We had a series of blogger discussions throughout HP Discover with a range of the HP Management team, this covered everything from background and product information covering their storage announcement (putting the context behind the announcement) as well as their offerings in cloud, information analytics, networking and Big Data.
The talks were informative, unscripted and free flowing to allow active dialogue and discussion covering a range of topics and issues, as ever I tended to sit back and participate or reboot the conversations as necessary. I continue to live with one foot in the here and now, with the other looking admiringly at what could be achieved were the barriers to be removed and technologies such as cloud and application virtualization to be adopted, what interests me is not so much the technical aspects, the ‘IT needs to get out of the way’ debates which I know some analysts/bloggers have, it’s more about business empowerment and creating opportunity. How these new technologies can: empower current and next generation entrepreneurs, expanding enterprise grade features to customers that might not have previously had access too.
Let us remove the barriers technical and non technical, this means the vendor becoming not only my ‘IT guy’ – you want backups fine you’ll need one of these and this service, but also my advisor, my partner and broker, oh you supply bolts, we work with this steel company, would you like an introduction. Good communication, good community, and good business. Why can I not buy my laptop from HP or Dell, then pay the $15 a month to have ‘my documents’ backed up, and a guy once a year to visit, clear your temp files, run a defrag and give it a clean. Whilst you’re there it’s $15 a month to maintain it, how much is it to upgrade my MacBook Air to one of those nice looking MacBook Pro’s? Can I pay an extra $15 for HP to give me a web site? You know one of those wordpress things with a domain name, a flickr account with my company name? Oh and can you do my credit card processing, a the moment my bank charge me $45 a month, what can they do? The hardware needs to become the vehicle and opener to your portfolio of services and solutions to which the customer can subscribe – you’re a laptop user press here to sign up for backup online, anti virus, systems management, to applications down a wire – need Office/Project/Visio/AutoCad – pay on use?
The debate about IT vs cloud, physical vs virtual, where HP/Dell or any other vendor is in terms of cloud and services could be seen as detail. Customers will focus on what/how technology can be used to deliver value to their business, do they care the platform, I’m not so sure, the price? I’m equally not so sure, and this is key. As a customer I’m making the purchase more on the basis of ‘what is good enough at a price point’, industrial grade is fine if someone else is paying. This is the ultimate problem internal IT faces, it has to meet your industrial strength security, reliability and scalability guidelines, the outside world does not. the outside world makes you sign the form, delivers a service to a predefined SLA and does not deliver on demnd unless you’re paying.