HP exec: Unlike Amazon, we don’t have to hire enterprise sales experts

Amazon is a cloud leader, but HP says it’s got one big advantage over AWS

In a wide-ranging interview with Bill Hilf, HP’s SVP of Helion cloud product and services, Network World editor in chief John Dix and I asked him among other things about competition with Amazon Web Services - the leading public IaaS cloud computing vendor.

Hilf says he found it amusing when he saw reports that AWS hired a head of enterprise strategy. “I kind of laughed at that,” Hilf said, noting that HP’s heritage is selling to enterprise customers. “We don’t need one of those,” he added. “That’s all we do. We don’t have a special enterprise guy.”

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AWS reportedly hired former Dow Jones & Co. CIO Stephen Orban as the company’s new head of enterprise strategy and brought on Douglas Menefee, the former Schumacher Group CIO in March. Both are expected to act as evangelists to promote the company’s cloud platform.

Breaking into the enterprise market will be a challenge for some vendors, Hilf says. “Google and Amazon really are going to struggle with understanding how enterprises buy,” he says. “As much as they want that to change and for everyone to swipe credit cards, that’s not realistic.”  

Hilf went on to note that along with HP, Microsoft and VMware also have strong enterprise sales heritage. Hilf joined HP last year after nine years at Microsoft, most recently serving as the Azure product manager; he now heads up HP’s cloud product strategy.

Is it a fair criticism against Amazon? AWS touts numerous enterprise clients, perhaps most notably the CIA. It lists dozens of other cases studies on its website, from Comcast to Adobe to GE.

But Hiff says HP doesn’t need to hire enterprise-focused sales reps and evangelists, that’s what the entire company is focused on. HP is one of the leaders in creating business models for selling to enterprise cloud users, he says. Some enterprises are looking for combined private and public cloud bundled together. Others want to be charged for a certain amount of usage per month or per year. Others want to do a pay-as-you go model. HP can satisfy all of those flavors.

Check out much more of what Hilf has to say about HP’s positioning in the market in a Q&A that will be posted on NetworkWorld.com soon.

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