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“We are working closely with large installed base customers on IoT solutions”

Som Satsangi, Vice-President & General Manager, Enterprise Group and Managing Director for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in India, is responsible for revenue and profitability. In his 19 years with HPE, Som has served numerous leadership positions and made significant progress strengthening HPE’s sales discipline and improving simplicity, predictability and consistency in the way the company works with its partner community. 

Pravin Prashant, Consulting Editor, VARINDIA, spoke exclusively to Som Satsangi on HPE India’s performance, IoT strategy, data center and cloud opportunity and growth of services market in India. Excerpts of the interview:  


How has HPE India performed in the enterprise and government sector in FY 2016-17? 
HPE is well positioned to grow in India through its capabilities for delivering solutions to address key government initiatives such as Digital India and Smart Cities. In Digital India, HPE’s hybrid IT offerings have enabled the setting up of national data centers and state data centers to implement various e-Governance projects. 

Resonating with the vision of creating smart cities, HPE continues to partner with various state governments and healthcare institutions to set up HPE eHealth Centers (eHCs) across the country. HPE smart city solutions focusses on traffic management, waste management, street lighting and surveillance which can be leveraged by state governments in India. HPE Aruba has enabled various state governments to offer public Wi-Fi to the citizens. Overall, we are on a growth trajectory across our business lines. Both our products and services businesses are finding new customers while we continue to grow longstanding relationships and expanding our relevance to those customers in these times of big shifts in the adoption of technology. 

Will you please name some of the large and innovative orders bagged by HPE India in FY 2016-17?
In line with our guidance from worldwide, and what we hear from the leading analysts and consultants, technology and digital solutions are disrupting well-established industries and creating new opportunities in others. For example in the manufacturing industry, we are working with one of the top three heavy automobiles manufacturers as they expand and adopt new processes that allow them to use real-time data to make an impact on the services for their end-customers and distribution partners. This company has chosen to modernize its ERP application landscape using our innovative composable infrastructure platform, HPE Synergy.

In the banking vertical, we are working with the two of the top three banks in the country to provide robust platforms for solutions ranging from biometric authentication to securing the network layer with class leading network access control systems, to architecting a complex data management platform allowing the bank to improve its ability to match customer profiles to the best fit of products across the group. 

In the communications vertical, we are partnering with Tata Communications to support the rollout of one of the world’s largest LoRAWAN network which becomes the backbone for several businesses to innovate with new disruptive technology like IoT use-cases. Another example is a large PointNext-led project that will assist the Government of India in its ambitious plan to roll out GST network across the country.

How will HPE succeed in the Idea economy and what will be the role of HPE India?
Our portfolio of products and services is now rationalized to ensure we make hybrid IT simple for the data centers of the future, while powering the intelligent edge with innovative products. We are the only technology OEM to have a robust services to bring all these elements together and aligning them to the customers’ business goals. In India, BFSI has been a key focus vertical for HPE. Technology is changing the baseline and the banking sector is at the front end of these changes, leading to new business opportunities for us around data warehousing, analytics and CRM. For instance, a portion of HPE’s business is anchored to consulting and implementation of services around cloud and analytics. HPE Pointnext, our newly-branded technology services organization, works on very complex projects for large banks. In other verticals too, we are seeing a good pull through our value services in the move to hybrid IT, data and analytics for companies in the telecom and e-commerce space.

Has HPE bagged any corporate IoT project in India? 
We are witnessing the emergence of new use-cases for IoT and they vary by industry vertical and even by the business priorities within. It is in the early days, and we are working closely with some of our large installed base customers on cutting-edge IoT solutions like connected vehicles, fleet management, workspace modernization and more. 

For the IoT ecosystem to function seamlessly, there is a need for a robust networking infrastructure at the backend. HPE has made strides in delivering innovative technology to enable development and delivery of IoT solutions. We are redefining IT at the edge with our next-generation Aruba and computing products for campus, branch and IoT applications. Moreover, we have put together a team to collectively work on IoT and networking, making us uniquely positioned to usher in this new era of IT by delivering innovations for the Idea Economy. 

HPE also enables businesses to simplify connectivity across the IoT ecosystem through HPE Universal IoT Platform, which streamlines interoperability and management of heterogeneous IoT devices and applications. In fact, we have recently entered into a strategic partnership with Tata Communications to roll out the country’s largest LoRaWAN network which is an important backbone for IoT adoption and innovation. 

Projects bagged by HPE India in FY 2016-17 in the telco space for telco cloud?
Worldwide, we are very strong in the telecom space and we want to replicate the same in India as well. We have done multiple projects for various telecom players in the country. Recently, we executed a project for one of the top three telecom companies where they implemented our storage technology to track customer’s behaviour in terms of response time. In addition to telcos, we are working closely with some of the established and upcoming service providers to help them pursue a cloud business model and provide IT solutions to the large number of businesses in the Tier-2, -3 and -4 centres across the country. With public Wi-Fi zones being created across the country, Wi-Fi offload is another huge opportunity for us. 

What about the data center and cloud opportunity HPE seeing in India? 
At HPE, we consistently focus on delivering innovation across the data center, servers, storage, networking analytics and security through our extensive R&D capabilities. Some of the data center innovation from HPE includes HPE Converged Systems, which eliminates the inefficiencies and inflexibility of one-silo-at-a-time infrastructure with software-defined agility and automation. HPE Hyper Converged Systems offers all-in-one virtualization solutions integrating compute, software-defined storage and software-defined intelligence. HPE Synergy, the world’s first product for composable infrastructure, offers compute, storage and networking collectively as fluid resource pools that can be activated for any style or size of workload.

How big is the Intelligent Edge and Industrial IoT application market in India? 
Mobile and IoT can improve workplace productivity and automate decisions, but only when insights come from via secure connections and trusted devices. Aruba ClearPass automatically identifies endpoint types and attributes of IoT and traditional mobile devices across a multi-vendor wired and wireless access network so that IT can see what is on the network. Today’s networks need to provide more than connectivity – they must deliver insights about network performance and user behaviour allowing IT to predict issues before they occur. Aruba’s network management solutions deliver granular visibility and predictive analytics – locally (Aruba AirWave) or in the cloud (Aruba Central).

IoT innovations allow us to effectively compute insights at the edge. To get real-time insights from your IoT sensors and their data, compute at the edge reduces delays and minimizes bandwidth consumption while transmitting data to the cloud or data center. HPE Edgeline enables edge analytics by converging data center capabilities into an industrialized platform for non-data center environments.

What about the services market in India? 
HPE Pointnext is a newly-redefined technology services organization dedicated to helping companies accelerate their digital transformations and make desired business outcomes a reality. It draws on the expertise of more than 25,000 specialists in 80 countries, covering 30 languages and spanning a range of disciplines from cloud consulting experts to operational services experts.  

How is HPE India positioned to leverage SDN and NFV offerings in the data center space?
The Indian data center industry is passing through an interesting phase. The biggest trend in data centers is the demand to virtualize infrastructure and the rush towards the cloud. We are also witnessing a software-defined everything (SDx) scenario where virtualization is not just happening on servers but also with storage, security and networking elements, which is leading to a software-defined data center (SDDC) environment. Additionally, as companies continue to move to cloud, demand for instant access to applications and services with high- quality user experience, puts pressure on legacy network architecture. 
HPE’s new compute strategy shifts the focus from discreet silos to a vast pool of processing resources that can be located anywhere, scaled to any workload and available at all times. 

What is HPE India's plan for FY 2017-18?
Our strategy for FY 2017-18 will continue to be distilled into the following three core areas of focus: Make hybrid IT simple; Power the intelligent edge; and deliver expertise that customers can believe in. 

Make hybrid IT simple: We help customers transition to a next-generation software-defined infrastructure and by delivering an open, workload-optimized software stack.

Power the intelligent edge: Our goal is to be the category creator for converged systems at the edge of the network. We leverage mobile-first disruption to grow in campus segment and capture opportunities from wired/wireless convergence in campus and branch. We see massive opportunity for our expansion to high-growth adjacencies. 

Deliver expertise that customers can believe in: We execute mission-critical projects to help transform our customers’ business and IT functions and doing so demands a high degree of trust in our people and solutions. Our customers rely on our expertise to accelerate their mix toward hybrid IT and provide the flexibility for customers to consume IT the way they want it. As we head into a new year, we will continue to expand attach and penetration rates across the portfolio. 


HPE's India Achievement

•    HPE’s hybrid IT offerings have enabled setting-up of national data centers and state data centers to implement various e-Governance projects
•    HPE Aruba has enabled state governments to offer public Wi-Fi to the citizens
•    HPE is working with one of the top three heavy automobiles manufacturers to use real time data for end customers and distribution partners using HPE Synergy
•    HPE is working with two of the top three banks in the country to provide robust solutions ranging from biometric authentication, securing network layer, and architecting a complex data management platform to match customer profiles to the best fit of products
•    Tata Communications is using HPE to support the roll out of one of the world’s largest LoRAWAN network which becomes the backbone for several businesses to innovate
•    PointNext led project will assist the government of India in its ambitious plan to roll out GST network across the country
•    Working closely with some of HPE's large installed base customers on cutting edge IoT solutions like connected vehicles, fleet management, workspace modernization and others
•    One of the top 3 telecom companies implemented HPE's storage technology to track customer behavior in terms of response time