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Uncovering New IT Asset Strategies Hiding in Plain Sight

Uncovering New IT Asset Strategies Hiding in Plain Sight

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, I sit down with Michael Swan, VP of HPE Integration, and Jolanta Kisiel, Director of Global Accounts Segment Strategy at HPE Financial Services, to discuss how adopting a new mindset focused on IT asset lifecycle stages may be the key to accelerating success.

Their conversation covers:

  • Insights into the current pressures on IT organizations surrounding strategies in managing IT asset lifecycles
  • What makes HPE Financial Services unique, and their approach to the IT asset lifecycle
  • How customers are managing existing infrastructure amidst all the change and in the face of innovation, including balancing competing internal priorities
  • How organizations can expand their sustainability practices and the benefits of doing so, given a recent IDC study showed sustainability is a top 3 decision criteria for 67% of customers when selecting a technology provider

To learn more about HPE Financial Services, and uncovering new IT asset strategies, visit the company’s website and download our series of briefs: Uncovering New IT Asset Strategies Hiding in Plain Sight, Building Economic Agility Through All Stages of Tech Lifecycles, Aligning Business Goals with Tech Lifecycles to Accelerate Innovation, and Adapting Tech Lifecycles to Support Sustainability Goals.

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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded, and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors, and we ask that you do not treat us as such.

Transcript:

Daniel Newman: Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the Futurum Tech Podcast. I’m Daniel Newman, your host, CEO of The Futurum Group. Excited for today’s conversation. We’re going to be talking about uncovering new IT asset strategies hiding in plain sight. And I am thrilled to partner with HPE Financial Services on this episode. I’ve done a number of conversations with this particular group, it’s a group that I’ve really enjoyed working with over the years, and this particular conversation is something that should interest companies everywhere. Everything from circular economy to how we financially manage the massive IT estate that we have is something that should be thought about by every company large and small. And today, hopefully, many of you are here to think a little bit about this.

I’m joined by two esteemed guests. I have Michael Swan, he’s the VP of HPE Integration, and I have Jolanta Kisiel, Director of Go to Market and Global Accounts. And she’s nodding because I got the name right, and that gets me at least one point off the back. Off the bat and the back, I suppose I could say. Michael, Jolanta, welcome to the show. We’re going to have a conversation today and I’m going to ask you some questions, you’re going to ask me some questions. But first of all, how are you doing?

Michael Swan: We’re doing great.

Jolanta Kisiel: Excellent.

Michael Swan: Very excited to be here, Daniel. Thank you very much for partnering with us-

Daniel Newman: Yeah, no, it’s great to-

Michael Swan: And delivering this message out. This is great.

Daniel Newman: Thanks for having me, thanks for letting me do this.

Michael Swan: Okay. Daniel, we thought maybe we would get things rolling by asking you the first question. Now we understand that you were recently at the Mobile World Congress. It wasn’t your first time there by any means. So I’d be interested to hear, what were some of your key takeaways? Was there anything in particular that really stood out or excited you?

Daniel Newman: It was my 10th, Michael-

Michael Swan: 10th, okay.

Daniel Newman: Mobile World Congress. I’m not a … Maybe as wily a veteran as some but I’ve been there quite a few times. Actually enjoyed a few meetings over at HPE. I don’t know if you’ve been to Mobile World Congress and been in the HPE booth but it’s a wonderful booth. It’s got inside, outside access, multiple layers, meeting rooms, spaces, conference centers. I mean, it is a really incredible experience. Look, this year was multifold because it was … It’s all about AI right now. It doesn’t matter what conference you go to. It doesn’t really matter if you’re at a mobile conference, if you’re a devices-focused, if you’re at enterprise and data center or cloud. Even if you’re at a conference about sustainability, there’s a lot of focus right now. I went to Davos and the focus was all about where AI can help businesses.

Mobile World Congress is really no different. The focus was really heavily skewed towards AI. For instance, AI in the ran as we are virtualizing, and optimizing, and opening up networks. How do we make it more efficient? How do we use resources more productively and effectively? How do we decrease costs and improve the delivery of services? So that was a big focal point. It was AI plus everything related to the network. Sustainability always is in focus during Mobile World Congress. You’re in Europe. Europe is very focused right now on trying to meet sustainability goals. And, of course, right now the idea of AI to optimize the use of power, use of resources to deliver network services, that was really cool.

There were some things I saw. I saw a cool transparent laptop display, saw some new phone designs. There’s always some interesting demonstrations of virtual reality. As you walk around and you see some of that stuff. But this year was pretty practical for me. It was innovation in the network, AI, and everything, and then a backdrop of sustainability. Let me spin back to you. You’re talking to IT organizations every day, Michael. You heard my preamble of what I’m seeing going on and then everything there. What do you see in terms of the pressure being put on IT organizations right now?

Michael Swan: Well, if you think about just some of the examples that you just shared around innovation, and networking, and AI, and you think about the challenges that might put in front of an organization just concerning how do they even start to think about taking advantage of some of the opportunities that these new technologies could provide their organization, and where do they start? Well, within HPE Financial Services, we’re approaching this from the mindset of creating smarter IT life cycles.

And what I mean by that is, we want to help customers maximize value throughout the entire useful lifecycle of technology, starting with planning for and acquiring the technology to choosing the right consumption model based on the workload that they’re running, and their capital budget to optimizing technology and its performance through its full useful lifecycle. And then ultimately managing the end-of-life phase in a sustainable way. And our focus is really about identifying innovative ways that organizations can maximize the efficiency of what they already have in place. How can they derive more value from their technology investments? How do they gain more agility in their technology that … To ultimately enable them to achieve their business objectives? So I could give you one customer example to just highlight how we’ve done this before. This one involves Nokia Virtual Labs.

Now, this organization has stood up a virtualized R&D and testing capabilities for software developers. They’re focused on innovation, they’re focused on new cellular technologies, and also 5G applications. They had turned to HPE to help them develop a comprehensive solution that addressed both their financial as well as their operational aspirations. The priority was to transform and modernize their data center while optimizing utilization. And they were also looking for opportunities to expand their budget so they could invest in the future.

We helped them create a smarter IT lifecycle by transitioning existing owned IT infrastructure that was already in place and running and supporting their virtual lab environment. We converted those assets from an ownership model to an as a service model. So we actually transitioned those assets into HPE GreenLake. What this did is it unlocked capital that they could invest. And so we essentially tapped into the equity and existing assets that they already owned which they can then use to fund future innovations. Another beauty of this model is that customers who take advantage of this can continue to use in-place technology with no interruption to their business operations.

Jolanta Kisiel: Okay. So Daniel, maybe I’ll also ask another question to you. I’m sure that you have plenty of conversations around innovation with customers. And I am curious what customers are telling you when it comes to their existing infrastructure and then in the face of innovation. So how we are managing all of these things in the middle of the change?

Daniel Newman: And that’s a great question Jolanta. And Michael, that was a really good example and I appreciate you sort of breaking down exactly how that works. Because here’s the thing. I’m going to start and I’m going to zoom all the way out to the macro. I spend a lot of time looking, and thinking, and talking about the markets. And when you look, and think, and talk about the markets here, we’re in a really complex time. AI’s rise into the consciousness of the world created this sort of almost what I would call … I’m not an economist but I’m going to lay it out there, a semi-bubble built around AI. Meaning all of a sudden you see all this inflated interest in value in tech but it’s heavily skewed and rotated to one very small part of technology. And if you’re not in that epicenter of AI, you notice most things, most assets, most companies values and earnings are not growing that fast.

Obviously, everybody is looking at AI as this magic button. Let’s get more efficient, let’s get more productive. So companies really aren’t all doing as well as it maybe feels. You got inflation high, you got interest rates up, it’s harder for companies to borrow. Companies are looking for solutions, they’re looking for ways to maximize assets. They’re trying to figure out how do we take technology investments we’ve made and help them go further. So Michael, your example of taking capital assets on the balance sheet and turning them into OPEX so that you can then free up cash flow to either reinvest in new technologies or other parts of the business, these are the kinds of things that the creative financiers within companies are looking at doing. So while yes, there’s certainly this whisper, “Hey, how do we use AI to lower expenses.” That’s going on, and it is going to have staff augmentation and there will be some personnel change.

And in the long run, I think there will be more jobs, not less jobs. They’ll be different. That’s what every industrial revolution … Let’s not mince words, this is the biggest technology inflection in the world’s history right now. I’m saying it right here on this podcast. But look, the idea that you can get more out of the technical … Technology investments that you’ve made, you can move to as a service where it makes sense to free up CapEx dollars. You can take multiple generations of technology infrastructures and tie them from one to the next, and do it seamlessly in a way where maybe assets that are no longer … You don’t have the GPU power that you need in some of your old servers, but you can use those servers for other data management tools versus … By the way, I got a secret for everybody, I’ll tell you really quietly. You can do AI on a CPU. You can actually do inference on a CPU.

And so there’s all this opportunity to maximize more value. This is also part of meeting sustainability goals, this is part of meeting your innovation goals. Companies are trying to do a lot of things at one time. Technology is deflationary. And the opportunity to use creative financial tools plus technology to get your business on the front foot of technology innovation is really opportunistic. Jolanta, I want to … I’m going to pull you back in now though because you are … I’m talking to customers at the macro level, many customers, we do a lot of intelligence data research on the market. You’re talking to a smaller subset of mega accounts that you’re in with every single day. First of all, how did I do? And second of all, what are you seeing in terms of your accounts managing these priorities on a global basis?

Jolanta Kisiel: Thanks, Daniel. And first of all, we are doing quite well. Apart from the fact that AI is the buzzword and everyone is definitely thinking about it, I still believe, and what I’m hearing every day, there is a lot discussion which is about competing priorities and how do you manage to do more with less, less resources, less money. But at the same time, everyone wants to be, and they need to be, more sustainable as a company, as a specific single BU, or even as a function, right?

I do have an example and this is quite recent and let’s say engagement with the customer. Quite large and trying to balance multiple critical initiatives without, of course, compromising any of them, right? So first one, which they have been putting on the table for us, was directly related to how they compete on the market. The urgent need to transform from old high-performance compute infrastructure which is critical for them to design a better end product and then deliver it faster to their customers. So when we heard what they want to do we were able to bring in the HPE GreenLake solution as a right platform to get access to latest technology and put it all into as a service model.

But then at the same time, the second initiative which were… Which was equally important was to make sure that their employee have new tools and they are able to optimize the workplace environment. Obviously, very critical from the IT standpoint. But guess what? They had all the delays in the budget and they really couldn’t take on that project immediately. So again, creating the lifecycle approach and moving from traditional cash funding into investment solution, which was already equipped with the refresh, we were able to address both affordability and also the better management of technology, better customer, and employee experience, and also that holistic approach to the lifecycle.

And the third initiative, which in my view brings it all together under the sustainability agenda, was also the task of how they responsibly retire existing infrastructure. And also, not only how they do it but how they extend and maximize the journey of assets through the lifecycle and through the economy. So with our asset upcycling services, we collected and we refurbished all the assets. And then the very same assets, we reassembled and then we sold them as pre-owned equipment to other companies who actually use legacy systems and they actually needed some additional capacity additional to still continue because this is their business model.

I think it is really important to take into account the whole IT lifecycle. It does not start with purchasing and then ends with removing assets, there are very many steps in that journey and each of them could be the event to actually build stronger economics, ensure that you have access to capacity. And by the way, make it a sustainable practice all the way. So it is all circular in my view.

Daniel Newman: I like that. It hits on both tenants, right? We saw the shift over the last few years towards what I call more practical sustainability. Companies are talking about delivering against goals, but measured metrics, not marketing as much. And that’s what you’re doing here. These are real implementable, practical ways to get more sustainable and, of course, keep companies modern.

So let’s talk a little bit about that. Let’s drive the end of this conversation around meeting sustainable business goals. In a recent study, it showed that sustainability still a … Is a top three decision criteria for 67% of customers when picking a technology vendor. Now, we agree that the ebbs and flows of the topic may come and go depending on the different market forces, but this is not going away, it’s going to be very important. And it’s an obvious differentiation point. I’d love to get, Michael, your take here. What are you seeing, hearing, doing that helps companies achieve these sustainability goals? As the conversation has shifted, as I’ve alluded to, what are the benefits that they’re most focused on right now in terms of executing their sustainability initiatives?

Michael Swan: As you said, Daniel, the commentary has shifted to these pie-in-the-sky aspirations to getting more specific to how we can help advance an organization’s agenda. We’re also looking to see how it can help improve the company’s operations, their use of capital. How can it also help improve the bottom line I think essentially? So you’re seeing sustainability being a topic that’s being discussed in the boardroom, it’s being discussed with shareholders. It’s a common topic of conversation whenever we’re talking to our ecosystem partners. And many, if not most of our customers are wanting to talk about sustainability. They’re looking to us to help bring forward sustainable solutions. But even more than that, they’re looking for guidance in formulating a roadmap and then helping them to execute on a path or a journey to become a more sustainable organization.

Jolanta brought up the notion of a circular economy. That’s typically a good place to start is adopting that mindset or that approach of saying, “We’re going to become more circular in terms of how we operate as a company.” What we see is this starts to open up opportunities. You start to see more opportunities in your organization, and even into the broader ecosystem, in which you operate, where you can drive sustainability.

One thing we typically guide our customers to do is first identify a technology vendor who has essentially ingrained sustainability in everything they do. And that can start with designing products so that they consume less raw materials, right? Implementing a sustainable supply chain, engineering products so they consume less energy. Also, thinking about the materials that are being used in manufacturing your products. So that’s one place to start. The next would be thinking about how you’re consuming IT. And pivoting to IT consumption, and as a service models like HPE GreenLake, is in fact a best practice. We have documented significant improvements that our customers have seen in terms of reducing both their carbon footprint as well as their energy consumption by moving to an as a service model.

Because typically what you see though in an as-a-service model, you’re right sizing and optimizing the infrastructure that’s deployed so that on day one you’ve got a very high utilization rate, right? You’re moving away from a practice of pre-provisioning equipment, right, buying with your budget to actually right-sizing the environment right from the start, and that does typically deliver some significant savings. 20 30% is not unusual it’s more than norm. Another example, which Jolanta touched on briefly, was extending the life of solutions that you already have in place by tapping into pre-owned, certified, refurbished equipment … Technology as a solution.

Now this can help you sustain legacy IT applications typically at a much lower cost than if you’re deploying new infrastructure. You’re also keeping assets in the circular economy longer and therefore you’re keeping them out of the landfill. So you’re minimizing any e-waste by extending the life of equipment as long as you possibly can. Those would be a few examples.

Jolanta Kisiel: And Michael, just to add to that, I think that the cherry on the cake is actually that measurement. Being able to demonstrate the value and the outcomes of sustainability effort is really, really important to both internal stakeholders but also to external parties. And I think that working with the partner who can give you that visibility end to end and really measure your impact and how you are doing I think it’s critically important. I think HPE FS was actually the first one in the industry to introduce circular economies report. And that report is quantifying this impact of CO2 emissions reductions in that space, energy savings, and also the waste. And what is really great about that report is that measurements, that metric, you can take as it is and put it into your report and actually build it out in terms of what is my impact as IT into the overall goals of the company. So I think that’s critical.

Daniel Newman: Well, Michael and Jolanta, I really have enjoyed you giving these very concrete examples and focusing on the measurability. These are going to be very important parts of a real circular sustainable journey. But remember, this is about so many more things. This is about building resilience, IT infrastructure that your company can depend on for its business. This is about freeing up capital and cash so that you can make the investments towards these new modern architectures and you can do so in ways that are consumable, ways that are friendly from an operational standpoint. This is not easy stuff. And this also is very important to create the symbiotic relationship that needs to exist between finance and information services, and security, and IT within organizations. As I sort of alluded to earlier when I was in the setup, we are in this period of time where it’s all about AI. But really it’s all about enabling your organization to deliver, to meet customer expectations, to be more productive, to be more efficient, to empower your employees, and to make sure that IT never lets you down in that process.

Now, having listened to you both, let’s go ahead and make sure that we tell everyone out there … We’ll send Michael’s contact info, we’ll have Jolanta, probably LinkedIn we’re not going to share everything. Home phone numbers. No. But we will also share some links. You’ve mentioned some studies, you mentioned some reports, we’ll get those in there too into the show notes. And if you were part of this webcast, make sure you click on those because there’s a lot more to read there than what Michael and Jolanta shared today. No commercials here. If you do want to learn more about HPE Financial Services, our partner in this webcast, please be sure to go ahead and click their link, check it out. I’m sure they would love to have a conversation about how can help you with these exact needs. But for now, for this episode and this webcast, I got to thank everyone so much for tuning in and being part of it. Hope you’ll join us again soon. Thanks and have a great day.

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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