Hewlett Packard, whose Las Vegas Discover event I attended last week, are one of the few companies on the planet with the heft and neutrality to engender and carry off social business transformation at scale, from data center underpinnings through to enterprise services strategy to digital apps across all devices.
The reality is that many companies are too siloed to be able to go through the big bang effect of becoming a more connected, agile business without significant help at this point in history. Although the attraction of becoming more holistic and cost effective is very attractive and cost effective to many, technical and cultural barriers can make goal setting seem ambitious.
The quick win world of 'just in time', ephemeral customer facing social marketing technologies has put all kind of pressures on longer term enterprise strategic planning, where connections and collaborations between the various parts of the business jigsaw are highly desirable. Where CMO's and marketing departments tend to have the job incumbency of professional team sport players, IT and lines of business have much more longevity and more importantly are planning for further horizons.
Legacy can be a double edged sword for vast, mature enterprises like HP - their reputation as a 'trusted safe pair of hands' partner to their customers and channels is colored by a history going back to 1939 that can be perceived as a help or a hinderance in our agile, real time and future obsessed world. As the symbolic founder of Silicon Valley, HP's technology roots run deep throughout the global IT world, and in the real world the increased pace of technology change requires some financial gymnastics for enterprise customers who need to upgrade their technology.
HP provide the IT underpinnings for a huge array of long term relationship global companies of all sizes, with a diversified business that historically has spanned and supports hardware, software, enterprise services, security and consulting.
The winds of global commoditization, the speed at which social business platform strategies which take advantage of collaboration, cloud, mobile, analytics and mobile have hit the market and the 'how do we get from on premise legacy capex to cloud opex' questions can make HP's relationship reinvention conversations challenging.
Getting to planned goals conversations invariably come round to 'how much will this cost' as a gating factor, and an aspect of HP I hadn't given much thought to until last week was what happens to the old when you bring in the new.
I met with Gerri Gold of Hewlett Packard Financial Services and some of her colleagues and was intrigued by how HP helps their clients finance their journeys. At enterprise scale, moving to cloud hosting has a huge number of issues: what to do with all the last generation on premise equipment (there are 160 pieces of legislation around the globe for recycling and governance), data sanitization, and not least financing the shift to more modern business practices that these moves were initiated by.
Most firms have no consistent process for retiring old iron, resulting in fragmented local decision making which can fall foul of the law elsewhere. Orchestration and execution at scale of the quick removal of oder generation IT can be an enormous help to companies as they go through layers of change and get up and running with new ways of working.
HP Financial Services has 12 billion dollars in financial assets on its books and has remarketed 2 million devices it has taken off the hands of customers. Andover in Massachusetts and Erskine in Scotland are home to a fantastic array of old gear, which is resold or striped for parts, having been purchased as part of financing arrangements that help HP clients cross the bridge from terrestrial to cloud based computing.
These fundamental foundations which enable modernization are often overlooked, but they are important enablers that allow companies to go forward in executing transformation roadmaps and realizing goals of becoming more agile, social businesses.
~ HP paid my expenses to visit Discover
Timelapse video: "Theatre on the Fly" Chichester UK