HP's Bill Veghte on managing complexity amid converging IT 'inflection points'

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast, an interview with Bill Veghte, Executive Vice President of the HP Software & Solutions group, conducted by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

The one-on-one discussion comes to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Washington D.C. We're here the week of June 14, 2010, to explore some major enterprise software and solutions trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.

Here are some excerpts:

Veghte: I spend a lot of time out there with CIOs and IT professionals, and we're at two remarkable inflection points in our industry.

The first is in terms of how businesses are delivering IT, and that's on three dimensions. The first is virtualization. There's a lot of not only conversation, but moving workloads of application services to a virtualized environment. Look at the numbers. People say that over 25 percent of x86 server workloads are now virtualized, and that number looks like it's going to accelerate over the next couple of years.

Correspondingly, there's a heck of a lot of conversation around cloud. People wrap a lot up in that word, but many of the customers tell me they think of it as just another way of delivering experiences to their end-customers. And, in cloud there's platform, applications, and private versus public, but it's another choice point for CIOs and IT folks.

The final piece in terms of IT delivery is that there are a heck of a lot of mobile devices, over a billion mobile devices, accessing the Internet. With the advent of smartphones, a very rich viewing and consuming medium, people expect to have that information.

Those things are incredible tools and opportunities, whether you characterize it in a balance sheet, and moving from capital expenditure to operating expense, or whether you characterize it in anytime/anywhere information on your mobile device. But with that, it does bring more choice points and more complexity.

Breadth and depth

The other inflection point that I'd highlight, Dana, is the breadth and depth of data that’s being generated. You and I both know that digital information is doubling globally every 12 to 18 months. In the midst of all the digital photos or whatever, sometimes people lose track of the fact that 85 percent of that data resides in businesses. And the fastest growing part of that is in unstructured data.

Now, the most precious resource is your ability to take that data and translate it into actionable information. The companies and businesses that are able to do that have a real competitive advantage.

You can put that in the context of a specific business operation. If you're a pharmaceutical, how quickly can you bring a drug to market? You can characterize that in a financial services organization. Do you have better, quicker data and market movements?

You can characterize it in an IT . There's an enormous amount of IT information and data, but how do I parse it out to the things that are going to represent a service desk ticket, and can I automate that so I am not putting people in the middle?

When I think about it in a historic context, I'd highlight a couple of things. One is that we're going through the biggest change in IT delivery since client-server, because of the three delivery vehicle changes that I highlighted. That, in turn, is going to generate a very significant refresh in applications and services.

Given the complexity that I just characterized, there's a real opportunity to bring more of a portfolio approach to delivering those solutions to customers.



You don't have the time deadline in the same way that we did with Y2K, but the CIOs and IT and apps folks that I know, as the economy is recovering, are looking at their application and service portfolios and saying, "How am I going to refresh this to take advantage of these new and different delivery vehicles?"

... As I looked across the marketplace and at this inflection point, there are a couple of things that attracted me to HP. One, I think HP is uniquely positioned in the marketplace, because it has a great portfolio as a company, across not only services, but also hardware and software.

On the software side, there is a remarkable portfolio of assets within HP, across application development and quality to the operations side. Yet, given the complexity that I just characterized, there's a real opportunity to bring more of a portfolio approach to delivering those solutions to customers.

Doing remarkable things

The final piece that I would highlight is that I worked for many years with HP as a partner. Whether it be Todd Bradley, who I worked with around the Windows business, or Mark [Hurd], as the executive sponsor for the HP Partnership, when I was on the Microsoft side, they're a great group of people doing some remarkable things.

If you look at what that executive leadership team has done over the last couple of years with and for HP customers, it’s exciting to think what we can do over the next five or six years.

... It's been a great Software Universe for us. Compared with years past, there is a degree of energy and optimism in customers that's very invigorating. I've been in back-to-back meetings. You walk in, and they are excited about the innovations that we're bringing into market.

We've had a variety of very exciting announcements, such as Business Service Management 9.0. Some of the announcements were around the ability to automate how you take a production environment and apply it into a text script.

I think that they're constructively challenging us to make sure that we have a set of tools that are effectively scaling into the most complex operating environments in IT in the world.



The areas that customers are highlighting are: "You've got a great portfolio. You're heading in the right direction. Keep that pedal down. Take advantage of the fact that you've got not only fantastic best-of-breed capabilities in individual areas, but that you've got this breadth of offerings. I'm going to evaluate you against my entire solution set."

It starts with the strategy. In fact, there was a great customer meeting this morning. The customer said, "Look, I use you in a bunch of different ways, and I think you've got a great product. Now, what I need you to do is step up and make sure that from strategy, to application, to operation you're delivering that cohesion for me. I see good steps, but I want to see you keep doing it."

I think that they're constructively challenging us to make sure that we have a set of tools that are effectively scaling into the most complex operating environments in IT in the world, and making sure that, as the additional complexity in delivery vehicles that I just highlighted come online, that we continue to make sure that we are scaling effectively to deliver for the customers.

Real-time dynamic view of IT

For example, at Software Universe 2010, in the Business Service Management case we announced, not only will we be providing a near real-time dynamic view of IT, but we are doing it across virtualized and cloud implementations. I just came from the session, where we were demoing to 3,500 people the ability to display that information on a smartphone across a variety of platforms -- from BlackBerry to iPhone to a Sprint device.

... Think about the fact that the role of IT continues to evolve. First, as an IT organization, I have more choices in terms of how I am delivering my application service for and with business. I increasingly become a service broker, because I'm looking across my applications and services and deciding with the business what’s the most cost effective and best way of delivering those experiences for the businesses.

Second is, and we've talked about this as an industry for a long time, the continuing blending of business and IT. A customer from a Fortune 5 company was in a meeting with me earlier this week. He's been in the industry for 25 years, a very sharp guy, and in a deep partnership with HP.

He said that this year there are more people from business operations coming to Software Universe than there are from IT operations. He said, the reality is that whether you talk about it in the context of PPM or application and service requirements, those two functions are intermingling. Given the software footprint and portfolio we have, it’s a wonderful opportunity, but that continues to accelerate.

The final piece that I would highlight is not a change, but a continuity. Even as IT has a broader set of choices, and the relationship with the businesses continue to intertwine more and more, they're not off the hook, when it comes to security or compliance or the availability and performance of the solutions that they are responsible for supporting and delivering for the business. So, it’s important to factor that even as we look ahead.

This has been illustrated time and time again. The most successful businesses have figured out how to constructively apply IT to run a business.



The most successful businesses have figured out how to constructively apply IT to run a business.

IT tools are at such a maturity and the experiences of IT with the customer experience are so intermingled. The CIO at Delta Air Lines was talking yesterday about her utilization of HP technologies and some of the remarkable projects that she's been through. You listen to that talk and you realize that the reservation system, the way I check in, and my experience with Delta Air Lines is commingled with what you and I would characterize as the IT experience.

It was a remarkable story about that interrelationship with the business, as they were not only dealing with the broad adversity of the business climate, but also were trying to merge with Northwest Airlines.

... IT means many different things to many people. The thing I would highlight is that IT has the ability to continue to outsource a variety of baseline capabilities. With that outsourcing capability, as an industry, IT providers, are going to be able to provide more and more. And that gives IT the ability to move up the stack in terms of higher value-add applications and services, and then the business runs through and with IT.

... The intersection between [business and IT] -- and the resulting customer experience -- continues to accelerate. We look forward, as part of HP Software & Solutions, to playing a great role in helping customers deliver those solutions and those experiences.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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About the Author
Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Ga...


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