HPE’s array of hybrid workplace offerings provides silver lining for customers amid the pandemic

HPE bundles its existing portfolio in a GreenLake wrapper

When CEO Antonio Neri initially announced in June 2019 that HPE (NYSE: HPE) will offer everything “as a Service” by 2022, many were skeptical that the plan would resonate with the market as a whole. It was clear that pockets of customers would buy into this offer, particularly in the SMB space, where pricing can have a greater impact. But for major customers, the conversation often boiled down to something as trivial as where to put the expense on the balance sheet for stakeholders. However, considering the changing market dynamics over the last six months due to the pandemic, this aggressive marketing campaign could not have come at a better time. Because HPE has been pushing GreenLake hard since 2019, the vendor is now serendipitously ahead of peers on its “as a Service” offerings.

HPE’s “as a Service” push is directly related to increases in IT sprawl. “Sprawl” is a concept the IT industry has grappled with for decades. Prior to distributed IT environments, the term was used to describe the increase in the variety of workloads in each environment. Now, it is used when describing a single-pane-of-glass management console to ease the burden placed on IT personnel when managing a diverse environment of IT infrastructure. Sprawl is now the upshot of the increasingly diverse application of technology to business, or digital transformation. Diverse applications lead to diverse IT requirements, from the edge to the core to the cloud, making cloud an integral piece of the story and establishing the importance of bundled solutions that provide business outcomes, which is precisely what GreenLake can provide.

GreenLake does come at a premium, as software and services are baked into hardware deals consumed through this model in many cases, but pricing it as a monthly subscription makes these solutions more available and affordable to firms with less capital support. HPE GreenLake clearly resonates with customers, as key competitors Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) and Lenovo both formalized their own consumption-based pricing offerings after GreenLake began to gain traction, although Dell Technologies did have informal offerings emerge around the same time as GreenLake initially. With COVID-19, the edge becomes increasingly more important as organizations deploy new workloads in their factories, office spaces and retail locations to ensure public safety while returning to work.

HPE’s workplace portfolio of solutions is attractive for several reasons. HPE’s existing infrastructure portfolio is augmented by HPE Aruba’s connectivity engine and associated services through HPE Pointnext Services, which combines expertise across workplace networking and IoT. The combined offering is then layered with GreenLake and sold as a use-case-based package to end customers, the primary benefits being the efficiencies gained in conjunction with the fact that the solutions are positioned and sold as business outcomes. Essentially, HPE takes care of the grunt work normally weighing down the end user but offers increased manageability and increased control at a reduced effort through GreenLake, leveraging the existing expertise within its organization to reimagine how the world of knowledge-based employees works and what is necessary to make it operate seamlessly in a hybrid model.

IT vendors are poised to solve the challenges that have arisen in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is a prime example of a vendor that, in response to the pandemic, is addressing previously unforeseen challenges by formalizing offerings pertaining to the workplace. Hybrid working was a pre-existing trend that COVID-19 has accelerated. However, for those individuals working in a knowledge-based field or with school-aged children, how they work and learn has fundamentally and permanently shifted. Further, people with non-knowledge-based jobs, many of whom lost work due to COVID-19, will find in-person work again, and these jobs will also see a fundamental shift in how they are performed to ensure safety and productivity. HPE’s announcements today at Workplace Next highlight how the company’s portfolio can be leveraged to ease customers’ COVID-19 mandated digital transformations.

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