HPE CEO Whitman: Businesses Will 'Live or Die' Based On How They Adapt To A World In Which 'Everything Computes'

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman Tuesday told several thousand customers that businesses will "live or die" based on how they adapt to a world in which everything is connected and "everything computes."

"We see this emerging world as one where everything computes and, in that world, your business will live or die based on technology," said Whitman in a keynote address at the HPE Discover conference. "We see it over and over again: outstanding business outcomes occur when you combine the right mix of breakthrough innovations with the right experience at the right time. A world where everything computes comes with tremendous opportunities and challenges."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Whitman On New Products, Dell EMC's 'Old Technology' Bet, Cisco's UCS-VCE Data Center Dilemma And Her Future Plans]

Conquering those real world challenges and helping customers capture the opportunities that come in an "everything computes" world is at the heart of HPE's strategy to make hybrid IT simple, power the intelligent edge and provide the services expertise to "make it all happen," said Whitman.

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HPE unveiled a blizzard of technology breakthroughs at HPE Discover 2017 aimed at helping customers build more secure and dynamic infrastructure and drive better business outcomes in an "everything computes" world. These included a new Gen10 server platform billed as the world's most secure industry standard server; robust updates to the company's Synergy composable infrastructure, which is accelerating private cloud adoption; a new Aruba 8400 core switch that partners are calling a Cisco Catalyst "killer;" a new Aruba Internet of Things asset tracking solution for the intelligent edge; and new HPE Edgeline Services Platform to help partners manage and control industrial connected systems and networks.

The key to making hybrid IT simple is helping customers make decisions on which applications run off premises, on premises or at the edge, said Whitman. Just as important, said Whitman, is HPE's mission to help customers stretch beyond the data center to deliver transformative experiences for their customers at the intelligent edge.

"In this new world autonomous systems will make data-driven decisions that improve profits, save lives and enhance the world in which we live," said Whitman. "This is so important because according to (market researcher) IDC 43 percent of IoT (Internet of Things) data will be analyzed at the edge."

HPE's "trusted advisor" Pointnext services organization- which was launched three months ago – is developing new services aimed at providing customers the ability to "turn data into insight and insight into action" to drive better business outcomes, said Whitman.

To drive home the power of the HPE strategy, Whitman pointed to cloud workplace provider Smartsheet's decision to move from a public cloud platform for its highly regarded software-as-a-service offering to an on-premises HPE private cloud and Merck, a $40 billion pharmaceutical company, which also embraced an HPE hybrid platform.

Clark Golestani, president of the emerging business and global CIO for Merck told HPE Discover attendees that his company did a comprehensive analysis of the public cloud versus hybrid IT and selected HPE hybrid IT. "With regulatory constraints, privacy and also cost – which is very important for us – it really drove us to a converged (HPE) infrastructure solution on premise," he said.

More importantly than even regulatory and privacy issues were the operational issues associated with public cloud versus an HPE hybrid IT solution, said Golestani. "The idea that we could be down for a day is unacceptable," he said.

"The idea that we would not deliver medicines potentially around the globe to patients that require that is something that we just can't conceive of," said Golestani. "So putting it in the cloud really is not an option for us. We need to be up all the time every day."

The flexibility with the HPE hybrid IT infrastructure and "tremendous cost savings" – which ultimately drives more Merck R&D – was critical in the decision adopt an HPE hybrid IT solution, said Golestani.

As for Smartsheet, Whitman said the company's cloud based business model was becoming "increasingly expensive" when it turned to HPE for help. The company wrestled with the "sheer complexity" of the migration to the private cloud and the funding to make the switch, said Whitman.

With the HPE partnership, Smartsheet installs, configures and tests the HPE infrastructure but only begins paying for it once it is "poised to become revenue generating," said Whitman. "In my view that is the perfect example of the right mix of innovation meeting the right experience," she said.

Whitman said HPE's commitment to being "services led and outcome focused" is driving partnerships with a growing ecosystem of the largest system integrators from all over the world.

HPE, for example, has teamed with Wipro, one of the top India-based system integrators to provide a flexible capacity consumption model that provides customers public cloud economics in a managed private cloud offering.

Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO and executive director of Wipro, the $7.7 billion system integrator giant, with a 175,000 strong workforce, told Discover attendees that the digital transformation impacting all industries is profound. He said the HPE partnership has been critical in helping Wipro deliver transformative hybrid IT-intelligent edge breakthroughs for customers.

Wipro's own digital transformation is also helping it deliver next generation "everything computes" solutions for its customers, said Neemuchwala, "With cloud, cognitive, AI and analytics, banks are becoming branchless, cars are becoming driverless, manufacturing is becoming digital and smart and IT services is becoming people-less," he said. "So it is a huge transformation. The way we are enabling it is by not only helping customers transform but also transforming Wipro itself."

Wipro's focus is on "simplification" with an eye towards the elimination of business processes, tasks, applications and hardware that can be eliminated, said Neemuchwala. "What can not be eliminated then gets hyper-automated," he said.

Wipro's HOLMES artificial intelligence platform is used to deliver that hyper-automation with cognitive technology, said Neemuchwala. Over the last year, Wipro has been able to hyper-automate the work of about 12,000 people who have been re-deployed to other activities and deliver more productivity to customers.

"What we can't hyper-automate we believe will move to crowdsourcing," he said. Wipro now owns one of the world's largest crowdsourcing platform which is being re-engineered for enterprise crowdsourcing, said Neemuchwala.

Neemuchwala said the partnership with HPE has allowed Wipro to provide speed and agility to customers like RSA, one of Britain's oldest insurance companies. Leveraging the HPE technology stack, Wipro enabled RSA to launch new insurance products faster, he said.

Wipro has also leveraged the HPE stack to deliver new IoT services to RSA, while at the same time reducing the company's IT real estate by about 50 percent, with a 25 percent IT cost savings, said Neemuchwala.

Wipro has also leveraged the HPE technology stack to drive an improved passenger experience with intelligent edge HPE technology at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, said Neemuchwala, while at the same time driving higher per-passenger revenue for the airport. "It is a complete hybrid IT – intelligent edge solution," Neemuchwala.

Finally, Wipro is providing the hybrid IT infrastructure that has allowed a brass lock and metal key company to transform to a smartphone based system, said Neemuchwala. "This is about opening, millions of times a day, locks and keys all over the world," he said. "In partnership with HPE, we have enabled them to provide a very reliable and secure hybrid cloud on the boundaryless data center Wipro platform."

Worth Davis, vice president and chief technology officer for Computex Technology Solutions, No. 124 on the CRN SP500, said he was impressed by the sheer amount of breakthrough technology at Discover. "A lot of times when we go to these shows, the vendors are not really bringing anything new to market," he said. "Here at Discover, we have Gen10, the Synergy portfolio, and a focus on security on the server side. When you go on the show floor, there are dozens of great technologies. It is not one piece of technology and a lot of PowerPoints. This is the most innovation relevant to enterprise IT that I have seen in a long while."