LAS VEGAS: HP Discover 2015 was punctuated by HP detailing the progress of its split into two companies, with a particular focus on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the company's software and services business that will be fully established when the firm officially splits in November.
Now, 80 percent of the way through the logistics of the split, HP chief executive Meg Whitman announced a four-pronged strategy for HPE, and detailed how the new business will focus on helping companies embrace hybrid cloud infrastructures, be more secure and data driven, while also enabling mobile working.
The splitting of a technology company involved in many aspects of IT hardware, software and services is no small undertaking, and HP has clearly used Discover 2015 as a way to alleviate any concerns over the company's tough break-up.
Crawford Del Prete, executive vice president at analyst firm IDC, told V3 the split and HPE's strategy makes sense, as it effectively modernises the scale and scope of the services and systems HP currently offers to its enterprise customers.
"I think that the strategy is very logical. They want to help customers with their journey to a hybrid environment, and help customers gain better insights, protect data and empower employees and customers with new services," he said.
"In short, this strategy is about modernising and becoming more relevant to customers."
Big tech trends
Corporate strategies that embrace hybrid cloud, mobile and big data appear to be a trend among big players in the technology industry, such as Dell with its hybrid cloud future.
Another is Microsoft, which recently touted an empowerment ethos that embraces hybrid cloud and data analytics to evolve its mobile first, cloud first strategy.
So it is not surprising to see HPE adopting a similar tactic, as observed in the tweet below by Patrick Moorhead, analyst and founder of Moor Insights and Strategy.
However, the sheer size of HP means that it has many fingers in many pies, and Del Prete believes this puts HPE in a unique position compared with other enterprise IT players.
"I don't necessarily think that they are following others per se," he said. "At the end of the day, HP is in a very unique position as an infrastructure supplier with a huge services footprint and significant investment in software."
Scale back, grow up
It is HP's huge scale that seems to be driving the split and the HPE strategy. HP needs to be smaller to operate and innovate in a more agile way and deliver the services and products that shift business from old IT infrastructures to cloud and digital systems.
Del Prete said HPE will need to offer new services and take a different approach to selling its products to entice enterprises with the IT modernisation it is offering.
"I think HPE will be more nimble as a result of the split. This means being able to react more quickly to customer opportunities," he said.
Taking to Twitter again, Moorhead appeared to agree, saying that the split will allow both of the new businesses to be more agile, although he hinted that there are downsides as well.
HP is too big today. I do believe the two companies will be much faster separate from each other. Yes there will be downsides. $HPQ— Patrick Moorhead (@PatrickMoorhead) June 2, 2015
One of these downsides could be reassuring customers the split will not affect those using a range of HP's hardware and software products and services, along with convincing large companies that HPE can address their IT needs by itself.
HP executives reassured attendees throughout Discover 2015 that current customers will not be affected by the split, and HPE's strategy will end up benefiting them by offering better services, expertise and research-driven innovation in a more agile way.
V3 asked animation company and long-term HP partner DreamWorks Animation whether the split will affect its relationship and operation as it currently stands.
"It's not exactly business as usual, but it's not as dramatic as you might think," said Michael Cutler, global director of infrastructure operations at DreamWorks Animation.
"The two companies as two separate entities offer the same services that we are using now, and we'll continue to use those services just from different divisions."
He added that DreamWorks Animation will still have access to all the features offered by both companies, in particular HP's Labs research arm with which it works closely to test new technologies and services.
HPE's strategy and further details on the progression of the division appeared to receive a warm reception at Discover 2015, which will be the last conference for HP in its single company form.
HP may be confident that the firm is pleasing its customers with the HPE strategy and company future, but V3 noted that HP was quiet on the financial impact of the division, previously forecasted to cost $2bn, and the effect it will have on its 300,000 employees.
This arguably raises questions about whether moving to two separate companies will have a more dramatic impact on HP's future than first appeared.
No doubt more details will come to light when HP starts trialling its operations as two separate businesses in August this year.
Whatever the result, HP will be under scrutiny from its fellow technology giants, which will be watching closely to learn from and capitalise on the divisions' potential victories or failures.
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