Making the Workforce a Force for Growth – The Six Five on The Road

Making the Workforce a Force for Growth - The Six Five on The Road

On this episode of The Six Five – On the Road, hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman are joined by HP‘s John Gordon, Senior Vice President and Division President, HP Managed Solutions, and Faisal Masud, Senior Vice President and Division President, HP Digital Services, for a conversation on how happy, productive employees contribute to company success. Despite significant efforts by many firms to adapt to new work styles and enhance flexibility, employee productivity and satisfaction remain distressingly low. John and Faisal will dive deep into the current workforce dynamics and share HP Workforce Solutions’ vision for delivering outstanding employee experiences.

Their discussion covers:

  • The backgrounds of John Gordon and Faisal Masud and their respective new roles in the Workforce Solutions leadership team.
  • Addressing the biggest challenges businesses face today and HP’s strategies for tackling these issues.
  • The critical role of HP’s channel partners in driving workforce transformation.

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Patrick Moorhead: The Six Five is on the road in Las Vegas at HP’s awesome Partner Conference, and it is busting out. We are talking workforce solutions, we’re talking hybrid work, the magic of AI. Dan, it’s pretty incredible.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s been a really big day. There was a lot of attention towards the AI PC of course, because that’s a huge topic of the year. But once you put the device in people’s hands, then it starts to be about the magic that can be created. It’s the experiences, it’s the services that can be delivered. It’s the productivities that can be gained, the efficiencies that companies are looking for. And you heard a lot of it, and we’ve heard it from a cast of companies and some of the biggest names in technology.

Patrick Moorhead: Well, yeah, it’s a maturation of technology where I like to say, “Hey, you can show up with a bag of parts and figure it out somewhere.” But we’re really maturing where companies want to let other companies, service companies, to let them do the driving. And if you look at the scope of the platform across, let’s say, hundreds of thousands if not millions of users, there’s incredible intelligence that can be leveraged to make those experiences better. And we just happen to have with us two awesome gentlemen from Workforce Solutions. Faisal, John, great to see you. Welcome to Six Five. First time guest. This is great.

John Gordon: First time. Thanks, Pat. Thanks, Dan. We’re great to be here. It’s an exciting time so far at HP Amplify.

Faisal Masud: Yeah, it’s fun.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, welcome to the chair. Now, we don’t always hot-seat people because a lot of the guests we have, we’ve had Enrique, Dave Schulz, some of the names people have gotten to know here at HP, but you are newer names. Both of you I think are at about a half year.

Patrick Moorhead: You’ve been here much longer, Faisal. Haven’t you?.

Daniel Newman: Much longer. Faisal, John.

Faisal Masud: I think a week.

John Gordon: He was here a week first.

Patrick Moorhead: A veteran.

John Gordon: He knows a lot more.

Patrick Moorhead: Yes.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. So with both of you being a little newer and first timers on The Six Five, start with Faisal. I’d love to just get a little background and understand a little bit about the remit you have at HP.

Faisal Masud: Yeah. Background, I am not from the industry. It’s just a full disclosure. I have spent my early part of my career at Amazon back when it was Amazon.bomb, all the way to when it was competing pretty fiercely with Best Buy and Walmart and others. So built a bunch of businesses there, and technology, and then moved on quite a bit to eBay, and then was at Groupon and CTO at Staples, until we sold the company to Sycamore. And then took a slightly different turn, very unconventional, to Google X, where I was at Alphabet, launched their moonshot called Wing. It was called Project Wing initially, but later became Wing where we delivered food autonomously in six minutes over six miles in Australia, Finland, and Virginia.

And while that was great, the scale was not quite getting to what I was used to. So started my own startup called Fabric. We ran all the way from sort of pre-seed over four years to a series C, raised about 350 million, and after that, for me it was “What’s next?”. Because I was looking to take a break where I met with Dave. And Dave said I’d love to build out software that supports our core business, and it’s a giant opportunity that needs to play a bigger role with our customers. And so I, alongside John and Dave’s organization, I support all the software development for our customers, and currently am building a platform that supports HP and non-HP. So we are agnostic to the hardware or the OS, everything that is involved with workforce experience.

Daniel Newman: That’s great. John?

John Gordon: Yeah, so as I said, I came a week after Faisal. So if Faisal’s the software guy, I’m the managed solutions guy. So I have a bunch of really smart technical people around the world, and they just keep technology running for our customers and our partners. They install it, they monitor it to make sure it’s healthy using a lot of Faisal’s software. And if it breaks, they fix it, hopefully before you even notice. So that’s our background. I’ve launched divisions for big companies, grew up at IBM, but went to General Electric, Bose, Lenovo before coming here.

Patrick Moorhead: Oh, that’s great. So I want to start macro here. In the context of Workforce, what are you hearing as some of the core needs out there that you’re going to obviously go in and solve all of them. I’ve run business before. I know you can’t solve all of them immediately, but what are some of the needs and where are you starting?

John Gordon: Maybe just a little bit on the trends that we’ve heard a lot about today. The two big disruptions are around AI and hybrid work. It’s because they’re changing how we’re working. You’re probably working while you’re off skiing this weekend. You connect into other places.

Patrick Moorhead: Unfortunately, yes.

John Gordon: Yeah, I figured you would do.

Patrick Moorhead: But it’s a reality of the way we work now, right?

John Gordon: It’s fundamentally changed. I work remotely. I don’t think I have two people on my staff in the same building. But we get together for things like this and we get together to do workshops. So how facilities are changing, what the work space is like, is massively changing, where there’s more conferencing, more ways that you have to be able to show up to an office you don’t go to every day and make it work. And then you have to be able to use AI to change the way you do your work that we talked about a lot. So there’s way more technology touch points for each of us in our jobs. And being able to see how that all comes together end-to-end is really key because it affects not only what we do but our experience with it overall.

Patrick Moorhead: That’s great.

Faisal Masud: Yeah, and to John’s point, I actually recently wrote a blog on this. I like writing a lot. So previously used to be all about commerce, now it’s about Workforce. And it kind of hits your question, which is it’s a paradox, because employers want productivity, but sometimes they want proximity, and you can’t have it all. And I think the post-COVID world is highly influenced by having flexibility, and if employers can have the productivity that they want and the trust that they need in this, and if you can provide the software and the services that enable that, I think that’s sort of the North Star that we’re seeking to build.

Patrick Moorhead: And the key point, it’s interesting, it’s really a data problem. If you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of data points across, you should be better at this than others. You can see correlation, you can see patterns, you can see how this rolls out to be either on the system side, fix things before they break, predicting this. But even taking that to the next level, even when it comes to setting up but I think more importantly across all of your product lines, how do they stitch? That was my question to the leadership team yesterday is talk about the incremental value across. How are you pulling that together? And they talk about Workforce Solutions, AI. Good answer. I know you’re on the right track here.

Faisal Masud: Thanks.

John Gordon: Not sure about the platform, about how you think about it, being end to end here, to cross here? Because I think that’s what really cool about what you’ve been building that’s unique in the industry is so-

Faisal Masud: Yeah, I think we are unique in this where somebody asked me yesterday in one of the partner meetings, what is different about what we’re building? We call WEX, Workforce Experience. What’s different is nobody really has what we have. We collect data from every single device in the corporate or non-corporate environment. We are able to have a ton of information about these customers and partners because of just the history of the company and the trust that HP has. On top of that, we are actually deploying AI today in some of that remediation that we’re doing. I think the combination of that is what makes us quite unique. Whereas our competitors have… they’re solving challenges, but they’re typically single threaded either PCs, or print, or collaboration. We’re trying to do all three of those together because we can.

John Gordon: Well, and I think for us, HP is all in on the future of work, and we’re all in on the employee experience. We’re not distracted doing data center things or other areas that are different. Everything that we do is about something that people touch and how to drive that forward. So with our channel partners as well, they get brought in by their customers because they know our partners know how to make their lives better for their employees. That’s very unique to HP.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s very interesting. I like the comment about proximity and productivity. It’s a good way to think about it. It sounds like you’ve truly been away from it for a minute, and coming back in, of course, the goal is finding perfection as the third P, and that’s never going to really happen. But can you be productive in proximity? And that also comes to manageability. So in the era of AI, it’s all about data, accessibility, visibility. I always say it all the time to our team, and you guys probably have all the tools, but you get the CRMs and the ERPs and the HTMs.

But why don’t I know this? Why can’t I understand this? Why is this not visible to me? It’s because as far as we’ve come, we still really do have a long way to go, and we could dive into this, but this is a channel and partner center conference. And with both of you being kind of new, we’ve asked this of a few of the different conversations we’ve had here at Amplify, but just kind of understanding in your respective roles, how are you going to empower this group? Because HP is all about you can come up with the best stuff on the planet, but you need to get it disseminated through the channels, and then ultimately to those final customers. So John, maybe I’ll start with you, but how do you get this to the channel?

John Gordon: Well, I think what’s really interesting is Faisal and I aren’t really separated on this. We want to help our partners drive great experiences for their customers. And so there’s a couple options. We’ve got software. If they want to sell it to their customers so that their customers can manage their own environments for employees, great, happy to do that. If they want as our channel partners to become managed solutions providers, we can give them software they can manage and help their customers for themselves. If they want to do something that’s beyond their skills and their customers don’t want to do it, we’ll do it for them. So we’re all the same path of giving our channel partners options. And the great news is they don’t even have to pick one answer. They can say, “Hey, for PCs, I’m good at managing them, but I don’t know about this conference room stuff. So can you do that for us?” And it gives them some flexibility, but it’s the same model no matter which way they choose.

Faisal Masud: Yeah. What’s been great in this conference has been just hearing about their particular use cases and the repetition of the challenges that they face. And I think that giving them the ability to sell a platform where they can really, really build a large ROI for themselves, that’s unique. That’s not something they’ve had before from us. So enabling that and unlocking that has been quite exciting to get those conversations going.

Daniel Newman: Well, Faisal and John, I want to thank you so much for joining us here on The Six Five. I look forward to sort of chronicling your journey. We’ve worked very closely with Dave over the years and it’s very encouraging, at least from our analyst view, the work that’s being done at HP. And I think this is going to be really important to transform this channel so that these partners can be profitable, can grow, and can evolve beyond traditional hardware, which is, as we know, been the challenge for decades now for this particular group. Let’s hopefully have you back on, maybe next year.

John Gordon: Sounds great. Thanks for the time.

Faisal Masud: Awesome. Great to meet you.

John Gordon: Appreciate it.

Daniel Newman: Sounds good.

Faisal Masud: Thanks.

Daniel Newman: All right, everyone. Hit that subscribe button. Join us here for all of our coverage from HP 2024 Amplify Conference here in Las Vegas. We’ve been here all day talking to all of the executive leaders in the company, getting a nice vision of what is going to be the future here at HP. But for this show, for Patrick Moorhead and myself, it’s time to say goodbye. See you all later.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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