CEO: HP is 'remarkably resilient'

CEO: HP is 'remarkably resilient'

Summary: Meg Whitman commends employees' resilience amid reshuffling and restructuring, and says its focus on cloud computing, security and information will help position HP to address customers' future IT needs.

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LAS VEGAS--Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Meg Whitman credited employees for being "remarkably resilient" even as the company continues to ride out the "turmoil" of management shuffles and restructuring, and reiterates its focus on staying ahead in the IT infrastructure business.

In her keynote speech at the HP Discover conference here on Wednesday, Whitman admitted the turmoil that was experienced at the top management level has taken a toll on the company and its shareholders. That said, she said it was testament to the employees' resilience that they still went out of their way to support the customers.

"HP is a remarkably resilient company. It will do anything to help you in any circumstance. Every day, I learn something new about what I can do for you. That's the reason why I've fallen in love with HP," she remarked.

The CEO said the IT vendor will continue to aggregate its capabilities in hardware, software and services to better serve its customers, but the organization must be more than the sum of its parts.

In terms of its overall strategy, Whitman said cloud computing, security and information are the three interlinked components that will influence and span across the company's suite of offerings. Its cloud vision, for one, aims to deliver a common experience from traditional IT to public, private or hybrid clouds.

Security, too, will be critical given how mobile and cloud trends have created infinite access points for cybercriminals to exploit, and how threats have become even more sophisticated and unpredictable, she added.

As for information, the CEO pointed out that enterprises are looking to get the most out of their data, regardless of its source. As such, there is a need to "turn 100 percent of the relevant information into insight" so that companies can make better decisions and set themselves apart from competitors. Vertica and Autonomy are two analytics companies HP had acquired earlier to help customers manage their structured and unstructured data, respectively, she said.

"All CEOs see technology as fundamental to success and technology needs to be ubiquitous and available like electricity," she surmised.

"Proud" to be in infrastructure arena
Whitman also reiterated that the company's core is still in its infrastructure business and called it a "differentiating strength" that it is proud of. Some 70 percent of HP's revenue is from hardware and infrastructure, she added.

As for worries that this market segment is being commoditized, she said the company's reply will be "not if we can help it". "With the right R&D (research and development) and customer connections, we can stay ahead in this most important element of the business. We're proud to be in the infrastructure business," the CEO stated.

Software will also play an important role in optimizing and differentiating HP's hardware, which will help better address customers' problems, she added.

Commenting on the company's strategic direction, Frederic Giron, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, said its bet on infrastructure transformation will help drive its business, but competition in the marketplace is "harsh".

John Brand, vice president and principal analyst of the CIO group at Forrester Research, added that HP has a "great opportunity" if it focuses on next-generation infrastructure--defined loosely as an integrated hardware and software stack--and help customers migrate from their legacy environments.

The "irony" is that the company appears to be encouraging clients to stay with legacy technologies currently, and this might brand HP as a "legacy" vendor too, he pointed out.

Jamie Yap of ZDNet Asia reported from HP Discover 2012 in Las Vegas, United States.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Emerging Tech

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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