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Meg Whitman brings a new style to IT

Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP at the Discover Conference in Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN – A reoccurring message at the HP Discover Conference has been “the new style of IT” phrase.

I first heard it in New York last October from a couple of HP executives in describing a new series of notebooks. At the show here in Barcelona I’ve heard in over and over again. It started with Bill Veghte, the executive vice president and GM of HP’s Enterprise Group. But it was followed up by other senior VPs such as David Scott, Tom Joyce, Herbert Kock, Dion Wiesler and George Kadifa.

During my interviews with Jeff Carlat, Doug Oathout, Paul Miller, Craig Nunes, and Martin Risau (all with HP) they too mentioned HP’s new style of IT several times. There was only one executive I interviewed who didn’t say “the new style of IT” and he was Simon Hayes of Citrix Systems.

There is a term used in the IT industry called “being on message” and as far as HP senior executive go: They get an A+ on that.

But what exactly is “the new style of IT?” Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP, during her keynote was too on-message and said “the new style of IT.” This is how she described this new catch phrase: “It’s our strategy.”

And, she has hit the road to tell more than 1,000 customers and channel partners about HP’s “new style of IT”.

“Everything comes back to our partnerships with customers and channel partners,” Whitman said in front of packed crowd at HP Discover.

The strategy tries to address the pace of change in IT. Whitman said that the marketplace is at an inflection point and it’s driven by trends such as cloud, security, big data and mobility. But there is a new wrinkle and it has nothing to do with technology. Customers are asking for technology to be delivered and paid for differently than before. The channel now has to be on the forefront on these new consumption models.

That’s the new style of IT. In reality its new style of business that is driving IT. This happens every 15 years or so like Web to Web services and mobile. I saw that while I was at Ebay,” Whitman said.

Some of the benefits of new consumption models such as subscription, pay-as-you-go, Opex, SaaS, and managed services with a monthly fee is that it lowers the cost, brings about agility and speed to market.

For a vendor such as HP, it means they can no longer take nine months to produce a version 2 of a product. Whitman said it now has to be released in weeks. “This heat is on,” she added.

By 2016 Whitman predicted that 75 per cent of IT environments will be in a private, managed or public cloud and data centres have to fit into that type of scale.

The style of IT is not just solely based on cloud computing from HP’s perspective. A large part of the strategy is built around sustainability, space costs and energy. Whitman added that service providers will need between eight to 10 million new servers in the next three years that would need about $20 billion investment from customers. If you stack all those data centres side by side it could span right across the city of Barcelona, she said.

Storage is another consideration for the new style of IT. Whitman said each day produces 200 million Tweets and it all goes in the cloud. “The escalating demand for storage is exploding in this new style of IT. With 3Par there is no other company tackling storage like we are,” she said.

And, that’s the point Whitman along with all the other senior HP executives are trying to make. There is a new style of IT because of the cloud and the new consumption models. The bet HP is making in this new style of IT is that they have the entire portfolio to lead the charge.