Touching base with HPE's MD for EMEA

ACN sits down with HPE’s Andy Isherwood to share details on the company’s global strategy and plans for the Middle East region

Tags: Cloud computingData analyticsHPE Enterprise ( Arab Emirates
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Touching base with HPE's MD for EMEA Andy Isherwood, managing director of EMEA, HPE.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  June 14, 2017

ACN: Can you share some insights on HPE’s current strategy for the 2017 year?

AS: Our new strategy is focused on three things. The first thing is making hybrid IT simple, using an underpinning of software-defined everything. We believe the world will be hybrid and that is why we are betting on it.

Secondly, the power, we will power, will build out the intelligent edge. As everything moves from a centralised model, to needing the compute power, analytics, and understanding, right at the edge, we believe that is where the opportunity exists for our clients to realise the vision of their new world in the digital space.

Whether they are a bank, retailer, or a technology company, etc. More and more activity will move to the edge and that will propel us into a leading position within the IoT space.

Then the third thing that we clearly going to be famous for and build out is our services organisation, which is a significant business. It is roughly 25,000 people and really focused on advising and transforming around the first two key things that I talked about.

And then also providing the consulting and integration services, as well as running the client’s data centres or hybrid environment.

ACN: What do you see will be the chief challenges of the Middle East market over 2017 and what is HPE doing to meet those challenges?

AS: Since being in the region the impact of the oil price continues to be an underpinning challenge across the Middle East, and I do see this continuing into 2017 and beyond. The good news is that many of the countries in Middle East are accepting the new way of life with lower oil price, and diversifying to generate new streams of income for the governments.

Further, the speed of change that is being caused by the digital disruption or the fourth industrial revolution could also be an inhibitor to success as companies RFP process can be cumbersome, slow and may not actually deliver the change that is needed to move forward.

HPE is focused on supporting our customers through for instance, our Flexible Capacity solution which allows the customer to consume IT, or compute, storage, networking and technical support, as a service like electricity. The customer pays for what they use and when they need more compute, they can request more. HPE can actually help them predict when they may need more capacity and have that available for them.

ACN: Over the last couple of years, HPE has been closely working with Dubai on the Dubai Smart City initiative. Can you shed some light on the nature of the collaboration and what accomplishments have been achieved thus far?

AS: HPE has been partnering with Dubai in providing the platform for Dubai Smart Government (DSG). We are building a platform that allows DSG to consolidate data from different government entities and develop smart services by correlating the information in exciting new ways. We see this project at the forefront of the digital journey that will eventually advance the human experience globally.

ACN: How do you see this collaboration continuing to grow, moving forward?

AS: We see expansion of the platform as the city grows and the service offerings continue.  For example bringing together government entities, citizen data and business context to drive new experiences for the citizens. Ultimately, the Dubai Smart City platform is at the core of the ‘Happy Citizen’ goal and HPE are incredibly proud to be involved in this initiative.

ACN: How would rate the level of prospective IT Talent here in the Middle East Region? Is it lacking when compared to other more mature markets?

AS: I would say certainly in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia, I’ve seen technical innovation and IT start-up innovation, definitely sprouting through. There are three of four initiatives in Saudi Arabia, as part of the national transformation plan, and certainly some in the UAE that I think have been really pushing hard for technical innovation over the last couple of years.

Is it ahead or behind? I think there is huge potential here. Especially in Saudi as the broad community becomes more aware of technology and the capabilities of technology that we have a sort of whole new generation of innovators just waking up to possibilities. I think the Saudi transformation journey will really accelerate this process. Faster than what the rest of the world did naturally. I expect over the next 10 years, the Middle East will become a hotbed of innovation.

ACN: What IT trends do you see coming to the fore as we move closer to 2020?

AS: In terms of continuing trends I expect to see further focus on Internet-of-Things (IoT) or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), where Operational devices and Internet devices come closer together. We will see even more devices connecting and that data being collated, not back in the data centre, or in the cloud as the internet bandwidth requirement would be huge, but at the edge of the data centre, in the factory, on the oil rig, in the car. There will be a mini data centre there, processing all the information and feeding back the results from the data, rather than the data itself. HPE are partnering with GE Digital in this space together, bringing unique value to the Industrial IoT and we see the opportunities as unlimited.

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