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HPE Pointnext: A Global Leader You Can Trust for Your Network Transformation

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IDC has released a new report, its IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Network Consulting Services 2017 Vendor Assessment, and it shows HPE right where you would expect us to be – up in the Leaders segment. The report’s author, Leslie Rosenberg, notes that “HPE Pointnext demonstrates its strength in helping customers develop new growth strategies and revenue streams, maximizing their network investments as well as increasing their business agility.” There’s also a quote from a global banking client: “HPE provided operational stability and cost reduction, while increasing flexibility.” Thanks IDC, we appreciate your assessment! (And it’s nice trophy to set next to IDC’s recognition of HPE as a Leader in datacenter transformation consulting and implementation services last year.)IDCNetworkConsultingMarketscapeLeader2017.png

 I was pleased to see that the report* calls attention to the HPE Trusted Network Transformation methodology, which, as IDC points out, encompasses two concepts: simplifying hybrid IT and providing intelligent edge networking. Hybrid IT Network engagements focus on platforms, virtualization, and security. Intelligent edge involves wired and wireless technologies and security for private enterprises and public venues.

Network transformation without the angst

We chose the “Trusted” part of the moniker with great care. It’s crucial to understanding how HPE helps organizations reinvigorate what is, after all, the most complex, the most mission-critical, and arguably the most fragile element of the data center troika of networking, compute and storage. Most enterprise networks have developed over time in jenga-block fashion, one stack on top of another, creating inherent instability and fragility. Yet in today’s IT environments, networks are required to flex almost like living things, shifting in real time from on-premises resources to new domains like cloud providers, and back again as needed.

That kind of extreme elasticity and responsiveness is absolutely achievable, and when we describe future post-transformation states to network leaders they’re enthusiastic. But they’re understandably cautious, too. We’ve all seen the headlines about incidents that have brought enterprise networks crashing down. It could be a network change that exposes a security vulnerability that hackers can exploit, resulting in exposure of customers’ credit card information. It could be an error that results in a network outage, putting the company temporarily out of business. The network is to today’s businesses what the phone system was thirty years ago – it’s the way customers engage with you. So if you lose that system, you effectively lose your business.

And that’s what makes networking different from compute and storage. If you lose a server, it may slow down some apps, but it’s not a threat to your company. If a storage array goes down, you may lose part of your corporate memory, but you’re still a functioning business.

Delivering on De-risking

We designed the HPE Trusted Network Transformation with this extreme sensitivity to risk explicitly in mind. Here’s a quick overview of how our approach to de-risking works:

  • Create a detailed map. Based on our conversations with your team and our vast experience of network transformation engagements, we look across the entire lifecycle of the project, breaking it down into key milestones for the assessment, design, deployment and operational elements. Then we analyze those segments in detail to create a seamless, end-to-end map of the transformation.
  • Eliminate the disconnects. We look for potential disconnects among all of the points in the map. This is a crucial step to eliminate the right-hand/left-hand syndrome that often plagues network initiatives, resulting in exchanges like “I thought you had that?” “What? I thought you had it!” We carefully examine the intersection points, and then we overlay very senior project management responsibility to keep an eye on each one and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Close the IT/business feedback loop. The transformation map covers the full range of technical elements of the organization’s specific technology environment. But it also encompasses the business strategy level. What is your refresh cycle for the year? What’s your Capex strategy? How can you maximize value from the assets you already own, and avoid a rip-and-replace? It’s crucial to the success of the initiative that both the technology side and the business side can influence each other at all points in the project. Even a couple of degrees of separation between these viewpoints can undermine a transformation effort; and conversely, a tight feedback loop can hugely enhance its value.

Business priorities will, of course, profoundly influence the technology aspects of the map. Let’s say the business decides that enabling employee collaboration is a critical priority. IT may not even have realized that this should be an important focus, but it should be able to tweak the design to accommodate, say, a pervasive wireless network that allows anywhere connection within the campus. The influence may occur in the other direction, too – business objectives may need to be modified in light of IT’s assessments of risks and costs.

A wider role for network leaders

An important, perhaps unexpected, benefit of this approach is a redefined and extended role for network decision-makers. I’ve noticed that if you ask a network lead “Who is your customer?” they’ll often say it’s the apps team, since they’re the folks who create the interface between the network itself and the users. But once network leads are equipped with a deep understanding of business goals, they can see their role in much broader terms.  Their customer is now the business and the apps team is now viewed as a partner. They can tackle the wider questions: How does the project provide competitive advantage? Are there economies of scale that we can access? What are the risks from a business point of view?

And that can only be good news for companies looking to build a less Jenga-like network for the future.

Learn more about HPE Pointnext and how we can help you accelerate your digital transformation. And visit our Network Consulting Services page to learn how HPE helps you move toward the network of tomorrow.

About RonRonIrvine smaller.jpg

Global Director, Network Advisory and Professional Services: Ron is a 14-year veteran of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. During that time he has managed the Network Services practice in Canada where he resides with his wife and four children. He has also led the Network Advisory and Professional Services practice at the Americas and Worldwide levels.

What’s next for the network?  Get inspired at Enterprise.nxt. Go now

*Citation: Source: IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Network Consulting Services 2017, Doc # US41623217, June 20, 2017

Disclaimer: IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market and business execution in the shortterm. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3-5-year timeframe. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the circles. Vendor year-over-year growth rate relative to the given market is indicated by a plus, neutral or minus next to the vendor name. 

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