Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has officially launched a new Customer Engagement Centre (CEC) in the City of London as the newly-formed company continues to set out its stall in the technology market since launching in November.
The site is intended to facilitate discussions with clients where they can thrash out their IT requirements, receive tailored advice on best practice, and meet HPE business experts and leaders.
The new CEC is the first in the EMEA region, and the first outside North America, which the firm said is a testament to London's continued importance as a key business hub.
One of the aims of the new facility is to help enterprise customers with digital transformation strategies, moving towards a more modern and agile approach to IT delivery that can support innovation and new business models, according to Peter Ryan, HPE's managing director for EMEA.
"We talk about the ‘idea economy', but when you're out there talking to customers there is no doubt that we're in an idea economy. The amount of profit in the marketplace that is generated by idea-intense, asset-light companies is growing," Ryan said, claiming that this figure now stands at 31 percent.
This fits with a common theme in the industry that technology has now tipped the balance in favour of fast-moving startups like Uber and Airbnb, which can come from nowhere and steal market share even from long-established brands.
"Traditionally you would have said that bricks and mortar companies were the lifeblood of the economy, but increasingly the major competitive weapons in the idea economy are software, data, algorithms, brands and research and development. It's not about the physical presence anymore, it's about the idea," Ryan said.
The new CEC (above) allows HPE to conduct workshop sessions with senior executives from clients to identify their needs and where they want to be in the future, and to advise on possible solutions and demonstrate the latest HPE technology.
The firm is aiming to have 250 customers using the London facility over the next year "for strategic discussions about their transformation journey".
However, Ryan said that such engagements will seek to deliver the best outcome for the customer, and that HPE will not force clients into a "wall-to-wall HPE solution".
"Our challenge is to prove our relevance, as we are well aware that customers have other choices," he explained.
Elsewhere, it has emerged that HPE is building a closer relationship with software-defined storage vendor Scality. The move follows a global agreement between the two firms last year that saw HPE reselling Scality's scale-out Ring storage platform running on HP ProLiant Servers. The latest move involves a "strategic investment" by HPE, although the exact amount has not been disclosed.
The enterprise storage market is diverging into latency-optimised and capacity-driven segments, according to HPE, and the Scality partnership is intended to boost the firm's market position in the capacity-driven segment.
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