Liveblog: New CEO Whitman closes HP GPC general sessions

Meg WhitmanLAS VEGAS – For the three years it’s been open, the Aria Hotel here has hosted HP’s annual Partner Conference. It’s been one very stable thing in an otherwise constantly-changing event.

Case in point: When HP CEO Meg Whitman takes the stage to close the event, she will become the third HP CEO to address partners here in as many years, following the blunt easel-talk from Mark Hurd two years ago and Léo Apotheker’s wandering software-first discussion from last year.

In many ways, all eyes are on Whitman. It’s her first time in front of HP’s partner base, and it’s up to her to both lay out HP’s overall strategy for growth and assure partners that the bumpy ride of the last six months has been replaced by a strategy that will endure.

But before partners hear from Whitman, they’ll hear the pitches of two of HP’s biggest growth opportunities. HP Software chief Bill Veghte will make the case for why partners should be looking at HP’s expanding software portfolio, and Mike Lynch, CEO of recent acquisition Autonomy will make the case for the unstructured data organization software to HP VARs.

Join us after the jump for the liveblog – it should go live just before the keynote session starts at 9:30 am Pacific, 12:30 pm Eastern.

  Liveblog: HP CEO Whitman wraps up Global Partner Conference (02/15/2012) 

Good morning from Las Vegas! Keynote host Mark Jeffries taking the stage one last time to kick off the morning’s festivities.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:39

Jeffries once again going through some communications advice before handing the stage over to the execs.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:45

And with that, HP Software EVP Bill Veghte comes on stage, with a reminder of last year’s “peanut butter sandwich story.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:46

More than 50% of HP Software revenues through the channel “and growing.” #hpgpc2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:49 channelbuzzca

“We got after it last year together. We had an absolutely fantastic year together,” he says, thanking partners.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:49

Veghte talking through HP’s gains in customer satisfaction.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:51

Veghte: “We have 50k customers around the globe that represent the vast majority of IT spend. And we did that with you” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:51 channelbuzzca

Veghte: “You’re seeing us making very significant moves,” including organic product growth and “huge M&A activity.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:52 channelbuzzca

“Only 1 company that has the kind of breadth and depth that we offer.” Veghte bringing the “better together” messaging #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:53 channelbuzzca

IT Performance Suite presents “the opportunity for IT to work with and for the business in a more significant way.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:55 channelbuzzca

Veghte: “Every organization is looking to tighten their relationship with the business” because cloud presents BUs with choices.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:57

HP’s approach to security and compliance “is different from others.” “We believe the model where you try to handcuff the user or lock assets is just not working,” Veghte says. HP security is about giving IT “visibility into what’s happening” and mitigating risk.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 9:59

Veghte talkin through the transofrmation of IT from standardization and consolidation, through virtualization, towards a self-service infrastructure and through to IT as a service broker across a hybrid environment.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:01

HP “has the most comprehensive set of tools in the indstury, full stop,” Veghte says. And over the last year and a half, has brought it together into “the most complete and open infrastrucutre to manage the cloud, full stop.” Lots of full stops from Veghte.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:02

Four things define HP’s software strategy

  1. Optimized from infrastrucutre to application to information.
  2. Converged management/automation/monitoring and security.
  3. Hybrid delivery to protect existing investment while taking advantage of cloud for cost and agility benefits.
  4. Opennnes and flexibility. “We have no single platform agenda. We have no hypervisor agenda.” All about “bridging those seams” between vendors in the marketplace. 

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:04

Veghte bringing you Hayley Tabor, vice president of worldwide parnterships and field excellence to talk through HP’s software channel strategy.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:05

“Why HP software?” Tabor asks. Because of great momentum, a strategy that “maps our technology offerings to customer requirements.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:06

What does partnership mean to HP software? “It’s top of mind to HP and the software leadership team.” Expect investments in FY12 to make partners more profitable and successful this year.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:07

“We have a great opportunity to make game-changing moves with parnters,” Tabor says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:07

$5-$8 in HP partner services pull through for each dollar of HP software licensing, Tabor says. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:08 channelbuzzca

“This is more than just selling the software and selling the product … it’s about delivering solutions to our partners and serving their business.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:08

Tabor’s focus this year: enabling partners, expanding partners’ software business, and investing in growth. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:09 channelbuzzca

On enablement: taking best practices internally and sharing with partners. Taking onboarding process and sharing w/ channel. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:10 channelbuzzca

Training: HP’s “Cloud Curriculum” available to partners. New certifications for partners coming within 90 days

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:12

Tabor detailing HP Interchange, a social media approach to connecting solution providers in a partner-to-partner model. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:12 channelbuzzca

“Through partners who partner, we will have a stronger GTM strategy and be in front of more customers,” Tabor says. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:13 channelbuzzca

Converged Infrastrucutre parnter program promo: Converged Inrastructure parnters who bring an opportunity into the community, and partner with a software partner, HP will provide a 10 per cent benefit to partners, including a 5% rebate on the license sale, and 5 per cent invested for Converged Infrastructure parnters to invest in HP Software.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:15

Fire alarms going off, mic breaking… Tabor working gamely through the challenges thrown by the keynote gods. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:17 channelbuzzca

Tabor inviest Buck Jones of HP partner Mobius to talk about working with the software group.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:18

Working across the platform “has given us differentiation and diversification” with our customers, Jones says. “We’re not talking configurations and bits and bytes, we’re talking about how monitor the network, knowing whether the server is up or down.” Complex software purchase “opens the door” to remove rival hardware for HP gear.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:20

Overall impact of expanding software business with HP: Jones says growth has increased, new doors have opened up in terms of verticals. “It’s increased the amount of IT spend share we’re seeing from our customers. We couldn’t have done it without HP’s help” in moving from a hardware-centric reseller to more solutions-focused with software.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:23

Veghte: “This promotion is so amazing, our competitors pulled the alarm to disrupt us.” Fortunately, a false alarm. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:24 channelbuzzca

Veghte: “We have market-leading software, we’re focusing on enablement, and we’re putting the pedal to the metal.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:26 channelbuzzca

Veghte shares his email address with partners in his keynote preso. A nod to his history at Microsoft, where that’s common? #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:27 channelbuzzca

“You have to invest. You have to take that step to invest in HP servers, storage, networking and software.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:28

And with that, Veghte wraps up, hands it back to Mark Jeffries.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:28

“Big data is big, but the question is, is it clever?” Jeffries asks, introducing Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy… also now EVP of information management at HP.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:29

Autonomy has 60,000 customers some with massive deal sizes on software. $30 million with BP, $12 million with Deloitte. $70 million with JP Morgan Chase.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:31

“We have to think about industry in a fundamentally diferent way” than IT has historically done, “and if we do so, we’ll start to see new opportunities.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:31

There’s an explosion of big data “but it’s useless” unless you can get knowledge out of it, Lynch says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:32

“For the first time in 50 years, it is not the T in IT that is changing, it is the I” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:39 channelbuzzca

Historically, structured data has been the computer’s strongpoint because it could understand it. “The only reason we have databases, we have structured information, is becasue computers couldn’t cope with the real world,” Lynch says. But now technology has caught up in an “explosion of human-friendly information.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:40

“You cannot put a phone call, a movie, an e-mail into a relational database, and expect it it to understand it. It will store it, but it will not understand it,” Lynch says. To get business value out of information, it really has to understand.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:41

90 per cent of customer information is in this “human-friendly form,” it’s growing much faster than structured information, “and it’s where the interesting stuff happens.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:43

“In the real world, a large amount of weak information and analytics can be gerater than a little bit of strong information,” but until now, IT hasn’t been able to process those “weak” clues that aren’t explicit, categorized, keyworded and tagged, Lynch says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:45

Lynch describes Autonomy’s Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) as the relational database for the next 50 years. Between Autonomy and Vertica, IDOL can combined sturctured and unstructured data, combining, for example, relational databse information and data from phone calls. “That is the platform on which all of HP’s information assets are built.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:47

Vertica brings in the sturctured data support, described by Lynch as “a relational database on steroids.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:48

“Audio and video are going to become just as important as text,” and need to be not only delivered, but understood in the enterprise, Lynch says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:50

Lynch showing a very impressive demo: running a movie through Autonomy, it’s recognizing and linking to items showed on-screen, including both text and images, on the fly.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:50

Lynch describes a huge opportunity in understanding data from a legal/governance/regulatory point of view. Not just backing up and archiving, but understanding the content, whether text, audio or video. “Your customers are being forced to invest large amounts in this year, so that’s a great place to invest,” he tells partners.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:53

“This is anew area, that’s often sold to the CMO, but there’s budget for it because it’s immediate response. You turn it on, and sales go up 15 per cent,” he claims. “That makes it a very easy sale.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:54

Autonomy run “probably the world’s largest heterogeneous cloud,” Lynch says. Autonomy’s private cloud is more than 40PB. “You have the ability to control, and help your customers, get that information.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:55

Lynch: Autonomy-based HP hardware appliances on the way, to power enterprise search all the way to SMB. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:56 channelbuzzca

Lynch showing Autonomy IDOL 10 on a smartphone or tablet — able to recgonize physical “real world” objects and turn them into interactive objects on-screen. For example, a movie poster viewed through IDOL becomes a movie trailer. “Advertising comes to life, packaging comes to life, products come to life.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 10:59

Within a year, IDOL will be able to track and 10 objects on a smartphone or tablet, Lynch says. Then he interacts with a virtual Jessica Rabbit in a very surreal moment.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:01

“It is not about data, it is about meaning. It is not about machines, it is about people. And it’s not about status quo, it’s about a new opportunity you can be part of as HP partners,” Lynch says in closing, then brings out new HP CEO Meg Whitman to the stage.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:02

“I know I’m the last keynote in what has been a very long but exciting three days,” she says, so no slides.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:03

“I hope you’ll agree our portfolio looks tremendous today, with lots of great innovation,” Whitman says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:04

Whitman will answer questions, she says. “No question is too tough. Remember, I ran for political office.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:04

Whitman: “Coming into HP, I knew how important the channel was.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:05 channelbuzzca

Whitman: “Our number one competitive differentiator may well be our relationship with you.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:05 channelbuzzca

But last year, HP didn’t make it very easy. Some of that was industry-caused, but Whitman admits that last August’s shenanigans made it tough on partners.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:06

Whitman’s goal in coming into HP: get the noise out, create stability. “I wanted to get HP out of the headlins for the drama, and into the headlines for its innovation, its products and its work with partners,” she says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:07

Whitman’s commitment to partners: “We will return to being the reliable partner you can count on to build your business.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:07 channelbuzzca

Whitman: “I feel great” about the decision to keep PSG in-house. “We’re better together.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:08 channelbuzzca

“Ultra-light notebooks are going to be a big deal for us and a big deal for you,” Whitman says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:08

Whitman says she wants to do a few things very well and put a lot of focus on them. Example: the push around Spectre ultrabook. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:09 channelbuzzca

Whitman on open-sourcing WebOS: “It will take 2-5 years to fully play out, but I believe the industry really needs another operating system.” Apple is on fire, but is closed, suggests Android is fragmented and may end up closes with Google’s Motorola purchase.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:11

“We are building HP for this quarter, for this year. But I’ve also got a longer line of sight. We want to set up HP for the next 70 years, so you can set up your business with us on the long-term horizon.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:12

Whitman: “While all the craziness was going on at the exec and board, our people kept heads down for you and our customers.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:13 channelbuzzca

Whitman: “HP will remain the largest provider ot IT infrastructure, software and solutions for indivudals and organizations of all sizes.” That remains the goal, the vision, the strategy.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:14

“The core of this company, the DNA of this company, is infrastructure,” representing 70 per cent of HP’s revenues. “We should stand up and be proud of that.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:15

Whitman: “We are not in the software business to turn HP into a software company.” Marked difference from last yr’s CEO message. #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:16 channelbuzzca

“I am big believer in focus. We need to do three of four things, and do them extraordinarily well.” Those four focuses: Converged infrastructure, information optimization, security, and the cloud.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:18

Each of those four presents an oopportunity for parnters to bring new value to their customers, Whitman says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:20

Whitman: “No one ships more solutions through the channel than HP.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:20 channelbuzzca

Whitman says she’ll use her background at eBay as a big customer of IT to make sure everything is done with a customer focus.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:21

Whitman: “We are doubling down on R&D innovation in every division. If we don’t invest, we aren’t doing our jobs.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:22 channelbuzzca

“I come from a partner background,” Whitman says, with her background at FTD and its dealers, and the seller community at eBay. “We provided the trading platform, but it was eBay sellers that built that business.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:22

Whitman: “I love the channel I get what you and I appreciate the importance of what we do together for customers.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:24 channelbuzzca

Whitman: “We’ve got our swagger back, and I hope you do too… let’s go out and sell with confidence.” #HPGPC2012 [via Twitter]

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:24 channelbuzzca

And with that, Whitman invites her business unit heads (Donatelli, Joshi, Veghte, Bradley, Lynch) on stage for some Q&A from partners.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:26

First question on how HP is going to grow its R&D focus. Whitman says HP will continue to do acquisitions, “but we have to do a better job of internal innovation.” Whitman says her goal is to bring HP Labs, which have been marginalized for a while, closer to the HP business units, and make HP labs “a little more commercial.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:29

Question from an HP staffer: What does HP need to do better in the networking field. Whitman says she’s excited about being the disruptor to the incumbent. “We can bring real value, better, faster, cheaper, in a way the big dog in this business cannot.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:32

Donatelli adds his thoughts: “People have erred when we’ve tried all or nothing” in networking deals. “When we get into accounts, we always get in and then grow. In any account, there’s a fit for us somewhere. Find that one place, even if it’s small, and then grow. Home runs are great if you can get them, but if not, let’s find success with singles.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:33

Question from a VAR about concern over the cloud disintermediating the channel. Whitman says partners have to get ahead fo the curve, and deliver HP cloud solutions. “There’s no reason why partners should be disintermediated here,” because cloud is a lot more complex than it looks at the service. “You can be the guide, the interpreter, the educator on how your customers can use the cloud,” she says, urging partners to “double down” on relationships with customers, particularly to SMBs that are “just waking up” to the cloud opportunity.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:35

Next up a comment from one VAR, who was less than impressed with Leo last year. “When customers ask what I think of the new CEO, I’m going to say she rocks.” And then onto the question phase, asking what Whitman is going to do to restore pride in HP logo and brand.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:39

Whitman says actions speak louder than words, from results, to products, to the programs HP puts in place for its partners. HP also has to do a better job telling its story. “I’m not a believer in marketing for marketing’s sake,” she says, but she’s investing in a consistent marketing program across the company. “One HP,” is a big powerful notion, and Whitman needs help from partners to get that message out there. Expect a campaign to debut over the next 3-6 months.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:40

“We’re going to be industry leaders again, we’re going to be thought leaders,” Whitman says.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:41

Next up, a partner asks for comment on growing share of wallet in SMB. Whitman says she is passionate about the SMB marketplace. “We have to rely on you for reach and expansion into SMB,” she says. “Every company, in many ways, is a technoogy company,” including farmers. “We’ve got to rely on you to cover the market, and bring solutions to bear that are fit for those SMBs.” She adds that the tech industry needs to speak more clearly and consistently SMB about the benefits and the process to reach those benefits.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:43

Bradley adds that HP and partners have “taken a lot of share from Dell” in its traditional strength in SMB, but there’s still work to do, especially around integrating services and software, and bringing in financial services.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:45

And one last question, a partner asking when partners will be able to showcase Autonomy within HP, as well as HP’s play in the smart connected car.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:46

Whitman: “I want Autonomy to be successful in the context of HP.” She says that “most of the time, HP does acquisitions really well,” but there’s a danger in acquriing small, fast-growing companies. “The mother tiger can roll over on the baby tiger really easily, and it’s not pretty.” Still, believes Autonomy can grow faster with HP than without HP.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:47

Lynch says the oppotunity to be on this stage is a tremendous start, with the Autonomy appliances starting to show up. Hints on strong links between Autonomy and IPG will be coming in the near future.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:48

“We’ve always worked with the channel. We see incredible opportunity to take our technology, put it with HP expertise, and work with new groups of partners,” Lynch says, for example, in taking IDOL to the SMB market.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:49

Whitman says “there’s a lot going on in the automotive market,” but with her belief in focus, “there may be opportunities” in automotive, but bigger, more current opportunities in other markets and in the core business. “I never say no to opportunities, but if we could focus more on a few things we can really get behind, then I think that’s the way to success here.”

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:50

Whitman’s wrap-up message: “We will not let you down,” and offers up her e-mail address —, urging partners to get in touch. “If your needs aren’t being met, please send me an e-mail, and I’ll send it to them,” she says, pointing to her business unit leads.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:51

And with that, Whitman thanks partners, and things are wrapping up for the general session.

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:52

And with the session wrapping up, so too is his liveblog. Once again, thank you for joining us, and look for much more coverage of GPC at

Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:52




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