High Tech, Low Cost

HP targets enterprise, consumer markets.

Peter Blackmore is tasked with building up Hewlett-Packard Co.s Enterprise Systems Group, a high-profile segment of the Palo Alto, Calif., company that for many will define how HP is perceived by large enterprises. At its HP World conference in Atlanta this month, Blackmore talked with eWEEK Editor in Chief Eric Lundquist and Senior Editor Jeffrey Burt about HPs commercial and consumer businesses, and about HP customers push for a strong return on their IT dollars.

HP is a broad company now—from consumer electronics to servers. How is that an advantage, and is it a disadvantage?

Given the scope of the company, its not really an issue. Its [a] $75 billion [company]. Its not like your resources are stretched, and we see it as very complementary. Were probably unique in the industry, with having a strong enterprise go-to-market and R&D and a strong consumer [business].

What does the consumer side provide the enterprise that IBM or Dell [Inc.] doesnt?

It helps us in that ... it drives a lot of revenue and profit. When you talk to a large- enterprise customer, often youre not just selling to them; the discussion is how you can work together in the market. Therefore, theyre very captivated and intrigued by the fact that we can offer a go-to-market potential to [small and midsize businesses], a go-to-market potential to enterprise customers and also to consumer customers. So if you talk to a telephone company ... or a bank about the consumer marketing as well as the corporate marketing, it gives you huge depth, so there is a lot of leverage because people look to HP as such a huge and capable organization.

Is there a technology advantage?

There are technology advantages because I think if you take the clients, the consumers are early adopters, more so than corporates, because corporates will have a standard and theyll want to ensure discipline and they dont want lots of people to raise the cost of the implementation by having nonstandard environments. The consumer ... will go out and get what they want.

How is HPs high-tech, low-cost, total customer experience equation different from what the customer expected in the past?

There has always been a lot of R&D in the computer industry, but has it always added value? No. And I think the margin model protected that. What has happened is the customer matured and the industry matured. Theres got to be a core return on IT, and theres got to be a core value-add. The concept we have is, technology is still important. If everyone did what Dell does, the industry wouldnt move forward very fast because theres no R&D, so R&D is absolutely essential to the industry.