keith with his Microsoft background has software in his lineage. That also sends a strong signal to partners.”

Krucker credited Neri for moving to quickly execute on the everything as a service vision. “Antonio has taken HPE and transformed it for the new decade,” said Krucker. “Antonio is spot on with regard to where the puck is moving. He is looking forward – not back. He is looking at what customers want and how they want it. He has shown bold vision by putting a lot of services into what HPE is offering across the board through the entire organization.”

Ultimately, Neri’s vision is setting the pace for partners, said Krucker. “These moves show Antonio is taking us into the future,” he said. “The traditional reseller model is being turned on its head and if we as technologists and consultants don’t change with it we are going to die.”

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies Inc., one of HPE’s top Platinum enterprise partners, said he sees the changes accelerating Neri’s edge-to-cloud platform as a service vision.

“All these moves bring us closer to Antonio’s vision to make HPE a software as a service company, leveraging AI to get the GreenLake pay per use model firing on all cylinders,” he said. “We are very confident in HPE’s technology leadership and their constant ability to innovate. HPE is providing the channel with cost effective solutions that are enabling us to compete with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.”

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