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HPE Snags Microsoft Cloud Veteran To Lead HPE GreenLake Unit

‘I love this idea of building and growing businesses,’ says new HPE GreenLake General Manager Keith White, a 20 year Microsoft veteran. ‘With what I was able to do in partnership with a lot of people at Microsoft with Azure, I was excited about bringing that into the HPE environment and really changing the culture they have and the approach they have into this consumption based world which is super exciting.’

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has snatched away one of Microsoft’s top cloud executives, Keith White, to lead the fast growing HPE GreenLake business unit as general manager and senior vice president.

White, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, has played a critical role in driving dramatic Microsoft Azure sales growth, most recently as vice president of the intelligent cloud, worldwide commercial business.

“Keith played a key role in driving the significant growth of Azure over seven consecutive years,” said HPE Hybrid IT President Phil Davis in a blog post titled “Technology & Talent: Changing The Game In Hybrid IT. “Keith also brings extensive experience in worldwide field sales and marketing, partner ecosystem development and business strategy leadership – all of which will be key elements of his role here at HPE.

[Related news: New HPE GreenLake Chief Keith White: HPE Is Becoming ‘More Of A Software Company’]

White’s appointment should be a GreenLake “game changer,” said Bob Panos, vice president of sales and services at American Digital, Elk Grove Village, Ill., which closed one of the first GreenLake 3.0 channel deals.

“It’s a big move,” said Panos. “I see it as a big boost for GreenLake. It’s good to see HPE bringing in an outsider who has played a key role building a big cloud business with Microsoft. This gives HPE a different perspective to grow the business. Having someone like Keith put hit fingerprints on the GreenLake business should be good for everybody including partners. Obviously we need to see execution and results in the field.”

Panos said White clearly has had success bringing significant enterprise workloads like SAP to Microsoft Azure. That is going to be key to helping partners drive GreenLake sales growth, said Panos.

The White appointment comes with HPE GreenLake channel sales up 326 percent in the fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31. For the full fiscal year, HPE GreenLake channel sales were up 231 percent.What’s more, HPE’s GreenLake sales pipeline is soaring, recently surpassing the the $850 million mark.

Panos, for his part, said he expects “exponential” GreenLake sales growth with an increasing number of customers anxious to get out of the data center business and move to a pay per use model. “More and more customers want to buy as a service,” he said. “HPE has the right strategy.”

American Digital, in fact, is accelerating its service provider drive with the recent acquisition of CrossTek, a Chicago based SAP managed service provider.That deal is “synergistic” with the GreenLake business as American Digital offers customers a complete outsourced SAP as a service offering, said Panos.

“This is complimentary to GreenLake,” he said. “Customers want to make a single monthly payment as opposed to owning it and operating it themselves. GreenLake allows me to grow exponentially. It is a huge enabler to our managed services business.”

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE’s original Platinum partners, said White’s knowledge of the cloud market is going to be a huge competitive advantage for HPE.

“Keith brings with him a wealth of competitive intelligence that can be used to help formulate a strategy to sell and win against competing cloud platforms,” he said. “This is going to help us understand how we can better position GreenLake opportunities.”

Cohen said he see accelerating GreenLake momentum with PKA’s GreenLake sales pipeline growing at a rapid clip. “We expect by 2021 that 50 percent of our sales will come from GreenLake and as a service deals,” he said.

Before taking the helm nearly three years ago to oversee the intelligent cloud business, White was general manager of cloud and enterprise, field and business strategy, and general manager of worldwide public sector marketing.

White, for his part, told CRN that he was attracted to the HPE job to build and grow a robust business just as he did with the intelligent cloud organization at Microsoft.

“I love this idea of building and growing businesses. With what I was able to do in partnership with a lot of people at Microsoft with Azure, I was excited about bringing that into the HPE environment and really changing the culture they have and the approach they have into this consumption based world which is super exciting,”

White said he had a “fantastic experience” at Microsoft and saw a lot of similiarities to the software behemoth as he looked at the people, products and leadership team at HPE. “I saw a lot of that here as well from (HPE CEO) Antonio (Neri) on down,” he said. “I’m just excited to bring my skill set and have the opportunity to grow this business.”

One of the keys to the success of Microsoft Azure, said White, was the embrace of partners. “We really had to pivot as a company to be partner led and to sell through and with our partner ecosystem and with the channel,” he said. “The reality is customers want solutions and they want solutions to solve their business problems and our partners are the ones that weave that together and put that together for them. Once we realized this can’t be a transactional relationship, it really has to be a deep partnership, that is where we really started to accelerate the business. I am excited to jump into the GreenLake business where there seems to be fantastic momentum.”

White said it is an exciting opportunity to take GreenLake to more channel partners and to help partners already selling GreenLake to become more profitable.Key to success is getting deeper with the partner ecosystem, he said.

“We need to look at how do we jointly go to market together, how do we co-sell your solutions whether that is an ISV or a managed service provider, how do we sell together,” he said.

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