HPE bets on AI and edge for future strategy

Whitman bids farewell while explaining the company's strategy with the help of Neri

HPE's outgoing CEO, Meg Whitman, talked up AI and the edge and bid farewell to the company at her last ever Discover conference in Madrid today.

Whitman took to the stage to address the news of her departure from the company.

"As many of you have seen last week, you probably saw I will be stepping down as CEO at the end of January. And Antonio Neri, HPE's president, will become HPE's new president and CEO," she said.

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"I have said for many years the next CEO, the next leader of HPE, should come from within the company. And Antonio is exactly the leader that I had in mind. Many of you know Antonio, he is a 22 year veteran at this company. He is passionate about technology and lives a customer-first, customer-last mindset. I think he is going to be an incredible CEO."

Whitman explained that the company has been "getting ready for Antonio" by strengthening it for the future. She said: "We stabilised and strengthened the leadership team, we rebuilt our balance sheet, improved productivity and increased our customer satisfaction scores and our partner satisfaction scores. But most importantly, we reignited innovation and delivered ground breaking technology for all of you."

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Whitman added: "We have created a new HPE, ready to drive to the next chapter."

Whitman said that HPE believes the enterprise of the future will be hyper-connected to the edge, and the edge will become even more important for business needs to create the outcomes organisations desire.

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She said it's where digital transformation will have the most profound impact on a business, too.

"Now not only will everything be hyper connected, we also believe the enterprise of the future will have artificial intelligence built into everything," she said. "Every product, operation, customer experience - it will all be AI aided, enabling our world to be autonomous and get smarter every single day."

HPE's soon-to-be CEO joined Whitman on stage and echoed her comments on AI.

"We must also apply AI so we can learn faster than a community of hackers who are continuously looking for new weaknesses," said Neri. "Next, we must deal with the massive amount of data that will be created at the edge. The volume of data will soon strip out our ability to manage, process and act on it."

Neri added that intelligence should be built "into the fabric of your infrastructure".

"AI is so important because we won't have the time to programme everything and manage all the pieces," he said, pointing to the vast amounts of data companies will have to deal with in the future.

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Whitman said in her closing comments: "We believe the future of IT is becoming very clear; and it will be a hybrid world that is fueled by apps and data which form the core of your data center to the edge, to multiple clouds. You'll move more intelligence and compute power to the edge of the network to take advantage of the internet of things and extract insight and business value closer to where that data is created."

At the end, Neri bid farewell to Whitman and thanked her for her work: "On behalf of HPE, our customers and partners, I want to thank you, for your six years you have invested in this company.

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you very much."

Image credit: Zach Marzouk, IT Pro

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