“Responding to change is okay,” observed Rob Mesaros, before pausing.
But in addressing an audience of key channel partners in Melbourne, that was never going to be the takeaway line.
“It’s better to lead it,” added Mesaros, speaking as vice president and managing director of HP South Pacific.
“But not understanding it and letting it wash over you, well, there are corporate graveyards filled with iconic companies that we all have grown up with.”
At one time, industry critics were digging HP’s grave too. Branded a “lost cause” with double digit decline in PC shipments, this was no longer a titan of technology, rather a dinosaur on borrowed time.
And even the most ardent of supporters would have had to agree, because pre-2015, the future looked bleak for one of the industry’s most iconic brands.
A much-needed breakaway with Hewlett Packard Enterprise soon followed and since officially striking out alone on 1 November, 2015, the vendor has excelled, overcoming a “challenging and somewhat volatile” industry to advance into a market leading position.
Triggered by a revamped PC strategy, strategic vertical plays and a push into premium devices, it’s a story well documented for the nimbler, more focused HP.
“We’ve had great times, we’ve had challenging times but fundamentally what has stood the test of time is a great reach of channel partners with capabilities wrapped around innovation and making sure it’s customer-centric and forward looking,” added Mesaros, in a direct hat tip to local partners.
“We’re responding to change and HP has been accelerating innovation since we separated.”
In looking ahead, a healthy HP is stepping back from the chaos to outline the mega trends set to shape the future world.
“How do we lead this change instead of being led by it?” HP Tech Ventures vice president and global head Andrew Bolwell asked.
It’s a bold position to take and a tough question to answer, but in addressing the channel at HP Evolution 2017, Bolwell bridged the gap between today and tomorrow, as consumer and commercial behaviours edge closer together.
“We can’t predict the future, but we can understand mega trends – global social, economic, demographic or technological forces – that can help us to pave the way,” he said.
Specifically, HP is honing in on four mega trends in 2017 and beyond.
In a direct reference to rapid urbanisation, with more people moving into cities, the ripple effect will be an addition of 1.8 billion new consumers in the world economy, 95 per cent of those in emerging markets.
According to Bolwell, this will result in a bigger shift towards services and new business models.
Secondly, the changing demographics of the world show an ageing population and a new generation of millennial consuming technology in different ways. For Bolwell, both will impact the workplace in equal measure.
As a result of hyper globalisation, Bolwell said the industry is seeing a rise in the number of companies that are changing the basis of competition, such as Uber.
To stay ahead, Bolwell advised partners to zone in on local markets and its requirements, in addition to creating collaborative strategies across boundaries.
Citing the growth of hyper-mobility, the Internet of Things, smart machines, and 3D transformation, Bolwell added that accelerated innovation in the market will change the future demands of the customer, and the emerging opportunities for the channel as a consequence.
“At HP, we’re using mega trends to identify future research areas for our labs, understanding which start-ups to invest in, and how to improve our products and services so that we can meet the needs of our partners and end-users in the future,” Bolwell said.
As a first step, Bolwell advised organisations to have “an open mind” when it comes to technology and innovation.
“You have to disrupt yourself before someone else does,” he added. “At HP, we want to see how we can [work with partners and end-users] to create the most compelling future possible.”
Hafizah Osman attended HP Evolution 2017 as a guest of HP