Partners Cheer HPE Sales And Marketing Restructuring; Two Top Execs To Step Aside

Hewlett Packard Enterprise partners Monday applauded a major sales and marketing restructuring aimed at simplifying the organization and making the company more nimble and easier to partner with.

In the wake of the restructuring, CTO Martin Fink and Chief Customer Officer John Hinshaw are set to step aside at the end of year.

"To drive better sales execution while optimally serving our global customers, we are aligning our sales teams into a single global sales organization within our Enterprise Group," said HPE CEO Meg Whitman in a blog post disclosing the changes.

Peter Ryan, currently senior vice president and managing director of the Enterprise Group's EMEA Region, will oversee the new global sales organization, including indirect and regional sales.

Sponsored post

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Whitman On Why Dropbox Hit The High-Price AWS Wall]

HPE also centralized product marketing, e-commerce and customer advocacy into a single marketing organization under Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Henry Gomez. "By bringing these organizations together under [Gomez], we will simplify our processes, streamline our focus and create better career opportunities for our employees," said Whitman in the blog post.

Fink, a 30-year HP veteran, will be retiring at the end of the year. Hinshaw, who joined HPE five years ago as executive vice president, technology and operations, also plans to leave his position at the end of the year, Whitman said in the blog post.

Finally, COO Chris Hsu will oversee the IT and cybersecurity teams as part of a move to "drive process improvement, enhance customer and partner experience and employee engagement," said Whitman.

Whitman said the changes, which come on the heels of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HPE's move to spin off and merge its $20 billion enterprise services business with systems integrator CSC, as the next step in creating a ’stronger, more focused HPE.

"To that end we are taking steps to centralize and simplify our organization," said Whitman. "These changes will make us easier to buy from and partner with."

Partners said they see the changes as the next chapter in Whitman's all-out effort to remake HPE as a more agile and nimble software-defined infrastructure leader, while larger competitors are in the midst of turmoil.

Dell, for example, is in the process of acquiring EMC-VMware in the largest IT acquisition in history, while Cisco Systems has had a number of high-profile executive departures since CEO Chuck Robbins took the helm last July and is undergoing a massive transformation into a software company.

"This definitely gives HPE a competitive advantage," said Dan Molina, CTO of San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, one of HPE's top enterprise partners. "This is another huge proof point that HPE is streamlining and cutting layers of management, therefore making people more directly accountable. To me, that is a requirement for success in the future."

Molina and other partners said they also see the restructuring as a stepped-up focus to continue to deliver sales growth – putting the entire global sales organization under Antonio Neri, executive vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Group.

In the most recent quarter, HPE’s Enterprise Group delivered 7 percent sales growth under Neri’s leadership. That helped drive HPE's first year-over-year sales growth in five years.

"I like what I hear about consolidating the different sales groups under [the Enterprise Group]," said Molina. "In the past, one of our biggest concerns was the different groups operating in silos with different product specialists like software and storage. I think it makes a lot of sense to combine all of sales under the [Enterprise] Group. It is going to streamline operations and make it easier for partners and customers to deal with HPE. [Whitman] continues to streamline and provide more complete solutions leveraging the vast HPE portfolio."

As part of the restructuring, HP Labs, including the highly touted bid to create a new breakthrough in computing called "The Machine," will be placed under Neri as part of the Enterprise Group, a move that will "further accelerate the time it takes to drive technology from research and development to commercialization," said Whitman.

Whitman said The Machine prototype, which is set to be delivered by the end of the year, remains on track. "This shows HPE is serious about getting a prototype of The Machine out by the end of the year,’ said Molina, noting he was a huge fan of Fink. "This tells me they are starting to move something from R&D into a final product."

Scott Douglas, senior vice president of CB Technologies Inc., Orange, Calif., one of HPE’s top enterprise partners, said he sees all of the changes accelerating sales for HPE partners.

"This is great for the channel," he said. "This makes HPE more agile and nimble. From a channel perspective, they are putting their money where their mouth is. That’s a good thing for partners."

The CEO of a top HPE partner, who did not want to be identified, said the sales restructuring makes the channel more valuable to customers that have difficulty navigating HPE. "When you have a restructuring like this it gets more customers to engage with solution providers," he said. "Change is good, and we need to embrace it."

Whitman, for her part, said, "We're living in a world where continuous improvement is essential to long-term success. I’m excited about the future of HPE, and I’m confident that these changes will help us accelerate our strategy and continue to win in the marketplace.’