“With data it’s like in the ‘Hotel California’,” says Antonio Neri. “You know, that song from the Eagles. Once inside, you don’t get out so easily – whether you want to or not. ”Checking out, the band once sang, is possible at any time, there is no compulsion to stay. In practice, however, one can hardly escape the place. “If we then look at the IT industry with all the data centers, data clouds and data services, we see a lot in common here.” Why?
The CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has the answers ready: data is a valuable asset, but the technologies that surround it are complicated. There are many different systems on the market. Switching from one to the other is difficult and expensive.
Neri wants to change that. “We have developed technologies with which tried and tested IT tools and software can be brought into the new era.” You can jump from cloud to cloud without losing your data. HPE not only offers virtual services for this, the group also has tangible products on offer: computer systems, network and storage systems.
Neri is sitting in his office near San Francisco in a yellow T-shirt. He talks about data clouds and edge computing, digital platforms and software, about the consequences of the corona pandemic and the economic crisis. The sun is blinking through the blinds behind him, the computer is in front of him. A new morning in the Bay Area – the cradle of the IT industry.
“The market is growing,” he says. He wants to cut off a thicker piece of it again. The IT industry is one of the largest industries in the world. It makes $ 4,500 billion a year. Ascending trend. “In times like these, IT not only keeps the economy going, it also keeps society together,” says Neri. Offers like Zoom connect everyone with everyone else, streaming services like Netflix are booming, and Internet retailers are growing in sales. And HPE?
The price of the HPE share has been under pressure on the stock exchange since the outbreak of the pandemic. The market value is barely twelve billion dollars, the price of the share is nine times the profit. Microsoft and Apple are sparking more imagination among investors. Why? “2020 is not like any other year,” says Neri, counting the following: China crisis, Corona, fires on the west coast, storms in the east and south, social unrest across the country.
“It’s like we’re in a trial, some sort of probation. We have to rethink many things. “Think different? Neri laughs. This saying was the slogan with which Apple once heralded its resurgence. In all crises and emergencies, one thing is clear, according to Neris: the world is changing rapidly and is becoming more digital. “Digitization is the imperative of our day.” Covid is like a catalyst. “You can find that good or bad, but not negate it.” Corona ensures distance, technology for virtual closeness.
Much of what has proven itself over the past few months has been there long before the crisis. HP had a video conferencing system 15 years ago. Hardly anyone wanted it back then. That is different now. The increasing demand for IT around the world is causing the mountain of data to grow. Today four billion people are online. Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. 156 million e-mails go on the move every minute. 95 million photos are shared on the Instagram picture platform every day. And the Internet of Things is yet to come.