Analyst events are about many things - strategy, product details, tactics, competitive actions, user stories, and corporate measurement statistics, just to give a few examples. Those are some of the factual aspects....but there's also another side to things which is very important. Big events such as this are also about setting a tone, and communicating an attitude.
Looked at in this perspective the HP event this month was a noticeable success. From a somewhat deliberate yet occasionally dour emphasis a few years ago (no complaints, just an observation) the demeanor and emotion in the "big tent" sessions has shifted, just as much as the private hallway conversations. Take a look at what ESG analysts had to say at the event:
So, as the video commentary stated from us all, there was a palpable confidence that was exuded: both in the corporate turnaround to date and in the opportunity ahead. Of course, things like zero net debt, product and market-share progress, improved stock value, and a portfolio that's not just stronger but is more integrated, are all interesting and valuable but I want to emphasize the different feeling at HP.
So, what does this new HP stand for?
From a company that was Hardly Profitable and Horribly Pedantic with Hidden Potential earlier this century, things feel very different now. I'm not suggesting this is an exclusive list but here are a few thoughts on what HP stands for today….and it’s not quite as “tongue-in-cheek” as you might think. First of all a warm Historical Perspective was permitted (yes, there was a doff of the virtual cap to Mr H and Mr P); embracing that old “Invent” mantra there are Healthy Possibilities with things like Memristor and Photonics. Of course there’s still, as always, a Huge Portfolio, but Happier Personnel was a big and welcome change. It looks like Meg has Had Patience to let the strategic changes take effect….meaning that one gets the distinct feeling that HP is beginning to once again stand tall.
Mark: So you're a vendor, you got lots to tell people, you're having an analyst day, there's one way to make sure that people pay attention. Hold it in Boston in March--it's freezing. Let's go.
Okay, so a lot warmer in here, and the meeting is not the land of the Giants, these guys, not much secret, you can see we're at HP's industry analyst event for 2014. Now, it is an enormous company, covers a huge breadth, we can't cover everything obviously. But I'm glad that I've got, as usual, some of my ESG colleagues with me, and each of those is going to tell you just their main thoughts and takeaways from the meeting.
Terri: What I really like about this event is it really gives us an opportunity to appreciate the breadth and depth what HP can bring to the table. They've got so many resources between the server business, and networking business, and HP lab's developing amazing technology like memristor really gives you an idea of just what kind of an impact they're having in the market when it comes to next-gen storage technologies in really preparing companies to adopt to the cloud and start to elasticize their environment in a very efficient way.
Jason: So I'm here at the HP analyst summit, and one of the things I really wanted to look at was what was going to be the backup and recovery archiving story that we're going to hear this week. And one thing that I was really impressed by is this is not the HP from 2013 and before. And 2014 HP seems really confident. They're confident in their product set, they're confident in who they think they want to take on in market, and they're going to get really aggressive on telling that story. They're hiring specialized backup recovery specialists. They're identifying a story that completes from primary storage, through snapshoting, through secondary storage all the way through dedupe and even integrating their tape components and the HP Cloud. So it ought to be a really interesting time for them and the question's gonna be can they take all the technologies and the passion they've got and enable a field force and a channel ecosystem that can actually help them bring these new solutions to market.
Mark: I've spent an awful lot of time looking at converged systems and ultimately, at the end of the day, it's all about being able to deploy it faster, easier to maintain, and better in service and support. We see the people actually driving these inside if IT is ultimately that VP of IT operations ultimately up to the CIO. HP's positioned here pretty interestingly. They've got at the bottom, they've got a CS100 based on Moonshot today that's focused on Citrix XenDesktop environment, very predictable pricing in size and model. They go up to CS300 and then up to the CS700. CS300, it's a little bit more software-defined, based on some of the stuff they do from a storage perspective, the 700 is actually has three-part storage in there. But no matter what it is, it's ultimately changing the way people think about consuming.
Terri: It is interesting for me to hear just the ongoing drumbeat about open standards in OpenStack and just how much HP's investing in OpenStack across the board in [inaudible 00:03:15] with the interfaces to help build standardization and help customers be able to really bridge their existing data centers with new cloud data centers and avoid that lock in. They're practically wearing OpenStack cheerleader outfits today, the last few days, the way they've been talking about it. I think customers would really like that, because it solves a real customer problem, when you start looking at how next-generation applications need to get built in how and where they need to get hosted. I really like much of what I heard today. HP, the message clearly is that they're back, that's what they've been saying for a couple days. They're saying all the right things. Of course, it's up to them to execute, but the future looks good.
Mark: I think the biggest challenge HP has ahead of them is, ultimately, the way IT does things today. HP could very easily, an HP sales person or field person, could very easily lean back on the way they traditionally do networking or storage or their server environment, but what they've done is put programs in place with their sales teams and, more importantly, with the channel to be able to drive that converged system, not only from a strategic perspective, really the value of deploying a pre-integrated turnkey solution to their customers.
Mark: So thanks to my colleagues, I hope you found their comments interesting. Now, look, I'm back in the land of the giants, but really, that's not why I have come up here. I came here to pass on one of the other insights that I thought was really interesting and a key take away from this meeting without getting into any the NDA stuff or other things that we can't share. And that was it really felt like we're back to the big HP, the HP of old, the HP that companies and even its competitors, strangely enough, sometimes want to succeed. There's something iconic about the company. So if there's one word I take away from this event, aside from the portfolio, aside from the progress in individual accounts, aside from the opportunity, its confidence. This was a confident company. In fact, I think Meg Whitman in her opening keynote used the word "confident" maybe eight times in the first five minutes. Not just confident from HP outwards, but also we saw from and heard from a number of partners and customers, their confidence in what the company is doing. This is a very different company from one, three or four years ago.