In late August, 2013, Hewlett Packard (HP) held its (hopefully again) annual analyst event for Asia Pacific and Japan analysts in Singapore. As with the Worldwide analyst summit in March, 2013 event attended by capioIT (see http://wp.me/p15cZf-6B) despite valid concerns, expectations of HP were high.
At the March event I highlighted the following key outcomes:
- HP has not lost the ability to have good people and good leadership. It has lacked investment and execution.
- HP customers are typically very loyal and sticky to the organization and employees.
- The industry needs and wants a strong HP
At the Asia Pacific event these three factors were also relevant and highlight what HP can do well. This was backed up with strong customer experiences. Despite all the internal and market issues that impact HP it has still maintained the ability to usually deliver contracted services outcomes for clients. This was highlighted for clients across the region including:
- Gome – China
- Ministry of Social Development – New Zealand
- VFS Global Services – India
HP presented several key initiatives at the event. It is worth focusing on four key takeaways for the region:
The most strategically important for the Asia Pacific and Japan region was the announcement that Chairman Mao is back in charge of China. To clarify, Robert Mao (ex CEO 3com) has been announced as the chairman of HP in China, reporting direct to CEO and Chairman, Meg Whitman. (One presumes that the previous Chairman Mao still resides in his own mausoleum in Beijing). This increased executive focus on China strongly reflects the importance of China to HP from manufacturing, supply chain as well as customer engagements and global delivery. It is going to be important to track material benefits to HP of this investment. We expect that investment will be announced in China that has the opportunity differentiate it from the legacy global competition.
For a legacy IT provider HP has made a reasonable start to the development of integrated cloud capability. This was highlighted at the event across the gamut of HP enterprise solutions and services. It has been smart to provide flexibility to enable customers to enter and exit HP cloud offerings at a variety of points and do so with a standard architecture. This is a strong capability.
The two analytics platforms of HP, Vertica for structured data and Autonomy for unstructured data have been part of HP now for approximately two years. HP rightly lost a lot of credibility with the price paid, and due diligence undertaken for the Autonomy (although in general the strategy was sound) acquisition. As a result of this it has taken a longer period than normal to identify and articulate value for HP customers and partners. The launch recently of HAVEn, the HP big data platform in theory could be revolutionary. The reality is still a little way off and will require sublime execution from the HP software group. Not surprisingly there is some caution in that statement.
It is clear that HP and SAP are closer in mid-2013 than they have been for several years. This has resulted in joint investment decisions by both parties. In the APJ region this is currently most mature in ASEAN and ANZ. This relative closeness needs to be considered in light of the fact that the relationship between SAP and IBM has become increasingly testy, HP has effectively looked to fill the oxygen that this created. Two years ago HP was not in a position to do this, so there is some definitive positive directions there.
There was of course a lot of other key areas covered, including partner engagement and management (some cause for guarded optimism), investment in security, data centres and of course enterprise mobility. Regionally investments are strong in ASEAN, Australia, Japan and other markets. Perhaps India has come off the heat slightly, but this is not a surprise. The comparative disappointment of Indian market growth is clear for all.
One surprise was that HP is now more confident in providing outcomes based pricing for clients. This is actually a core regional trendegion. (see http://wp.me/p15cZf-8G) It has been a long time coming for HP. It is no coincidence that the confidence in outcomes based pricing has aligned with renewed focus on the BPO offerings of HP being reinvigorated both in APJ and globally.
Clearly the overall positive steps highlighted have to be taken in context. Revenue is still tough (even if APJ is outperforming the total organization). The hardware business is struggling across the board and the potential of Moonshot is not enough to douse the challenges faced in hardware and personal devices. Services wise, the business is still too reliant upon the Australian and New Zealand markets,
As an aside, from an analyst relations point of view, it is worth noting a couple of aspects of the event that HP executed successfully, albeit not surprisingly given its experience.
- Time keeping – The event ran to a Shinkansen schedule. This is always the best outcome
- Content was available for downloading in real time. We did not have to wait until a week later
- Organisation was excellent with great use of social media to monitor analyst sentiment during the event
Bottom line – HP still has a number of challenges. It should be largely bottoming out from a revenue and business perspective. This has not stopped it delivering to customer expectations which is a key long term strength of HP. Innovation and investment in the Asia Pacific and Japan region is real and clear which should drive growth as global economies recover, providing HP regains its Mojo.
If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, Founder capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology in emerging markets. Phil may be contacted by email below,