Andy Isherwood, the man with HP in his veins

Andy Isherwood, the UK managing director of HP, is a tough man to interview. It wasn't that it was a tough interview - on the contrary, he is very approachable - more that it was difficult to get him to deviate from the HP corporate message.

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‘New style of IT’

While HP continues to develop new products - the company invests $4 billion each year into its two R&D centres in Bristol, UK, and California, and created over 36,000 patents last year - it is the services side of the business that Isherwood is keen to highlight, to deliver what he refers to as the “new style of IT”.

When HP announces a new product, “It’s not just about a new product, it’s a new way of doing things,” says Isherwood.

“[It’s about] how do we take people through this major change to a consumption-based, service-oriented world, while protecting and helping them through that transaction. My job andHP’s job is to bring these new technologies and services to deliver on the ‘new style of IT’.”

But it sounds like this is just a long-winded way for Isherwood to refer to HP as the “number one” provider of private cloud.

“Our skillsets are about advising people on which workloads to do in-house, which to move to the cloud, which to have in a hybrid environment,” Isherwood says.

This is “probably” the biggest infrastructure topic that HP customers are asking about, and he believes that hybrid cloud “is the way forward”.

“That’s what I’m hearing from customers. There are very few customers that would say we’re going to move all of our workloads, all of our systems and processes to a public cloud. That is not happening today. We’re not seeing it today apart from at the very low-level SMB level,” he says.

“Our view is, look, we’re the number one provider of private cloud, hybrid cloud, and hybrid cloud feels what the customers are asking for today.”

CIO = Chief Innovation Officer

With cloud services becoming more common and accessible to the whole business, Isherwood recognises that IT requests are not just coming from the IT department anymore. He believes that CIOs need to embrace this trend, not stop it.

“Their [CIOs] role evolves into the chief innovation officer,” he says.

“Why does chief marketing officer (CMO) want to invest in a digital maketing solution? One is because the tech is out there, that he can buy on demand, but secondly, he’s at the forefront of what he does and it’s really important that he has the latest and greatest tech to enable him to be effective.

“For me, the CIO needs to think and work with that CMO to work out what his requirements are, whilst developing and delivering on the core infrastructure to deliver it, or to provision it.”

HP itself has ‘embraced’ this by appointing a CIO, John Hinshaw, who is head of both technology and operations.

“Because [Hinshaw] owns operations as well as technology, he can link these two things very closely. The business process and the technology is not one or other, they’re always very intertwined,” says Isherwood.

“The CIO needs to do more of that and he needs to be more of the person thinking and helping those CXOs to be at the front end of the innovation curve, otherwise they’re just going to be left behind.”

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