In an interaction with Mint, Chris Ogburn, Vice President, Worldwide Geography Marketing at enterprise technology company HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) who was in Mumbai to address the company’s Discover More event, spoke about the importance of the India as a market for HPE, the next big opportunity in enterprise technology services and how the company’s latest marketing campaign has clicked with customers. Edited excerpts.
Q: How important is the Indian market for HPE? What are the challenges that you see here in building out your business?
Ogburn: It is very strategically important to us. It is the sixth largest country for us in the world in terms of our business. We only do media investments and brand investments in six countries around the world, and India is one of them, so it is a very strategic country to us and to our business. While it is interesting that you have a wave of these companies which are digital in nature right from the beginning, you still have some old line companies that have not moved quickly enough and that’s where we are trying to apply our efforts.
Q: You mentioned that the ‘edge’ is the next big opportunity for companies like HPE. How big is that opportunity?
Ogburn: Of the data that is generated at the edge, 94% is either untapped or lost, simply because the challenge that we have is we can only accommodate, through our people, our time, our technology, capturing only so much data at the edge. That will get better over time, but today we use only 6%.
Q: Why do you think that HPE is better poised than competitors to exploit this opportunity better?
Ogburn: The reason we feel that we have got an advantage from technology perspective at the edge is twofold. One is we made an acquisition several years ago of a company called Aruba. So Aruba has extreme capability at the edge, in fact that is where they are majority deployed today. A lot of the IP (intellectual property) in the Aruba portfolio and some of the acquisitions that we made and tucked it underneath that drive security, they drive compliance. This helps you from the edge perspective, to manage and drive your business to deliver great experience.
The second solution that we have is Edgeline. We see compute moving closer to the edge and the reason we is a lot of decisions have to be made instantaneously. If you are on a factory floor, on a autonomous vehicle or an airplane, where you don’t have the luxury of the latency that will be required to take that data, send it back to the cloud or a data centre and then wait for that to come back. So we have developed this technology, which puts the cloud at the edge with compute and that’s our Edgeline solution. It is ruggedized and it is able to withstand harsh environment. Some of the software and the IP that we have is unique. We can do things that other people cannot.
Q: Last year the company said that it will invest $4 billion over the next four years in edge technologies. How will we see that capital being employed and what does that mean for the future of the services and solutions that HPE offers?
Ogburn: We will invest in M&A. We will find tuck-in solutions to put into that business and we will also invest in R&D. You will find us looking to build more solutions at the edge that leverage the Aruba technology, but also building compute and storage at the edge because the amount and the scale of data that is being created will be far significant than what people are expecting it to be today. So the ability to manage that, store that, protect that, analyze it and act on it- is what we want to help clients do. You will see us do a combination of those things – driving compute and storage closer to the edge and driving more IP from a software perspective.
Q: You have been running an eye catching marketing campaign ‘Fear No Cloud’. How has that worked out for you?
Ogburn: This to me is my most favourite campaign that we have run in the past few years, it is the one which has got the strongest response. The ‘Fear No Cloud’ campaign resonates with people because that’s the challenge they have. Many customers are still trying to determine where they best deploy their applications and their workloads and where their data resides and how much of that is private cloud and how much of that is public cloud.