As Chairman of the Board of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Germany, Heiko Meyer has his finger on the digital pulse. Where does he see opportunities and threats? Learn the answers in part two of our CEOs @ CeBIT series.
Today almost anything that a science fiction writer could imagine seems possible: Cars drive without drivers, robots think and turbine parts come out of a printer. Or take the startups that need only a few years to mix up centuries-old business sectors. On the other hand, there is a huge gap between this world of new wonders and the daily realities of many companies and public authorities. Neither euphoria nor resignation is the correct response in this situation. Edison is quoted as saying that genius is one part inspiration and 99 parts perspiration. The good news is that we can accomplish all these digital miracles. The bad news: Getting there is difficult and arduous. But that must not keep us from the path.
In Germany, in particular, we talk a lot about the restrictions we have around digitalization, or that should be created by law. The CeBIT motto represents a conscious counterpoint to this: Let us talk first at CeBIT about the boundless possibilities for creating good by means of digitalization – and then we can look at the problems we have to solve along the way. In that order. This approach also has a solid business-oriented core. Because lack of creativity and risk-taking are among the biggest barriers to opening up new digital sources of income. I am convinced that our biggest risk would be to not quickly and decisively enough leverage the opportunities made possible by digital transformation.
It was more the reverse – we hit barriers before, because we were too big and slow. The speed of innovation in digitization is so high that only the fastest firms can be successful. That is why we decided to overcome these barriers. We spent many years implementing a strategic transformation plan, which included the splitting of Hewlett Packard into the two companies HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise – one of the biggest corporate splits in history – and spinning off parts of our service and software businesses. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, now as before, is a very large, global IT firm, but today we have a very clear focus, we make decisions quickly and we are once again an innovation leader in the sector. With this experience behind us we can say with complete certainty that we know how transformation works.
We must not forget that digitization is done by people, and you meet the best of these at CeBIT. CeBIT plays a unique role with the combination of its trade shows and conferences. In my view it is the only event that may rightly be called the "flagship fair for digitalization".
"We are exhibiting the first prototype for a radically new computer architecture developed for the digital age."
We feel digitalization has entered a new phase – triggered by the rapid spread of the Internet of Things in sectors such as mechanical engineering, logistics and trade. If we want to utilize this potential, it is not enough to pack ever more performance into huge central data centers. We need to bring IT to where the data is generated – that is the only way to manage latency periods, security and exponentially growing volumes of data.
That is the theme of our CeBIT presence. We are showing solutions that make machines, systems and workspaces intelligent. We are showing hybrid IT architectures that connect the Internet of Things, data centers and the cloud. And we will have some of our best consultants there to talk with visitors about their own transformation journeys. We are devoting a special display to the computer of the future, where you will be able to see the first prototype for a radically new computer architecture developed for the digital age.
In five years, HPE technology will be found just as commonly in machines, factories and shopping centers as it is today in data centers. And I will be driving a car with an onboard HPE server connected to a swarm intelligence grid via HPE's IoT platform!