Aruba better positioned post-HP split
By Benjamin Cher January 11, 2016
- New focus on SMEs, aside from Aruba’s traditional focus on the enterprise
- Workplaces are transforming, and it aims to ride on that trend and grow
COMPANIES make acquisitions all the time, and many have spun off or split their business. Nothing new there in the corporate space. Yet few companies see themselves acquired, then spun off before they can catch their breath.
Aruba Networks, now part of HP Enterprise, is one of those rare companies which have undergone this experience, and its top executive believes the company is all the better for it.
Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) announced its acquisition of Aruba Networks in March 2015, completing the transaction by May that same year.
Two months later, HP announced its intention to split into two companies – HP Enterprise and HP Inc – divorcing its enterprise business from its personal computing and printing business. The split took place internally first, according to Business Insider, before being made official in November 2015.
Through what could have been tumultuous times, Aruba president Dominic Orr (pic above) saw it all first-hand, and says he is amazed at how smoothly it went.
“I joined the company on May 18 last year (2015) as part of the merger, and we announced that by Aug 1 we would operate as two separate companies for 90 days, and split on Nov 1.
“Everything happened on the dot, from the execution point of view – it was an excellent job from the various departments,” he adds, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) when he was in Singapore recently.
One might say that Aruba just happened to be a passenger along for the ride, but Orr denies this, insisting that the acquisition was tied to the split.
“When I first talked to [HP Enterprise executive vice president] Antonio Neri and [HP Enterprise and HP Inc chief executive officer] Meg Whitman about potential combinations for business, there was this energy and focus to really attack the enterprise business,” he says.
“This made me feel that the mobility agenda that Aruba has been driving would have a good platform, rather than with the giant conglomerate of the old HP,” he argues.
Seismic shifts, new focus
The split has resulted in HP Enterprise recording a better performance, with sales rising 3% post-currency adjustment, according to a Re/code report, despite a 2% dip in combined sales with HP Inc.
HP Enterprises’ new focus on cloud-based IT operations, mobility and growth are good starting points that Aruba is excited to be part of, according to Orr.
“Combining the Aruba and HP Enterprise networking capabilities in the framework of the new cloud-based next-generation IT has been a good setup.
“…the last six to seven months have been focused on executing the vision ahead,” he adds.
This vision can be divided into three components: An intellectual property (IP) and research and development (R&D) roadmap; a go-to-market engine; and talent.
On the IP and R&D front, Aruba and HP Enterprise are now at the advanced stage of bringing a product portfolio together, according to Orr – “a mere eight to nine months after the acquisition.”
Meanwhile, the go-to-market engine merger with HP Enterprise has broadened Aruba’s customer focus to include small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he declares.
“HP Enterprise has a very strong presence in the SME market, which Aruba has not participated in traditionally.
“While the last eight months have been focused on penetrating the larger accounts, the focus for 2016 is to add Aruba’s low-end portfolio for the SME market, Aruba Instant, into the HP Enterprise SME engine,” he adds.
Bringing talent together is the final piece. “We are working very hard to make this process as seamless as possible,” he says.
“The organisation has been sorted out – the first phase of any merger is to settle the organisation and identify leaders.
“All the plans have been implemented and we are ready to go high-speed,” he adds.
Orr believes that many businesses will go through a transformation of their workplace over the next two to three years, where “people are no longer deskbound.”
“Your identity in the workplace is more affiliated with your mobile devices or cloud-based logon ID (identity), rather than a physical name tag on a cubicle or an office door,” he argues.
GenMobile (Generation Mobile), a term coined by Aruba to describe the preference for mobility by the latest generation of talent, will be powering this new wave, according to Orr.
“The GenMobile worker is always on and wants access to information anywhere, and this stresses the need for wireless infrastructure, cloud-based applications, and mobility solutions,” he says.
“The driving force for the next phase will be the GenMobile phenomenon,” he adds.
The need for GenMobile to do their work and have their play on the same device is driving the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, and this is partly based on the enterprise not keeping up with consumer advancements, Orr argues.
“In the last decade, there have been more advances in the consumer space than in the office space,” he says.
“The result is the BYOD phenomenon, because people say, ‘Why should I suffer? Why can’t I bring the luxuries of my personal life into my office?’ ” he adds.
This is the big agenda Aruba and HP Enterprise are working on. “We call this ‘transforming the workplace’ – transforming it into a mobile-first, cloud-first environment, that’s the big deal,” declares Orr.
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