In this chapter of ESG’s Marketing in Challenging Times video series, Patrick Osborne, VP & GM at HPE, talks with Mark Peters about the upside of increased time on his employees’ hands and how newly developed management techniques may carry into future business processes.
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Mark: So, today, I'm joined by Patrick Osborne from HPE. Patrick, thank you very much for taking the time.
Patrick: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Mark: Obviously, now we have all been talking about this pandemic for weeks. You have a pretty big job at HPE. I'd just like to start off with a pretty obvious question. Apart from everything, what's changed and how are you dealing with it?
Patrick: Yeah. So, a lot of things have changed. I think, you know, a couple of things for me within the construct of the professional world is I miss the folks on my team. You know, we have a great team and they're just fantastic to work with. So, we're doing everything we can to stay in touch. I think a couple of things that have changed are there's a huge appetite for people up-leveling their skills right now.
So, I think people are taking the time to understand what they can do from a learning perspective, what they can do to, you know, sort of get themselves ready for when business turns back to normal. I think one of the challenges too is that in managing and leading a very large organization, you know, there's so many hours in the day to be able to connect with folks, right, via Zoom, via Conference.
So, how do you decentralize what we're doing here so you can push out as much autonomy and decision-making and make sure that, you know, everything that's going on with our innovation process is hitting on all cylinders as possible? So, there's some definitely challenges, you know, on the personal side, as a lot of you guys know I have four kids in elementary school, so the homeschooling has been a bit of a challenge.
But you know, my kids are in Boston public school systems. They've got a pretty good job to do, all of their learning online. So, it's been a good experience so far.
Mark: You almost talked about some upsides there in terms of people you know, improving their learning, perhaps the distributed management control is something that you'll take forward afterwards. So, is that something you see that will actually, I'm not suggesting that there aren't some real challenges right now, but there might well be some positives that we can take forward?
Patrick: Yeah. Absolutely. I think for the last four or five weeks we've tried to do a couple of things, right? Is, you know, respond to customers who are in need to you know, there's a lot of shock buying, people are shoring up a supply chain for essential industries. And so, how can we respond to that immediately? But then the second thing is now I'm starting to see folks put their mind six, nine months from now on what that's going to look like and how customers can complete their buyer's journey completely online.
How do we essentially get the best and most frictionless product experience, not only from a consumption perspective but how do I use the product if I can't go on the data center? I think there's a lot of things that people are starting to think about right now as to how to prepare ourselves for, you know, what's going to look like for six to nine months from now.
Mark: Okay. Well, let's make this the last question. You talked about six to nine months and I agree, it seems that you know, we've got to get to a vaccine potentially, we've certainly...we're going to go through stages of recovery and coming out of this, but to what extent do we, and I don't want to just say about what's the new normal, but again, you've mentioned a number of things that are being changed and improved as we've gone through this.
So, it sounds like you're optimistic on overall saying that we'll keep the good of what we used to have and bring that back and maybe we've added something to it. Is that fair to say?
Patrick: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I'm always...I'll try to be a glass is half full. These days is a martini is half full kind of guy. And but, yeah, I think that's going to definitely be a hybrid of how, you know, what can we take that we've been doing that's, you know, current course and speed, but there's got to be, you know, a number of changes here. Not only from the way we deal with working from home, I think people have gotten a taste of that, right?
And then how can we do best to serve our customers? I think this is going to definitely take all of these interesting projects around digital transformation and just accelerate them by, you know, two orders of magnitude. So, how can we be there for our customers? And obviously, being in storage and data management, that's a huge opportunity for us to help our customers.
Mark: Yeah. I'll be talking separately as well to the actual program that HPE came out with financially because obviously, that was a big chunk of change. But, you know, I've enjoyed the conversation. If nothing else, I think what you're describing is that there can be some silver linings despite all the gray clouds and that genuinely I get the impression what you're saying is that we are, to coin a phrase, to use the phrase "all in this together."
Patrick: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, humans are great at breaking things, but they're even better at fixing them. So, I think we're going to come out you know, pretty good on the other side.
Mark: Patrick, thank you very much for your time. Good to see you.
Patrick: Good to see you too. Thanks, Mark.