HP's split has taken effect as of 1 Nov, with the firm officially divided into two separate companies; Hewlett Packard Enterprise with a focus on infrastructure and services for the corporate market; and HP Inc focused on printers and personal systems.
For Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the new firm believes that the move frees it up to have a clearer focus on meeting the IT requirements of enterprise customers, and it expects to grow its share of the market in future to match or exceed the growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of the territories it operates in, which in the UK is currently about three percent per annum.
"Customers were asking us about two different sets of things; one was very enterprise-centric, and one was very device-driven, and those are very different businesses that require a different level of focus and a different level of agility, and there is no way you can spread your R&D dollars to do everything, so you have to get focused," explained Andy Isherwood, UK managing director for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in an interview with V3.
Isherwood (pictured) said that things have changed a great deal over the past few years, and so the ability to respond swiftly to changing requirements is now a key factor for the firm.
"Markets are moving so quickly that the thing we worry about most is the competitor that you don't know about today who could take market share from you tomorrow," he said, and the same is true for HPE's customers, so they are looking for a technology provider who can help and support them to move more quickly.
Part of HPE's strategy to deal with this is to return to the company's heritage in a way, and "double down" on investment in research and development, something that it was formerly synonymous with.
"HP is justifiably renowned for its R&D, but I think that we had fundamentally lost sight of that, frankly, but I think we are now seeing a pipeline of innovation, not just in hardware but software, and our services innovation that will hopefully allow us to be successful," Isherwood said.
HPE is starting off as a $53bn company with a focus on four key areas; the transformation of IT to a hybrid infrastructure, using both on-premise and cloud-hosted services, for example; protecting customers' digital assets; empowering customers to be data-driven organisations through effective big data services; and driving workplace productivity through enterprise mobility.
The firm is looking to do this with the capabilities it has inherited from the old HP, which includes the server portfolio that has made it the number one server vendor globally, plus its storage and networking assets, the Helion cloud portfolio, its ConvergedSystems, plus financial, infrastructure and application services.
HP's split contrasts with the strategy taken by some other enterprise vendors, notably Dell, which turned itself into a privately owned company again a couple of years ago and has continued to expand, recently announcing plans to acquire EMC.
Dell's strategy is built upon the notion that enterprise customers would prefer to have a single trusted source for their IT procurement, and so it has held on to its PC division while acquiring firms that have the pieces it needs around storage, networking and enterprise services.
Isherwood declined to comment on the divergent strategies of the two firms, saying only that "I'm glad I'm sitting in the seat I'm in."
This was a reference to the difficult and time consuming process that Dell will have to go through in order to integrate EMC into the rest of the company, something that could distract it from other business priorities, he claimed.
"With that kind of debt, you are also going to have to take some drastic cost action, and you are always going to be worried about how you are going to service that $67bn of debt," he said. In contrast, HPE has no debt, he added.
"We don't need any more assets, because we have actually acquired or organically developed our flash storage, our servers, our mobility solution, our services capability. We don't need to go and buy anything, we've got we need to deliver on our transformation areas," he claimed.
"Hopefully, we can stay in that position by being innovators in this industry once again, through the R&D that we do, because that's what HP has been known for for 75 years, and we've ebbed and flowed a bit, but I think we've now got it firmly back in our sights."
No doubt the market, and HPE's customers, will be intrigued to see how the new direction taking by the firm, and that of its old stablemate HP Inc, turns out.
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