Executives from Toronto-headquartered Compugen and Halifax-headquartered Mobia discussed their takeaways from last week’s HPE Discover event, and how they can drive their businesses forward.
Last week’s HPE Discover event in Las Vegas focused heavily on the strategy around their GreenLake as-a-service offering, from both product and channel perspectives. It was messaging which was met with a welcome reception from HPE’s top Canadian partners who already have made a substantial investment in GreenLake.
Typically these partners have been strong players in other HPE initiatives as well, as well as with HP before that, and in one case, with Compaq.
“I was at HP when we first started the relationship, at the direction of one of our customers,” said Mike Reeves, President of Halifax-based systems integrator Mobia.
“They rose quickly to platinum status, and sold our full suite from day one,” said Rob Brown, Channel Chief at HPE Canada.
“Since then we have expanded into Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and the only province where we don’t have people is Saskatchewan,” Reeves indicated.
“We have always been very focused around IT transformation, since the early days of cloud,” Reeves emphasized. “We now consider ourselves to be in the vanguard of GreenLake, with some very large deals.”
Brown said that compared to the earlier days of cloud, the top partners in Canada are further along with regards to GreenLake.
“If you look at cloud, we were typically a year or two behind,” he indicated. “With GreenLake I feel that we are punching above our class. Not every partner is adopting it, but those with the skills and a hybrid cloud strategy are. Customers are looking for the specific guidance that they provide.”
HPE made both channel news and product news around GreenLake, in the form of a new partner program, a new private cloud and cloud services, and new partnerships. Reeves said that some of these would add considerable value, such as the expansion of the existing partnership with Red Hat so that it would ship under the GreenLake umbrella, giving customers considerably more choice. Still, Reeves said the big takeaway for him in attending the event was seeing how all of this is now fitting into an integrated whole much better than in the past.
“From my perspective, the big news here is the completeness of the ecosystem of technology partners who are now integrated into the GreenLake portfolio,” he stated. “There is much better alignment than before. In terms of what HPE is doing in the partner community, the focus on alignment is about as deep as I’ve ever seen it.”
“That’s the message we want to get across to partners from the event,” Brown stressed.
Toronto-based Compugen, founded 40 years ago by Harry Zarek, who is still fully engaged and actively running the company, is an HPE partner of long-standing, which was also in early on the GreenLake opportunity. They grew to establish a nation-wide presence in Canada, and in 2019, expanded into the U.S.
“Our U.S. expansion came from listening to our customers – very similar to how we grew across Canada,” said Terry Mirza, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Compugen.
Compugen has been with HPE since the data centre days, and sees GreenLake as a logical extension of that.
“HPE is the vendor with whom we have the longest standing relationship,” Mirza said “Compaq [acquired by HP in 2002] was our first-ever partner. “Historically, the focus there was very much the data center, but we ourselves shifted years ago from computer to cloud and to being services-led. Compugen’s service business is now a $120 million business. We see ourselves as a leader in this space.
Mirza said that the demand for GreenLake services in Canada is there today, and is significant.
“The Canadian market is making the shift to a digital economy,” he noted. “It now understands born in the cloud.”
Mirza also emphasized the importance to him of the takeaway that HPE’s GreenLake vision has moved to specific strategy.
“l have always been a big believer that vision without execution is hallucination,” he said. “As an SI we are focused on IT transformation. The changes being made increase the completeness of what we can now offer in GreenLake. We don’t have to cobble things together. Training and communication are all a lot easier now. It facilitates the data-driven speed and agility behind the opportunity in the entire GreenLake vision.”
Mirza was also pleased by the extension of strategic partners, with Red Hat, SUSE and others.
“To be successful you have to have an ecosystem, he said. “I walked away with this with the vision of this being an ecosystem of partnerships.”
Mirza also thinks the new Enterprise Private Cloud around GreenLake announced at the end will be a winner for Compugen.
“We believe our differentiator is hybrid IT,” he said. “It’s all about the workloads. We see workloads growing on all fronts.”
“This all reflects how GreenLake has become very much partner focused over the last three years,” Brown concluded. “We are very excited about the new programs and the ability they give partners to add value to their own services.”