Software Managers Seeing a Seamless Refresh at Divided HP
"This transition has been incredibly well-planned. It has become a different way of operating; what has been increasing is the collaboration across the teams. It's massively better now that we have the enterprise focus. I think it has a lot to do with Meg (Whitman, the CEO). Meg is leading from the top; she's not forcing collaboration—she's encouraging it with a smile. "We're solving problems across business levels like we've never done before." "It's (the separation) almost a nonevent," said Randy Cairns, head of communications for HP Software and Enterprise Services. "We're already running in that mode. It's really true." Transition Was 'Seamless'But how are they doing this on a daily, routine basis? It's one thing for the CEO to set the tone, to be the lead example, and for managers to take some classes, but when people get down to work, what's changed? "I'll give you an example," Ritthaler said. "Transformation to a hybrid (IT system and cloud model) is one of our four core solution areas. Instead of it being a collection of 'stuff,' which might have been the way we would have done it before because we had a lot of different divisions, we actually pulled together a strategy two to three quarters ago around [hybrid]; not just a technical strategy about how we want to build things across the R&D labs, but a go-to-market-led strategy that said, 'How do we effectively talk to customers? How do we leverage a channel?' "Then we worked from that back into what we need to go make in terms of solutions. It was all of us in the room together. When we look at what we're building, it's a collaborative effort." It's now also a lot easier to share technology, Ritthaler, a former Dell and IBM executive who's been with HP for two years, said. "We're making it dead simple to share the common components we all need to build these solutions," he said. Smaller Staffs Make It All Easier Simply having fewer people to deal with counts for a lot. "It's noticeably smaller, even on the corporate side, where we have all those shared resources," said Maria Bledsoe, senior manager of product marketing for Enterprise Security. "It's much more contained and much more focused now." "Even things like functions, like global marketing; remember, global marketing [previously] had an enterprise group, then we had the PC Personal Systems Group, a software group ... now the Enterprise Group and the software group are together," said Genefa Murphy, vice president of product and partner marketing for Application Delivery Management. Overall, the separation process is pretty much old news among the employees at HPE. With the refresh of the company, there appear to be more than a few rays of hope among the foot soldiers in the field. The open question, of course, is this: Over the long term, how will partners, customers, investors and even other HP employees really believe this will all work out? Skeptics are always going to be there, especially in the investor community. It's hard to get everybody thinking in the same direction. Even if some managers see this as a positive move, the breakup is still a gamble. But when eggs are broken, value comes forth. The gamble is that two smaller and more agile companies will bring new value to a very fast-moving technology marketplace.
Ritthaler said the internal separation project, dubbed IT Apart, "was almost seamless. It's an amazing story. The way they planned it out in traditional planning charts, it used to take years. It ended up taking weeks," Ritthaler said. "We were all brought to Atlanta a year ago to make sure we knew how to coach our people, what to expect and how we're going to work differently, and it's all paying off. I'm really bullish about it."