Thursday, February 18, 2021

How HPE Pointnext ‘Moments’ Provide a Proven Critical Approach to Digital Business Transformation

Transcript of a discussion with
HPE Pointnext Services experts as they detail a multi-step series of “Moments” that guide organizations on their transformations.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. See the video. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect Voice of Innovation video podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this timely discussion on effective paths for businesses to attain digital transformation.

Even as a vast majority of companies profess to be seeking digital business transformation, few proven standards or broadly accepted methods stand out as the best paths to take. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for bold initiatives to make customer engagement and experience optimization an increasingly data-driven and wholly digital affair.

Stay with us now as we welcome a panel of HPE Pointnext Services experts as they detail a multi-step series of “Moments” that guide organizations on their transformations. Here to share the Hewlett Packard Enterprise view on helping businesses effectively innovate for a new era of pervasive digital business are our panelists.

We’re here with Craig Partridge, Senior Director Worldwide, Digital Advisory and Transformation Practice Lead at HPE Pointnext Services. Welcome back, Craig.

Craig Partridge: Hey, Dana, good to see you again.

We’re also here with Yara Schuetz, Global Digital Advisor -- one of many -- at HPE Pointnext Services. Welcome, Yara.

Yara Schuetz: Hello, Dana, nice to be here.

Gardner: We’re also here with Aviviere Telang, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services. Welcome, Aviviere.

Aviviere Telang: Thanks, Dana, glad to be here.

And we’re joined by Christian Reichenbach, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services. Welcome, Christian.

Christian Reichenbach: Thanks, Dana, for having me.

Gardner: And we welcome Amos Ferrari, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services. Welcome, Amos.

Amos Ferrari: Thank you, Dana. Thank you, for inviting me.

Gardner: Craig, while some 80 percent of CEOs say that digital transformation initiatives are under way, and they’re actively involved, how much actual standardization -- or proven methods -- are available to them? Is everyone going at this completely differently? Or is there some way that we can help people attain a more consistent level of success?

Common ground in digital transformation

Partridge: A few things have emerged that are becoming commonly agreed upon, if not commonly executed upon. So, let’s look at those things that have been commonly agreed-upon and that we see consistently in most of our customers’ digital transformation agendas.

The first principle would be – and no shock here -- focusing on data and moving toward being a data-driven organization to gain insights and intelligence. That leads to being able to act upon those insights for differentiation and innovation.

It’s true to say that data is the currency of the digital economy. Such a hyper-focus on data implies all sorts of things, not least of all, making sure you’re trusted to handle that data securely, with cybersecurity for all of the good things come that out of that data. 

Another thing we’re seeing now as common in the way people think about digital transformation is that it’s a lot more about being at the edge. It’s about using technology to create an exchange value as they transact value from business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) activities in a variety of different environments. Sometimes those environments can be digitized themselves, the idea of physical digitization and using technology to address people and personalities as well. So edge-centric thinking is another common ingredient.

The third element that’s becoming increasingly common and which underpins digital ambition is the need for greater agility in the way technology is brought into organizations and assembled to build new digital products and experiences. That means shifting organizations rapidly into a cloud-enabled future. Not just establishing the right cloud-use baseline, in terms of platforms and services that IT run, but also increasingly bringing in the development community as well.  And that requires making sure that they’re all coordinated strategically to leverage the cloud in a way that benefits the agility agenda of the organization.

These may not form an exact science, in terms of a standardized method or industry standard benchmark, but we are seeing these common themes now iterate as customers go through digital transformation.

Gardner: It certainly seems that if you want to scale digital transformation across organizations that there needs to be consistency, structure, and common understanding. On the other hand, if everyone does it the same way, you don’t necessarily generate differentiation.

How do you best attain a balance between standardization and innovation?

Partridge: It’s a really good question because there are components of what I just described that can be much more standardized to deliver the desired outcomes from these three pillars. If you look, for example, at cloud-use-enablement, increasingly there are ways to become highly standardized and mobilized around a cloud agenda.

Moving toward containerization and leveraging microservices, or developing with an open API mindset, these are now pervasive principles in almost every industry. IT has to bring its legacy environment to play in all of that at high velocity and high agility.

And that doesn’t vary much from industry to industry. Moving toward containerization, for example, and leveraging microservices or developing with an open API mindset -- these principles are pervasive in almost every industry. IT has to bring its legacy environment to play in that discussion at high velocity and high agility. So there is standardized on that side of it.

The variation kicks in as you pivot toward the edge and in thinking about how to create differentiated digital products and services, as well as how you generate new digital revenue streams and how you use digital channels to reach your customers, citizens, and partners. That’s where we’re seeing a high degree of variability. A lot of that is driven by the industry. For example, if you’re in manufacturing you’re probably looking at how technology can help pinpoint pain or constraints in key performance indicators (KPIs), like overall equipment effectiveness, and in addressing technology use across the manufacturing floor.

If you’re in retail, however, you might be looking at how digital channels can accelerate and outpace the four-walled retail experiences that companies may have relied on pre-pandemic.

Gardner: Craig, before we drill down into the actual Moments, were there any visuals that you wanted to share to help us appreciate the bigger picture of a digital transformation journey?

Partridge: Yes, let me share a couple of observations. As a team, we engage in thousands of customer conversations around the world. And what we’re hearing is exactly what we saw from a recent McKinsey report.

There are number of reasons why seven out of 10 respondents in this particular survey say they are stalled in attaining digital execution and gaining digital business value. Those are centered around four key areas. First of all, communication. It sounds like such a simple problem statement, but it is so hard to sometimes communicate what is a quite complex agenda in a way that is simple enough for as many people as possible -- key stakeholders – to rally behind and to make real inside the organization. Sometimes it’s a simple thing of, “How do I visualize and communicate my digital vision?” If you can’t communicate really clearly, then you can’t build that guiding coalition behind you to help execute. 

A second barrier to progress centers on complexity, so having a lot of suspended, spinning plates at the same time and trying to figure out what’s the relationship and dependencies between all of the initiatives that are running. Can I de-duplicate or de-risk some of what I’m doing to get that done quicker? That tends to be major barrier.

The third one you mentioned, Dana, which is, “Am I doing something different? Am I really trying to unlock the business models and value that are uniquely mine? Am I changing or reshaping my business and my market norms?” The differentiation challenge is really hard.

The fourth barrier is when you do have an idea or initiative agenda, then how to lay out the key building blocks in a way that’s going to get results quickly. That’s a prioritization question. Customers can get stuck in a paralysis-by-analysis mode. They’re not quite sure what to establish first in order to make progress and get to that minimum valuable product as quickly as possible. Those are the top four things we see.

To get over those things, you need a clear transformation strategy and clarity on what it is you’re trying to do. As I always say before the digital transformation -- everything from edge, business model, how to engage with customers and clients, and through to a technology-as-assembly -- to deliver those experiences and differentiation you have to have a distinctive transformation strategy. It leads to an acceleration capability, getting beyond the barriers, and planning the digital capabilities in the right sequence.

You asked, Dana, at the opening if there are emerging models to accomplish all of this. We have established at HPE something called Digital Next Advisory. That’s our joined customer engagement framework, through which we diagnose and pivot beyond the barriers that we commonly see in the customer digital ambitions. So that’s a high-level view of where we see things going, Dana. 

Gardner: Why do you call your advisory service subsets “Moments,” and why have you ordered them the way you did?

Moments create momentum for digital

Partridge: We called them Moments because in our industry if you start calling things services then people believe, “Oh, well, that sounds like just a workshop that I’ll pay for.” It doesn’t sound very differentiated.

We also like the way it expresses co-innovation and co-engagement. A moment is something to be experienced with someone else. So there are two sides to that equation.

In terms of how we sequence them, actually they’re not sequenced. And that’s key. One of the things we do as a team across the world is to work out where the constraint points and barriers are. So think of it as a methodology.

And as with any good methodology, there are a lot of tools in the toolkit. The key for us as practitioners in the Digital Next Advisory service is to know what tool to bring at the right point to the customer.

As with any good methodology, there are a lot of tools in the toolkit. The key for us as practitioners in the Digital Next Advisory service is to know what tool to bring at the right point to the customer.

Sometimes that’s going to mean a communication issue, so let’s go solve for that particular problem first. Or, in some cases, it’s needing a differentiated technology partner, like HPE, to come in and create a vision, or a value proposition, that’s going to be different and unique. And so we would engage more specifically around that differentiation agenda.

There’s no sequencing; the sequencing is unique to each customer. And the right Moment is to make sure that the customer understands it is bidirectional. This is a co-engagement framework between two parties.

Gardner: All right, very good. Let’s welcome back Yara.

Schuetz: To reiterate what Craig mentioned, when we engage with a customer in a complex phenomenon such as digital transformation, it’s important to find common ground where we can and then move forward in the digital transformation journey specific to each of our customers.

Common core beliefs drive outcomes

We have three core beliefs. One is being edge-centric. And on the edge-centric core belief we believe that there are two business goals and business outcomes that our customers are trying to achieve.

In the top left, we have the human edge-centric journey, which is all about redefining customer experiences. In this journey, for example, the corporate initiative could mean the experiences of two personas. It could be the customer or the employees.

These initiatives are designed to increase revenues and productivity via such digital engagements as new services, such as mobile apps. And also to complement this human-to-edge journey we have the physical journey, or the physical edge. To gain insight and control means dealing with the physical edge. It’s about using, for example, Internet of things (IoT) technology for the environment the organization works in, operates in, or provide services in. So the business objective here in this journey consists of improving efficiency by means of digitizing the edge.

Complementary to the edge-centric side, we also have the core belief that the enterprise of the future will be cloud-enabled. By being cloud-enabled, we again separate the cloud-enabled capabilities into two distinct journeys.

The bottom right-hand journey is about modernizing and optimization. In this journey, initiatives address how IT can modernize its legacy environment with, for example, multi-cloud agility. It also includes, for example, optimization and management of services delivery, where different workloads should be best hosted. We’re talking about on-premises as well as different cloud models to focus the IT journey. That also includes software development, especially accelerating development. 


This journey also involves the development improvement around personas. The aim is to speed up time-to-value with cloud-native adoption. For example, calling out microservices or containerization to shift innovation quickly over to the edge, using certain platforms, cloud platforms, and APIs.

The third core belief that the enterprise of the future should strive for is the data-driven, intelligence journey, which is all about analyzing and using data to create intelligence to innovate and differentiate from competitors. As a result, they can better target, for example, business analytics and insights using machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI). Those initiatives generate or consume data from the other journeys.

And complementary to this aspect is bringing trust to all of the digital initiatives. It’s directly linked to the intelligence journey because the data generated or consumed by the four journeys needs to be dealt with in a connected organization with resiliency and cybersecurity playing leading roles resulting in interest to internal as well as external stakeholders. 

At the center is the operating model. And that journey really builds the center of the framework because skills, metrics, practices, and governance models have to be reshaped, since they dictate the outcomes of all digital transformation efforts.

So, the value chain in the heart of an organization needs to evolve in order to optimize existing offerings and to create new digital ones. And as you’ve probably already observed, by now, the four outside business journeys, they overlap in the middle, which I’ve just described as the intelligence operating model and trust piece.

These components build the enabling considerations that one must consider when you’re pursuing different business goals such as driving revenues, building productivity, or modernizing existing environments via multi-cloud agility. To put that all in the context of what many companies are really asking for right now is to put it in the context of everything-as-a-service.

Everything-as-a-service does not just belong to, for example, the cloud-enabled side. It’s not only about how you’re consuming technology. It also applies to the edge side for our customers, and in how they deliver, create, and monetize their services to their customers.

Gardner: Yara, please tell us how organizations are using all of this in practice. What are people actually doing?

Communicate clearly with Activate

Schuetz: One of the core challenges we’ve experienced together with customers is that they have trouble framing and communicating their transformation efforts in an easily understandable way across their entire organizations. That’s not an easy task for them.

Communication tension points tend to be, for example, how to really describe digital transformation. Is there any definition that really suits my business? And how can I visualize, easily communicate, and articulate that to my entire organization? How does what I’m trying to do with technology make sense in a broader context within my company?

So within the Activate Moment, we familiarize them with the digital journey map. This captures their digital ambition and communicates a clear transformation and execution strategy. The digital journey map is used as a model throughout the conversations. This tends to improve how an abstract and complex phenomenon like digital transformation can be delivered as something visual and simple to communicate.

Besides simplification, the digital journey map in the Activate Moment also helps describe an overview and gives a structure of various influencing categories and variables, as well as their relationship with each other, in the context of digital transformation.

Besides simplification, the digital journey map in the Activate Moment also helps describe an overview and gives a structure of various influencing categories and variables, as well as their relationship with each other in the context of digital transformation. It provides our customers guidance on certain considerations, and, of course, all the various possibilities of the application of technology in their business.

For example, at the edge, when we bring the digital journey map into the customer conversation in our Activate Moment, we don’t just talk about the edge generally. We refer to specific customer needs and what their edge might be.

In the financial industry, for example, we talk about branch offices as their edge. In manufacturing, we’re talking about production lines as their edges. If in retail, you have public customers, we talk about the venues as the edge and how – in times like this and the new normal – they can redefine experience and drive value there for their customers there.

Of course, this also serves as inspiration for internal stakeholders. They might say, “Okay, if I link these initiatives, or if I’m talking about this topic in the intelligence space, [how does that impact] the digitization of research and development? What does that mean in that context? And what else do I need to consider?”

Such inspiration means they can tie all of that together into a holistic and effective digital transformation strategy. The Activate Moment engages more innovation on the customer-centric side, too, by bringing insights into the different and various personas at a customer’s edge. They can have different digital ambitions and different digital aspirations that they want to prosper from and bring into the conversation.

Gardner: Thanks again, Yara. On the thinking around personas and the people, how does the issue of defining a new digital corporate culture fit into the Activate Moment?

Schuetz: It fits in pretty well because we are addressing various personas with our Activate Moment. For the chief digital officer (CDO), for example, the impact of the digital initiatives on the digital backbone are really key. She might ask, “Okay, what data will be captured and processed? And which insights will we drive? And how do we make these initiatives trusted?”

Gardner: We’re going to move on now to the next Moment, Align, and orchestrating initiatives with Aviviere. Tell us more about the orchestrating initiatives and the Align Moment, please.

Align with the new normal and beyond

Telang: The Align Moment is designed to help organizations orchestrate their broad catalog of digital transformation initiatives. These are the core initiatives that drive the digital agenda. Over the last few years, as we’ve engaged with customers in various industries, we have found that one of the most common challenges they encounter in this transformation journey is a lack of coordination and alignment between their most critical digital initiatives.

And, frankly, that slows their time-to-market and reduces the value realized from their transformation efforts. Especially now, with the new normal that we find ourselves in, organizations are rapidly scaling up and broadening out that their digital agenda.

As these organizations rapidly pivot to launching new digital experiences and business models, they need to rapidly coordinate their transformation agenda against an ever-increasing set of stakeholders -- who sometimes have competing priorities. These stakeholders can be the various technology teams siting in an IT or digital office, or perhaps the business units responsible for delivering these new experience models to market. Or they can be the internal functions that support internal operations and supply chains of the organizations.

We have found that these groups are not always well-aligned to the digital agenda. They are not operating as a well-oiled machine in their pursuit of that singular digital vision. In this new normal, speed is critical. Organizations have to get aligned to the conversation and execute on all of the digital agenda quickly. That’s where the Align Moment comes in. It is designed to generate deep insights that help organizations evaluate a catalog of digital initiatives across organizational silos and to identify an execution strategy that speeds up their time-to-market. 

So what does that actually look like? During the Align Moment, we bring together a diverse set of stakeholders that own or contribute to the digital agenda. Some of the stakeholders may sit in the business units, some may sit in internal functions, or maybe even on the digital office. But we bring them together to jointly capture and evaluate the most critical initiatives that drive the core of the digital agenda.

The objective is to jointly blend our own expertise and experience with that of our customers to jointly investigate and uncover the prerequisites and interdependencies that so often exist between these complex sets of enterprise-scale digital initiatives.

During the Align Moment, you might realize that the business units need to quickly recalibrate their business processes in order to meet the data security requirements coming in from the business unit or the digital team. For example, one of our customers found out during their own Align Moment that before they got too far down the path of developing their next generation of digital product, they needed to first build in data transparency and accessibility as a core design principle in their global data hub.

The methodology in the Align Moment significantly reduces execution risk as organizations embark on their multi-year transformation agendas. Quite frankly, these agendas are constantly evolving because the speed of the market today is so fast.

Our goal here is to drive a faster time-to-value for the entire digital agenda by coordinating the digital execution strategy across the organization. That’s what the Align Moment helps our customers with. That value has been brought to different stakeholders that we’ve engaged with.

The Align Moment has brought tremendous value to the CDO, for example. The CDO now has the ability to quickly make sense and -- even in some cases -- coordinate the complex web of digital initiatives running across their organizations, regardless of which silos they may be owned within. They can identify a path to execution that speeds up the realization of the entire digital agenda. I think of it as giving the CDO a dashboard through which they can now see their entire transformation on a singular framework.

We have found that the Align Moment delivers a lot of value for digital initiative owners. Because we work jointly across silos to de-risk, the execution pass implements that initiative whether it's technology risk, process risk, or governance risk.

We’ve also found that the Align Moment delivers a lot of value for digital initiative owners. Because we jointly work across silos to de-risk, the execution pass implements that initiative whether it’s a technology risk, process risk, or governance risk. That helps to highlight the dependencies between these competing initiatives and competing priorities. And then, sequencing the work streams and efforts minimizes the risk of delays or mismatched deliverables, or mismatched outputs, between teams.

And then there is the chief information officer (CIO). This is a great tool for the CIO to take IT to the next level. They can elevate the impact of IT in the business, and in the various functions in the organization, by establishing agile, cross-functional work streams that can speed up the execution of the digital initiatives.

That’s in a nutshell what the Align Moment is about, helping our customers rapidly generate deep insights to help them orchestrate their digital agenda across silos, or break down silos, with the goal to speed up execution of their agendas.

Advance to the next big thing 

Gardner: We’re now moving on to our next Moment, around stimulating differentiation, among other things. We now welcome back Christian to tell us about the Advance Moment.

Reichenbach: The train-of-thought here is that digital transformation is not only to optimize businesses by using technology. We also want to emphasize that technology is used to transform businesses by leveraging digital technology.


That means that we are using technology to differentiate the value propositions of our customers. And differentiation means, for example, new experiences for the customers of our customers, as well as new interactions with digital technology.

Further, it’s about establishing new digital business models, gaining new revenue streams, and expanding the ecosystem in a much broader sense. We want to leverage technology to differentiate the value propositions of our customers, and differentiation means you can’t do whatever one is doing by just copycatting, looking to your peers, and replicating what others are doing. That will not differentiate the value proposition.

Therefore, we specifically designed the Advance Moment where we co-innovate and co-ideate together with our customers to find their next big thing and driving technology to a much more differentiated value proposition.

Gardner: Christian, tell us more about the discreet steps that people need to do in order to get through that stimulating of differentiation.

Reichenbach: Differentiation comes from having new ideas and doing something different than in the past. That’s why we designed the Advance Moment to help our customers differentiate their unique value proposition.

The Advance Moment is designed as a thinking exercise that we do together with our customers across their diverse teams, meaning product owners, technology designers, engineers, and the CDO. This is a diverse team thinking about a specific problem they want to solve, but they shouldn’t think about it in isolation. They should think about what they do differently in the future to establish new revenue streams with maybe a new digital ecosystem to generate the new digital business models that we see all over the place in the annual reports from our customers.

Everyone is in the race to find the next big thing. We want to help them because we have the technology capabilities and experience to explain and discuss with our customers what is possible today with such leading technology as from HPE.

We can prove that we’ve done that. For example, we sit down with Continental, the second largest automotive part supplier in the world, and ideate about how we can redefine the experience of a driver who is driving along the road. We came up with a data exchange platform that helps our co-manufacturers to exchange data between each other so that the driver who’s sitting in the car gets new entertainment services that were not possible without a data exchange platform.

Our ideation and our Advance Moment are focused on redefining the experience and stimulating new ideas that are groundbreaking -- and are not just copycatting what their peers are doing. And that, of course, will differentiate the value propositions from our customers in a unique way so that they can create new experiences and ultimately new revenue streams.

We're addressing particular personas within our customer's organization. That's because today we see that the product owners in a company are powerful and are always asking themselves, "How can I bring my product to the next level?"

We’re addressing particular personas within our customer’s organization. That’s because today we see that the product owners in a company are powerful and are always asking themselves, “How can I bring my product to the next level? How can I differentiate my product so that it is not easily comparable with my peers?”

And, of course, the CDO in the customer organizations are looking to orchestrate these initiatives and support the product owners and engineers and build up the innovation engine with the right initiatives and right ideas. And, of course, when we’re talking about digital business transformation, we end up in the IT department because it has to operate somewhere.

So we bring in the experts from the IT department as well as the CIO to turn ideas quickly into realization. And for turning ideas quickly into something meaningful for our customers is what we designed the Accelerate Moment for.

Gardner: We will move on next to the Moment with Amos and learn about the Accelerate Moment, of moving toward the larger digital transformation value.

Accelerate from ideas into value

Ferrari: When it comes to realizing digital transformation, let me ask you a question, Dana. What do you think is the key problem our customers have?

Gardner: Probably finding ways to get started and then finding realization of value and benefits so that they can prove their initiative is worthwhile.

Ferrari: Yes. Absolutely. It’s a problem of prioritization of investment. They know that they need to invest, they need to do something, and they ask, “Where should I invest first? Should I invest in the big infrastructure first?”

But these decisions can slow things down. Yet time-to-market and speed are the keys today. We all know that this is what is driving the behavior of the people in their transformations. And so the key thing is the Accelerate Moment. It’s the Moment where we engage with our customers via workshops with them.

We enable them to extrapolate from their digital ambition and identify what will enable them to move into the realization of their digital transformation. “Where should I start? What is my journey’s path? What is my path to value?” These are the main questions that the Accelerate Moment answers.

As you can see, this is a part of the entire HPE Digital Next Advisory services, and it’s enabling the customer to move critically to the realization of benefits. In this engagement, you start with the decision about the use cases and the technology. There are a number of key elements and decisions that the customer is making. And this is where we’re helping them with the Accelerate Moment.

To deliver an Accelerate Moment, we use a number of steps. First, we frame the initiative by having a good discussion about their KPIs. How are you going to measure them? What are the benefits? Because the business is what is thriving. We know that. And we understand how the technology is the link to the business use case. So we frame the initiative and understand the use cases and scope out the use cases that advance the key KPIs that are the essential platform for the customer. That is a key step into the Moment.

Another important thing to understand is that in a digital transformation, a customer is not alone. No customer is really alone in that. It’s not successful if they don’t think holistically about their digital ecosystems. A customer is successful when they think about the complete ecosystem, including not only the key internal stakeholders but the other stakeholders surrounding them. Together they can enable them to build a new digital value and enable customer differentiation.

The next step is understanding the depth of technology across our digital journey map. And the digital journey map helps customers to see beyond just one angle. They may have started only from the IT point of view, or only from the developer point of view, or just the end user point of view. The reality is that IT now is becoming the value creator. But to be the value creator, they need to consider the entire technology of the entire company.

They need to consider edge-to-cloud, and data, as a full picture. This is where we can help them through a discussion about seeing the full technology that supports the value. How can you bring value to your full digital transformation?

The last step that we consider in the Accelerate Moment is to identify the elements surrounding your digital transformation that are the key building blocks and that will enable you to execute immediately. Those building blocks are key because they create what we call the minimal value product.

They should build up a minimum value product and surround it with the execution to realize the value immediately. They should do that without thinking, “Oh, maybe I need two or three years before realize that value.” They need to change to asking, “How can I do that in a very short time by creating something that is simple and straightforward to create by putting the key building blocks in place.”

This shows how everything is linked and how we need to best link them together. How? We link everything together with stories. And the stories are what help our key stakeholders realize what they needed to create. The stories are about the different stakeholders and how the different stakeholders see themselves in the future of digital transformation. This is the way we show them how this is going to be realized.

The end result is that we will deliver a number of stories that are used to assemble the key building blocks. We create a narrative to enable them to see how the applied technology enables them to create value for their company and achieve the key growth. This is the Accelerate Moment.

Gardner: Craig, as we’ve been discussing differentiation for your customers, what differentiates HPE Pointnext Services? Why are these four Moments the best way to obtain digital transformation?

Partridge: Differentiation is key for us, as well as for our customers across a complex and congested landscape of partners that the customers can choose. Some of the differentiation we’ve touched on here. There is no one else in the market, as far as I’m aware, that has the edge-to-cloud digital journey map, which is HPE’s fundamental model and allows us then to holistically paint the story of not only digital transformation and digital ambition -- but also shows you how to do that at the initiative level and to how plug in those building blocks.

I’m not saying that anybody with just the maturity of an edge-to-cloud model can bring digital ambition to life, to visualize it through the Activate Moment, orchestrate it through the Align Moment, create differentiation through the Advance Moment, and then get to quicker value with the Accelerate Moment.

Gardner: Craig, for those organizations interested in learning more, how do they get started? Where can they go for resources to gain the ability to innovate and be differentiated?

Partridge: If anybody viewing this has seen something that they want to grab on to, that they think can accelerate their own digital ambition, then simply pick up the phone and call HPE and your sales rep. We have sales organizations from dedicated enterprise managers at some of that biggest customers around the world, on through to small- to medium-sized businesses with our inside-sales organization. Call your HPE sales rep and say the magic words “I want to engage with a digital adviser and I’m interested in Digital Next Advisory.” And that should be the flag that triggers a conversation with one of our digital advisers around the world.

Finally, there’s an email address, If worse comes to worst, throw an email to that address and then we’d be able to get straight back to you. So, it should make it as easy as possible and just reach out to HPE advisors in advance.

Gardner: I’m afraid we have to leave it there. We’ve been examining how to transform organizations to effectively innovate for a new era a pervasive digital business. And we’ve learned how HPE Pointnext Services advises organizations across the multi-step series of Moments that guide organizations on and through their transformations.

Please join me in thanking our guests:

  • Craig Partridge, Senior Director Worldwide, Digital Advisory and Transformation Practice Lead, at HPE Pointnext Services;

  • Yara Schuetz, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services;

  • Aviviere Telang, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services;

  • Christian Reichenbach, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services, and

  • Amos Ferrari, Global Digital Advisor at HPE Pointnext Services.

Thank you all very much. And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining the sponsored BriefingsDirect Voice of Innovation discussion. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host of this ongoing series on HPE-supported discussions.

Thanks again for listening, please pass this along to your IT community, and be sure to come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. See the video. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Transcript of a discussion with HPE Pointnext Services experts as they detail a multi-step series of “Moments” that guide organizations on their transformations. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2021. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

How Global Data Availability Accelerates Collaboration and Delivers Business Insights

A transcript of a discussion that explores how comprehensive and global data storage access delivers the rapid insights businesses need for digital business transformation.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: IBM Storage.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Our next data strategy insights discussion explores the payoffs when enterprises overcome the hurdles of disjointed storage to obtain global data access.

By leveraging the latest in container and storage server technologies, the holy grail of inclusive, comprehensive, and actionable storage can be obtained. And such access extends across all deployment models – from hybrid cloud, to software-as-a-service (SaaS), to distributed data centers, and edge.

Stay with us now as we examine the role that comprehensive data storage plays in delivering the rapid insights businesses need for digital business transformation. To learn how, we’re joined again by Denis Kennelly, General Manager, IBM Storage. Welcome back, Denis.

Kennelly: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner:  Denis, in our earlier discussions in this three-part series we learned about IBM’s vision for global consistent data, as well as the newest systems forming the foundation for these advances.

But let’s now explore the many value streams gained from obtaining global data access. We hear a lot about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) adoption needed to support digital businesses. So what role does a modern storage capability -- particularly with a global access function and value -- play in that AI growth?

Kennelly: As enterprises become increasingly digitally transformed, the amount of data they are generating is enormous. IDC predicts that something like 42 billion Internet of things (IoT) devices will be sold by 2025, and so the role of storage is not only centralized to data centers. It needs to be distributed across this entire hybrid cloud environment.

Discover and share AI data


For actionable AI, you want to build models on all of the data that’s been generated across this environment. Being able to discover and understand that data is critical, and that’s why it’s a key part of our storage capabilities. You need to run that storage on all of these highly distributed environments in a seamless fashion. You could be running anywhere -- the data center, the public cloud, and at edge locations. But you want to have the same software and capabilities for all of these locations to allow for that essential seamless access.

That’s critical to enabling an AI journey because AI doesn’t just operate on the data sitting in a public cloud or data center. It needs to operate on all of the data if you want to get the best insights. You must get to the data from all of these locations and bring it together in a seamless manner.

Gardner: When we’re able to attain such global availability of data -- particularly in a consistent context – how does that accelerate AI adoption? Are there particular use cases, perhaps around DevOps? How do people change their behavior when it comes to AI adoption, thanks to what the storage and data consistency can do for them?

Kennelly:  First it’s about knowing where the data is and doing basic discovery. And that’s a non-trivial task because data is being generated across the enterprise. We are increasingly collaborating remotely and that generates a lot of extended data. Being able to access and share that data across environments is a critical requirement. It’s something that’s very important to us.

Then -- as you discover and share the data – you can also bring that data together into use by AI models. You can use it to actually generate better AI models across the various tiers of storage. But you don’t want to just end up saying, “Okay, I discovered all of the data. I’m going to move it to this certain location and then I’m going to run my analytics on it.”

Part 1 in the IBM Storage innovation series
Part 2 in the series
Instead, you want to do the analytics in real time and in a distributed fashion. And that’s what’s critical about the next level of storage.

Coming back to what’s hindering AI adoption, number one is that data discovery because enterprises spent a huge amount of time just discovering the data. And when you get access, you need to have seamless access. And then, of course, as you build your AI models you need to infuse those analytics into the applications and capabilities that you’re developing.

And that leads to your question around DevOps, to be able to integrate the processes of generating and building AI models into the application development process so that we make sure the application developers can leverage those insights for the applications they are building.

Gardner:  For many organizations, moving to hybrid cloud has been about application portability. But when it comes to the additional data mobility we gain from consistent global data access, there’s a potential greater value. Is there a second shoe to fall, if you will, Denis, when we can apply such data mobility in a hybrid cloud environment?

Access data across hybrid cloud

Kennelly:  Yes, and that second shoe is about to fall. The first part of our collective cloud journey was all about moving to the public cloud, moving everything to public clouds, and building applications with cloud-based data.

What we discovered in doing that is that life is not so simple, and we’re really now in a hybrid cloud world for many reasons. Because of that success, we now need the hybrid cloud approach.

The need for more cloud portability has led to technologies like containers to get portability across all of the environments -- from data centers to clouds. As we roll out containers into production, however, the whole question of data becomes even more critical.

That need for more cloud portability has led to technologies like containers to get portability across all of these environments – from data centers to clouds. As we roll out containers and these workloads into production, the whole data question is more critical.

You can now build an application that runs in a certain environment, and containers allow you to move that application to other environments very quickly. But if the data doesn’t follow -- if the data access doesn’t follow that application seamlessly -- then you face some serious challenges and problems.

And that is the next shoe to drop, and it’s dropping right now. As we roll out these sophisticated applications into production, being able to copy data or get access to data across this hybrid cloud environment is the biggest challenge the industry is facing.

Gardner: When we envision such expansive data mobility, we often think about location, but it also impacts the type of data – be it file, block, and object storage, for example. Why must there be global access geographically -- but also in terms of the storage type and across the underlying technology platforms?

Kennelly: To the application developer, we really have to hide from them that layer of complexity of the storage type and platform. At the end of the day, the application developer is looking for a consistent API through which to access the data services, whether that’s file, block, or object. They shouldn’t have to care about that level of detail.

It’s important that there’s a focus on consistent access via APIs to the developer. And then the storage subsystem has to take care of the federated global access of the data. Also, as we generate data, the storage subsystem should scale horizontally.

These are the design principles we have put into the IBM Storage platform. Number one, you get seamless actions and consistent access – be it file, object, or block storage. And we can scale horizontally as you generate data across that hybrid cloud environment.

Gardner: The good news is that global data access enablement can now be done with greater ease. The bad news is the global access enablement can be done anywhere, anytime, and with ease.

And so we have to also worry about access, security, permissions, and regulatory compliance issues. How do you open the floodgates, in a sense, for common access to distributed data, but at the same time put in the guardrails that allow for the management of that access in a responsible way?

Global data access opens doors

Kennelly: That’s a great question. As we introduce simplicity and ease of data access, we can’t just open it up to everybody. We have to make sure we have good authentication as part of the design, using things like two-factor authentication on the data-access APIs.

But that’s only half of the problem. In the security world, the unfortunate acceptance is that you probably are going to get breached. It’s in how you respond that really differentiates you and determines how quickly you can get the business back on its feet.

And so, when something bad happens, the third critical role for the storage subsystem to play is in the access control to the persistence storage. At the end of the day, that is what people are after. Being able to understand the typical behavior of those storage systems, and how data is usually being stored, forms a baseline against which you can understand when something out of the ordinary is happening.

Part 1 in the IBM Storage innovation series
Part 2 in the series
Clearly, if you’re under a malware or CryptoLocker attack, you see a very different input/output (IO) pattern than you would normally see. We can detect that in real time, understand when it happens, and make sure you have protected copies of the data so you can quickly access that and get back to business and back online quickly.

Why is all of that important? Because we live in a world where it’s not a case of if it will happen, it’s really when it will happen. How we can respond is critical.

Gardner: Denis, throughout our three-part series we’ve been discussing what we can do, but we haven’t necessarily delved into specific use cases. I know you can’t always name businesses and reference customers, but how can we better understand the benefits of a global data access capability in the context of use cases?

In practice, when the rubber hits the road, how does global data storage access enable business transformation? Is there a key metric you look for to show how well your storage systems support business outcomes? 

Global data storage success

Kennelly: We’re at a point right now when customers are looking to drive new business models and to move much more quickly in their hybrid cloud environments.

There are enabling technologies right now facilitating that. There’s a lot of talk about edge with the advent of 5G networks, which enable a lot of this to happen. When you talk about seamless access and the capability to distribute data across these environments, you need the underlying network infrastructure to make that happen.

Customers are looking to drive new business models and to move much more quickly in their hybrid cloud deployments. There's a lot of talk about edge with the advent of 5G networks. When you talk about seamless access and the capability to distribute data across these environments, you need the underlying network infrastructure to make that happen.

As we do that, we’re looking at a number of key business measures and metrics. We have done some independent surveys and analysis looking at the business value that we drive for our clients with a hybrid cloud platform and things like portability, agility, and seamless data access.

In terms of business value, we have four or five measures. For example, we can drive roughly 2.5 times more business value for our clients -- everything from top-line growth to operational savings. And that’s something that we have tested with many clients independently.

One example that’s very relevant in the world we live in today is we have a cloud provider that needed to have more federated access to their global data. But they also wanted to distribute that through edge nodes in a consistent manner. And that’s just an example of why this is happening in action.

Gardner: You know, some of the major consumers of analytics in businesses these days are data scientists, and they don’t always want to know what’s going on underneath the covers. On the other hand, what goes on underneath the covers can greatly impact how well they can do their jobs, which are often essential to digital business transformation.

For you to address a data scientist specifically about why global access for data and storage modernization is key, what would you tell them? How do you describe the value that you’re providing to someone like a data scientist who plays such a key role in analytics?

Kennelly: Well, data scientists talk a lot about data sets. They want access to data sets so they can test their hypothesis very quickly. In a nutshell, we surface data sets quicker and faster than anybody else at a price performance that leads the industry -- and that’s what we do every day to enable data scientists.

Gardner: Throughout our series of three storage strategy discussions, we’ve talked about how we got here and what we’re doing. But we haven’t yet talked about what comes next.

These enabling technologies not only satisfy business imperatives and requirements now but set up organizations to be even more intelligent over time. Let’s look to the future for the expanding values when you do data access globally and across hybrid clouds well. 

Insight-filled future drives growth

Kennelly: Yes, you get to critically look at current and new business models. At the end of the day, this is about driving business growth. As you start to look at these environments -- and we’ve talked a lot about analytics and data – it becomes about getting competitive advantage through real-time insights about what’s going on in your environments.

You become able to better understand your supply chain, what’s happening in certain products, and in certain manufacturing lines. You’re able to respond accordingly. There’s a big operational benefit in terms of savings. You don’t have to have excess capacity in the environment.

Part 1 in the IBM Storage innovation series
Part 2 in the series
Also, in seeking new business opportunities, you will detect the patterns needed to have insights you hadn’t had before by doing analytics and machine learning into what’s critical in your systems and markets. If you move your IT environment and centralize everything in one cloud, for example, then that really hinders that progress.

By being able to do that with all of the data as it’s generated in real time, you get very unique insights that provide competitive advantage.

Gardner: And lastly, why IBM? What sets you apart from the competition in the storage market for obtaining these larger goals of distributed analytics, intelligence, and competitiveness?

Kennelly: We have shown over the years that we have been at the forefront of many transformations of businesses and industries. Going back to the electronic typewriter, if we want to go back far enough, or now to our business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-employee (B2E) models in the hybrid cloud -- IBM has helped businesses make these transformations. That includes everything from storage to data and AI through to hybrid cloud platforms, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and right out to our business service consulting.

IBM has the end-to-end capabilities to make that all happen. It positions us as an ideal partner who can do so much.

I love to talk about storage and the value of storage, and I spend a lot of time talking with people in our business consulting group to understand the business transformations that clients are trying to drive and the role that storage has in that. Likewise, with our data science and data analytics teams that are enabling those technologies.

The combination of all of those capabilities as one idea is a unique differentiator for us in the industry. And it’s why we are developing the leading edge capabilities, products, and technology to enable the next digital transformations.

Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. You have been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect discussion on the major payoffs when enterprises overcome the hurdles of disjointed storage to obtain global data access.

And we’ve learned about the role and impact of a comprehensive and global data storage model when delivering rapid insights for accomplishing digital business transformation.

So please join me impacting our guest, Denis Kennelly, General Manager, IBM Storage.  Thank you so much, Denis.

Kennelly: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And thanks as well to our audience for joining these BriefingsDirect data strategies insights discussions. Please look for the other two discussions in this series on the IBM Storage vision, as well as the newest systems that form the foundation for these advances.

I’m Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout the series of IBM Storage sponsored BriefingsDirect discussions. Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your IT community, and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: IBM Storage.

A transcript of a discussion that explores how comprehensive and global data storage access delivers the rapid insights businesses need for digital business transformation. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2021. All rights reserved.

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