Tuesday, 10 March 2020 15:14

HPE 'a big opportunity' for GM Andrew Foot

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HPE's recently appointed general manager, compute-hybrid IT, South Pacific Andrew Foot speaks exclusively to iTWire.

Foot joined HPE in mid-2019 from Dell EMC where he held a number of senior positions, most recently that of senior director APJ global accounts, modern data centre division.

While they are "both great companies," HPE has three key differentiators, he told iTWire.

It has a strong story regarding the consumption as a service model, it is "interested in all things artificial intelligence" (AI is predicted to account for 15-20% of data centre workloads by 2022, and HPE has acquired MapR and BlueData among other companies active in this area), and rather than trying to do everything itself HPE has developed strong partnerships with OEMs, systems integrators and other players.

"Customers more and more want to buy from a group of companies that are working together," he observed.

Foot sees his job as "a big opportunity."

Globally, "we want to be 'the edge to the cloud' company," offering everything as a service.

Edge computing is a major opportunity. The explosion of sensor data calls for faster processing at the edge, so HPE is targeting line-of-business use cases that will accelerate growth.

At the other end of that spectrum, "we want to be seen as a multi-cloud company" helping customers on their journey to an environment where there is no boundary between public and private cloud.

In his regional role, Foot has three current focus areas:

• Accelerating partnerships across the HPE compute portfolio, both with other vendors (VMware, Red Hat, Nutanix, Microsoft, etc) and with companies carrying out large transformation projects such as Schneider and Caterpillar.

• Solution selling to help customers solve business problems and achieve outcomes with strong business cases.

• "Hyperscaling our volume business" to underpin the move into new markets. At the low end, the plan is to remove complexity by asking 'what does an SMB customer actually want to buy?' and offering HPE hardware with software from other vendors as a single SKU. One example is a VSAN-ready node – VMware has a very strong market share and HPE's ProLiant servers are number one in most markets, so it makes sense to sell a ProLiant preloaded with VSAN software. Similarly, RHEL ships on more HPE servers than any other platform, he said, so it will be offered to distributors as a bundle. Furthermore, customers don't usually buy just compute nodes. HPE also offers storage, networking and supporting services, so providing customers with what they want helps build volume. At the same time, HPE is revising its channel incentives with a particular focus on the growth parts of its portfolio.

"We've been doing all three of these," Foot told iTWire.

High growth areas for the local business include software-defined infrastructure ("all of our software-defined portfolio... [is] experiencing significant growth"), open source, and the GreenLake IT as a service offering.

The goal is to make all HPE products and services available on a consumption model by 2022, and this will mean "significant growth" for GreenLake.

"We're really optimistic about the year ahead," said Foot. There are some local and global concerns – including coronavirus – but there is "a lot of activity across the market."

"We've done the hard work on the vision... and go to market," so HPE is in "a good position to take the market on."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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