HPE claims its new services brand, PointNext, will offer its channel partners an alternative option to pitch against public cloud giants such as AWS.
As it prepares to complete the ‘spin merge' of its Enterprise Services arm with CSC, HPE has rebranded its remaining consulting and operational services activities under the PointNext banner.
"Very often we get questions from customers - ‘are you in services, or are they gone with the spin off of Enterprise Services'? We want to make a very bold statement that we are very, very strong in services" - Herbert Rastbichler, EMEA vice president of technology services support
Talking at a launch event in London, Marc Waters, HPE UK and Ireland managing director, stressed that PointNext "is not a large SI or outsourcer" and will instead take a "flexible" and "componentised" approach, focusing on areas such as digital transformation consulting and hybrid cloud.
It will often work with or behind channel partners, he added.
"I think we have a huge opportunity in the market for our traditional channel partners with the PointNext offering," he said.
"If you look at digital transformation and the two key pillars around making hybrid simple and powering the intelligent edge, what we are doing with our PointNext business is starting to curate solutions in those areas, quite often in the first instance working with customers in collaboration with our channel base."
PointNext generates a third of HPE's revenues and has 25,000 staff, with the UK being its second largest market.
HPE will use the new brand to attack traditional competitors such as Dell, which jettisoned its services activities last year.
"[Dell] have taken a different approach to their services agenda," said Mark Farrington, HPE's UK consulting practice director.
"They've spun out their services and focused on the product approach. We are doubling down on [services]. Perhaps it's a scale thing. A third of our revenues are related to services, and we've got extensive references we can apply to that."
A key differentiator for PointNext will be its flexible capacity services, which HPE says will tee up partners with an alternative option to public cloud vendors such as AWS. It is designed to enable customers to pay only for what they need in an on-premise environment, although it can also integrate in public cloud components including Azure.
HPE's clear message throughout the event was that public cloud isn't always the right option for customers. HP axed its own public cloud offering, Helion, in 2015 just over a year after launch.
"I cannot tell you their name, but last week one of our large clients [told us] they had analysed their largest seven workloads and six out of the seven they could operate cheaper on-premise than what the public cloud could offer them," said Herbert Rastbichler, EMEA vice president of technology services support.
Waters (pictured) added: "We believe hybrid will win. There are definitely workloads that work well in public cloud, particularly workloads that have short lifespans. It's a bit like hiring a car. When I go down to Cornwall, I fly to Newquay, hire a car there and use it for the weekend. It's really easy, but it would be a very expensive way to run my car full time. It's like that with workloads. The big trend in my opinion is consumption-based technology, either on premise, in a managed private cloud or public cloud, depending on the workload; we are seeing huge growth in that."
Waters added that HPE is seeing interest from outsourcing partners to use PointNext's capabilities to compete with the likes of AWS. "We have the ability to work with SIs and enable them to compete in a different way, against the competition," he said.
Although customers will dictate whether PointNext engages with them directly or through a partner, in the majority of scenarios PointNext will be a channel play, Farrington said.
He gave HPE's relationship with Computacenter - its largest UK reseller - as an example.
"There are three different motions with a partner such as Computacenter," said. "We could enable them and work with them in terms of the new technology HPE is bringing out. There are other environments where I partner with them and they have capabilities we don't and vice versa. But there are also examples where a client may want the vendor to own the design and deployment of a particular infrastructure, and Computacenter may see that as their traditional ground. We may supply equipment through them, but there may be some conflict from a services point of view. But in two of those three examples, we work closely with them."
Waters said the government's recently announced industrial strategy will be a boon for the kind of digital transformation services PointNext will specialise in, and predicted that Brexit could fuel even more DX activity.
"One example of that would be to think about borders," Waters said. "Once we've served Article 50 and been through that process, how do you get ready quickly in a two-year period? Digital transformation is a key component of that. There will be a huge number of projects that will need to be delivered and digitisation is going to be incredibly important in doing that."
Rastbichler said HPE had deliberately not rebranded its remaining services activities under a generic ‘services' banner because ‘PointNext' says something about the brand's raison d'etre, namely to give a point of view on what is coming next in technology,
He added: "Very often we get questions from customers - ‘are you in services, or are they gone with the spin off of Enterprise Services'? We want to make a very bold statement that we are very, very strong in services."
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