Aruba's Orr Talks About a Mobile-First World
Businesses for the most part get what's happening and the need to transition how they operate in a more mobile world, he said. About 20 to 30 percent of enterprises still need help in seeing the changes that need to happen. Most get that the transition isn't easy and are working with vendors like Aruba and HPE to make it happen. "Everybody understands it, but it's somewhat messy," Orr said. The mobile-first mindset also is starting to take hold in HPE, according to Orr and other executives, including Whitman. Dominic Wilde, vice president of global product line management at Aruba, came to HPE in 2009 when the company bought networking vendor 3Com in 2009. Over the years the company built up its wireless business, but found that as the business world became more mobile, it wasn't addressing all the areas it needed to, such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and some security segments. "We had decent WiFi solutions and decent products that addressed connectivity, but not mobility," Wilde told eWEEK. "We needed to find the wireless leader, and that was easy. IT was Aruba."It's also a key differentiator when talking about Cisco, Orr said. HPE bought Aruba with the idea that the combination would give HPE a more complete networking portfolio to better compete with Cisco. That's worked, Orr said. When Cisco talks about wireless, the company starts at the switch and works outward, with the focus on connectivity. However, Aruba and HPE start at the device and work their way back. They're addressing the mobility aspect of the equation, he said. Looking ahead, one area Orr said he wants to give more effort to is SMBs. Aruba and HPE have the midmarket and larger enterprises well-covered, he said. Both companies have strong channel partners, which will help with the smaller companies, which typically do not have large IT staffs but have similar needs to their larger brethren. Orr believes SMBs offer a $500 million opportunity, and he is hoping to move in that direction this year.
Now Orr is integrating the mobile-first message into HPE's entire networking business, part of the reverse integration that is happening at the company. The mobile network is at the forefront of what HPE is doing, though the wired side continues to play an important role.