HPE Pointnext Chief Ana Pinczuk On The 'Swagger' Of The New Services Organization, The 'Unbounded' Opportunity And 'Increased Focus' On Partners

The Dawn Of Pointnext

Ana Pinczuk, the head of Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Pointnext technology services business, spoke with CRN about the launch of HPE's newly redefined services organization, the increased focus on partners and the market opportunity around hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge.

Pinczuk, a 30-plus year industry sales veteran, came to HPE just two weeks ago from storage vendor Veritas, where she was executive vice president and chief product officer. Before that, she spent 15 years at Cisco where she held a number of high-level positions, including senior vice president of sales.

Pinczuk said HPE partners can expect an increased focus on teaming with partners as Pointnext moves to stake out the high ground in hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge. "With [my background], I am used to being very channel friendly," she said. "My commitment as I look at the value proposition from advisory [services] and transform[ational services] through professional [services] through operational services is to increase the importance of the channel, to scale through the channel, and to provide capabilities for the channel to upsell through the Pointnext capabilities."

What is the impact of HPE launching Pointnext as a separate business with its own name?

If you think about it and you think of the HPE strategy there are three pillars – one is to make hybrid IT simple, the second one is to power the Intelligent Edge, and the third one is all about bringing to market the expertise to make all of that happen. This is really significant for us because bringing that expertise to make the IT transformation happen for our customers is what Pointnext is about.

We are one of the three main pillars of the strategy going forward for the company. That is really significant. What that means is that we are elevating the value of services. We are also recognizing as customers go through that digital journey, they want to interact with us in different ways. They want to have solutions from us. They want us to deliver services to them. They want us to deliver things in a flex capacity with new consumption models. This gives us an opportunity to elevate the capabilities we have.

What is the importance of the Pointnext name in terms of the organization's mission?

We see ourselves as a trusted advisor to our customers helping them with a point of view of where to go next. We want to be directional. We want to be bold. We want to be helping them with their digital transformation journey. Our strategy is very future-oriented. It is bold. It is really capturing the imagination around helping customers with the whole digital journey.

There is also a point of view – pun intended – that we will be working with our customers and partners to create that IP [intellectual property] and that point of view. And to help guide them.

Partners have their own technology services teams. Where will partners play and where will Pointnext play?

From my perspective, there are always rules of engagement, and a lot of that is led by customers. For some customers, it will be more customer-led. Those tend to be more complex customers at the top of the pyramid. They'll be, in some cases, closer to us. In fact, many customers want to work with us, especially when we have new solutions. It is difficult to do those initially with partners because we are still trying to understand how a new solution works.

Our goal is to do the first few with select customers and then to curate a set of materials and to have rules of engagement with our partners. And to provide that IP – make that IP shareable with partners. We want to be able to do that with our channel.

What's the opportunity around hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge?

We are in the process of curating solutions around hybrid IT and the Intelligent Edge in terms of what we can do with our partners and our customers.

It's over $100 billion of opportunity. There is opportunity for all of us to play. I think part of it is how do I stake that out to figure out where HPE Pointnext will play. We are seeing a lot of opportunity around pretty much every vertical.

If you take a retail store or an entity that has lots of branches – whether retail store or a bank – we are developing solutions that are points of view with repeatable, quantifiable opportunities for mobility, new revenue solutions for our customers. I think the opportunity is unbounded. And I think that is why the partner opportunity is so great. The question for us is how do we work and partner with the channel to execute to the opportunity that exists?

What kind of cultural changes are you making to the organization now that Enterprise Services – now merged with CSC as the new DXC – is being spun out?

I am just going back into a meeting with all the leaders in the Pointnext organization. Culturally, to your point, when we were a bigger company there were rules of engagement internally. What does the DXC organization do? What do we do? The nice thing about being a smaller company is that there is an opportunity for our folks to have much more swagger.

We have got the opportunity to be very, very partner- and channel-friendly with any [systems integrator] as well and to accelerate what we do in the market. I am in the midst of a leadership initiative where we are going through what this means to us. How do we go talk to our channel and our sales organization, how do we use the introduction of HPE Pointnext to drive a conversation with our customer in terms of the capabilities that we have?

By the way, I don't see a cultural change as being one point in time. The other thing I am putting together is a cadence – a drumbeat – of communications and capabilities definition that starts now but will be on-going throughout the year.

Why has HPE relaunched its Technology Services (TS) organization as Pointnext?

I view it as a redefinition and a reaggregation of our technology services capabilities. Really the focus is on accelerating customers' digital transformation and enabling customers to have the business outcome they desire.

From a partner perspective, we are not changing anything with our partners. Our goal is to continue to be very partner-centric and very partner-friendly.

But as we look at our portfolio, which consists of advisory services, professional services and then our operational services, this gives us an opportunity to partner with our partners and deliver new classes of services with them. It helps to organize our services from a lifecycle perspective all the way from advisory to professional to operational, and it is going to make it easier for our partners to get on this bandwagon with us. It will be a lot more customer-friendly in terms of how we deliver these services to market.

What is new about Pointnext besides the name?

Initially, we are taking the capabilities we have always had with TS and then building upon those capabilities. Our goal is to accelerate some of the capabilities that we have from an advisory and transformation perspective and to align them around the solutions we are bringing to market.

You have heard us talk about hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge. We are going to look at the portfolio from that perspective and be very specific about the elements that we will deliver from a portfolio perspective with our customers around advisory capabilities, having points of view, being able to partner with our customers to deliver those capabilities and then deliver a set of professional services to market.

At this point, we are building upon what we have, and we are structuring it in a way that allows us to more easily present our capabilities all the way across the lifecycle for our customers.

How do you think those services will evolve?

Over time we want to build upon the services capabilities, especially around hybrid IT. We have Flexible Capacity. We have Intelligent Edge services. We are going to build those solutions, which will be very partner-friendly in terms of what we do. We will have much more streamlined clarity on those capabilities.

What is the partner footprint within the Technology Services organization?

A big portion of what we do is through partners today. As we increase the capabilities around advise and transform – some of those we will deliver also with system integrators and also with our alliance partners. A big portion of our professional services capabilities will happen through the channel, as it does today. Our goal is to really streamline those sets of offerings and make it easier for the channel to sell them.

What are the plans to partner with big system integrators now that HPE is spinning off HPE Enterprise Services?

Enterprise Services will continue to be a really big partner of ours as we move forward. In a sense, I view it as untethering our organization to be able to work with a whole bunch of different partners: the classic SI – system integrators, alliance partners, but also industry partners so folks that are out there that have industry specific points of view and capabilities whether it is [Internet of Things], manufacturing or other areas. So we have the opportunity to partner with the GEs and ABBs of the world, in addition to the more traditional partners – the Accentures and the Deloittes and other channel partners as well.

What other kinds of opportunities does spinning off Enterprise Services provide for Pointnext?

Because of the split with ES we have the opportunity to create and curate a new set of operational services as well, so the Flexible Capacity-type services. What we do with Datacenter Care, where we provide a full solution to our customers including migration services and working with application providers like SAP and Microsoft and others to build those services.

Will Pointnext share its unique methodology and best practices with its channel partners?

That is a big portion of what we are doing. As we look at the advice and transform and professional services capabilities, we want to streamline our portfolio and make it easy for our partners to understand what we offer end-to-end in that lifecycle for hybrid IT and for edge services. We will build a set of IP, and the goal is to be able to share that with partners and make it available to partners.

By making it simpler and much more customer experience-focused all the way from advise and transform to operational services, it enables us to much more easily share what we are doing with our partners.

What is your channel philosophy, and what is your commitment is to the channel?

With 15 years at Cisco I am used to being very channel friendly. In fact, the offerings that we have have been our own offerings and partner offerings. My commitment as I look at the value proposition from advisory and transform through professional through operational services is to increase the importance of the channel, to scale through the channel and to provide capabilities for the channel to upsell through the Pointnext capabilities.

I am still learning today what the engagement models are with the channel. My goal is to get out there and talk to our channel partners and partner advisory boards to make sure that Pointnext is part of every conversation and that we have an opportunity for our partners to upsell customers.

Our channel partners will see an increased focus from us. The solutions of the future – these digital transformations – are not things that we do by ourselves. We do them with technology partners and go-to-market partners. That is going to be ongoing and an even more important part of our strategy.

What is your call to action for solution providers as you accelerate hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge digital transformation?

We are still developing the full call to action for the channel. I have started to have calls with channel partners. What they want us to do is to help them have a portfolio of offerings they can build upon on top of our infrastructure capabilities.

That includes both traditional professional services and things like consumption models. So how do we enable our customers to have different buying motions for our capabilities? I am seeing in the first two weeks a lot of engagement with the channel, a lot of interest to build their portfolio on top of the Pointnext solutions and for us jointly to deliver new buying motions and consumption models.

The channel is trying to figure out how they add value to a consumption model sale also with capabilities for adoption services, migration services. There is a lot of focus in terms of how to navigate between the existing infrastructure that a customer has to the new world of hybrid cloud. We are having those conversations with channel partners.

What do you hear from systems integrators about working with Pointnext?

A lot of SIs are coming to us and saying they want to have an HPE strategy with us. They want to provide new types of solutions to customers whether it is intelligent metering, whether it is mobility in the branch. We are having conversations with channel partners as well as SIs looking at how they can curate those kinds of solutions and offer those services across verticals in terms of new reference architectures for Intelligent Edge and hybrid IT.

How is Pointnext different from competitive services offerings?

Unlike competitors where I think they have a very prescriptive view of the stack and how to create architectures, one of the great things we have with Pointnext is a much more open architecture. We have the opportunity to partner with traditional and new companies like Chef and Puppet – folks that are doing continuous integration and delivery for our customers – so we can bring a new type of solution. This is to bring agility to the customer base to enable them to deploy their new solutions. That differentiates us. And we can do that across compute, storage and network with our software-defined solutions with Arista and others. That is a differentiator for us.

What does the future look like as you move forward with Pointnext?

From my perspective I don't see us as opportunity-constrained. We have 25,000 people in services. We already have done over 10,000 projects for customers. We have over 3 million service engagement and touchpoints with our customers today. We have an opportunity to take that unparalleled scale and points of view that we have already generated from what we have deployed and build that into a set of IP that allows us to differentiate ourselves in the market around hybrid IT and Intelligent Edge.

How are you positioning Pointnext versus Dell EMC and Cisco?

Coming from Cisco, I always have a great appreciation for the competition. That said, our goal is to leapfrog with our services – to look at the digital transformation that our customers have, especially around compute and network and storage and the edge – and to look at the full solutions that we can have with hybrid IT and the Intelligent Edge.

Those other players have certain solutions, but we can span that whole architecture – data center, edge/campus and then move up the stack to work with our partners to deliver new capabilities on top of our infrastructure whether that is SAP HANA or new models with dev/ops we have the full gamut. That differentiates us.

How will you leverage strategic partnerships going forward?

We have the opportunity to go to market with a lot of different players now as we untether from other outsourcing-type arrangements. So we have the opportunity to be part of verticals and come in with a services-led, services-first mindset. If you look at Flex Capacity, we have incredible capabilities there to have public cloud economics in a private or hybrid world, and we've got great abilities to span private and public. Those are really differentiated capabilities for us.

What about the next-generation partnerships with Docker, Mesosphere and others?

We are not just about virtualization and traditional models of operation around waterfall development of large programs that our customers had. As people adopt agile development and they want to really accelerate the speed of their own services to market, our partnerships will allow them to basically introduce micro services and have a containerized world to accelerate those applications. To us that is a huge differentiator. Not only can we have the economics of the public cloud but we can have the ability that a hybrid cloud infrastructure can give you. Instead of having really long cycles for introduction of new applications we can work with our customers and allow them to have a micro services and containerized-based architecture and introduce those services much more prescriptively.

What is the services organization's philosophy with regard to HPE first or vendor-agnostic?

From my perspective, it is an open architecture approach. That is what we are going for. We recognize that our customers are going to work with a lot of different partners and that we are going to have to put together technology solutions with them. We want to have a technology framework that is open, that allows other partners to plug in with a set of APIs or capabilities. We want to be able to have a mindset that is very open.

Now in terms of expertise, we are going to build expertise in our advisory and transform, and professional services organization that are going to be most savvy about our hybrid IT and edge solutions. That is going to be the focus of our expertise. That said, our goal is to work with partner organizations and build solutions for our customers, some of which might be multivendor. We will be looking at multivendor, but we are going to build scale for our own expertise. We'll know most about hybrid IT and edge solutions that fit into that customer journey.

What is your first impression of HPE's channel partners from your first few weeks on the job?

I can tell you there is a huge amount of partner interest. There is a set of partners that are coming to us that are recognizing the shift in the market around digital, and they want to build their portfolio. They see the tremendous prowess we have with our solutions. So they want to build a set of services and work with us on that. I am personally seeing a set of partners that are very interested in having conversations with us.

For partners that want to engage with Pointnext, what's the first step?

We have a partner friendly organization and people that are working with those partners today. Reach out to those folks or give me a call. We are eager to work with our partners to accelerate our offerings to the market, especially around professional and advisory services. Tell partners we are here. We are excited to be working with them. They can work through the organization or just give me a call.