The Management Crisis Is Over

HP Discover is taking place in Vienna, Austria this week and the number of visitors has exceeded expectations significantly. With 7,000 participants, this event is the biggest European exhibition HP has ever put on. It is also the first European appearance of HP’s new CEO Meg Whitman.

At first glance, it doesn’t look much different than other years: infrastructure, software, services, and accompanying solutions still make up HP’s business model. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that many at the conference are interested in another important topic as well.

They want to be reassured that HP is still the company they know. In other words, they want to hear that all is well, despite the change in management that occurred when Léo Apotheker, former SAP CEO, vacated the top position at HP after less than a year.

Management crisis? No more!

At the event, Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and now CEO of HP, got straight to the point: “I say to you quite openly: I’ve been at HP for eight weeks now, and there’s one thing I’d like to do – get the HP drama out of the headlines.”

Whitman would like to shift the emphasis back to HP’s products and solutions – which she described as “world class” – and leave the confusion of the past behind. “HP is a very successful company. In every business area in which we compete, we’re the number one or the number two in the world. And that’s what matters.” An unequivocal message to the market and competitors.

HP will stop the navel-gazing and will continue to work on its customers’ success, Whitman stated. The starting point for this will remain the hardware and infrastructure business. “As the world’s biggest provider of IT infrastructure, we play a role in everything that happens in information technology. That’s our core, and that’s what we’ll build on,” she said. Software that expands this core, plus the associated services and solutions to add value to the core, complete the business model.

Customers throughout the world profit from HP’s products and services, said Whitman, and there are many good stories. “But the most important stories are the ones we can write together with you, our customers and partners,” she added. When she was CEO of eBay, she was an HP customer and is therefore highly familiar with the customer side, including the areas where there is room for improvement. “Despite our size and structure, we need to get better at working together as one team and at presenting ourselves as such to the outside world,” Whitman admitted. “We want to provide products and services that delight and inspire you.”

Franck Cohen, President SAP EMEA
Franck Cohen, President SAP EMEA (photo: Christoph Zeidler)
SAP-Stand auf der Hausmesse HP Discover (Foto: Christoph Zeilder)
Getting ready to start the day: early morning at the SAP stand at HPDiscover (photo: Christoph Zeidler)

SAP and HP: reliable partners

Added value was also central to Franck Cohen’s message at the event in Austria. Cohen, SAP’s president of the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (EMEA) region, presented the company’s current strategy, with which most readers are sure to be familiar: On-premise applications will remain SAP’s core business, but at the same time, the company plans to expand the areas of on-demand (cloud/SaaS), on-device (mobility), and SAP HANA, SAP’s new main in-memory database system.

“Just like HP, we’re launching innovations onto the market even faster; and together, we’re taking IT – and therefore also business – a big step forward,” Cohen explained. He called HP an important and reliable partner, for example in the area of SAP HANA, for which it provides hardware and servers.

“We believe that in-memory technology is a quantum leap, the likes of which our industry hasn’t witnessed for a long time,” he added. He explained that data management and analysis in real time has led to more than 200 decisions to buy SAP HANA this year. Among them is the Austrian company Red Bull, whose short video about its successful SAP HANA project was shown – much to the joy of the locals.

SAP at the event

SAP gives event-goers a deeper insight into SAP HANA and in-memory technology at its own stand as well as in the demos and breakout sessions that form part of the agenda. The topic of application lifecycle management, which plays a big role at HP and has its own business area there, is especially interesting for HP customers. But participants can also visit the SAP stand to find out about SAP’s mobile strategy and new mobile solutions, plus the on-demand portfolio. HP Discover 2011 runs until Thursday.

Use the hashtag #HPDiscover to get up-to-the-minute tweets from the event in Vienna, and also about the SAP program there. Follow @HPDiscover and @sapinfo/@sapinfo_de to stay informed.

Messe Wien
The convention center in Vienna, Austria (photo: Christoph Zeidler)