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“Where do you guys come up with these things?” – The birth of a new services portfolio

Mike Cronin is the Vice President, Technology Services (TS) Support, for the Americas Enterprise Group.  He has an extensive background in the services business and has been instrumental in driving the overall growth and profitability of the TS business over the past ten years.  Prior to joining HP in 1989, Mike worked at Apollo Computer, Wang Laboratories and Compugraphic Corporation. He holds an MBA in Finance from Bentley College and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Merrimack College.

There are always a few people who wonder why HP Technology Services offers so many services and why we keep coming up with new ones. The thought is that services should exist to fix what breaks … and how many services do you need to get that done?  

The answer actually is: “quite a few.”  

The downtime consideration
For example, our customers have different tolerance levels for downtime. Those who have little or no tolerance want the fastest possible response. They also recognize the value of proactive services that can help identify and resolve many issues before they impact the company’s operations. They are not too concerned about the cost of services, since they know that avoiding just one downtime incident will more than pay for the cost of even the highest services level and coverage.  

However, customers with a greater tolerance for downtime have totally different response time and cost considerations. We want to make sure we have a portfolio that allows customers to select the type of coverage that’s just right for their needs and their budgets.  

The evolutionary factor #1
Technology has changed dramatically over the past few years. So have the uses organizations make of that technology.  It wasn’t all that long ago that customers were tied to proprietary mainframe or mid-range technologies and their related software. UNIX opened the doors to more standards-based approaches. Now, x86 Windows and LINUX-based systems have created a standards-based revolution. Clearly, the type of support once used for mainframes is no longer appropriate for the vast majority of organizations.  But as the use of x86 systems expands into all areas of the enterprise, neither are the support programs we applied to UNIX-based systems. Support providers like HP need to develop new support programs that reflect where and how x86 systems are being used.  

Here once again, cost is a factor. No one is ready or willing to pay mainframe support prices for one or more x86 servers, even though the x86 units may now be running the same mission critical applications that the mainframes once did. The challenge is to create support that takes into consideration the dramatically reduced complexity and proven reliability of x86 devices, while also providing the levels of support that can match the wide range of applications they run.  

The evolutionary factor #2
The evolution of technology and the marketplace is continuing at an unprecedented pace, especially in the cloud-based world. New capabilities are opening up new opportunities. But they are also creating additional challenges in terms of increased competition, high productivity and efficiency, and demands for innovation in both products and services. Organizations need services – and services vendors - that are flexible enough to adapt quickly to help them respond to the challenges and capitalize on business opportunities, no matter how quickly they change and evolve.

What (or who) is the problem?
Offering a solid, responsive program of hardware-only support may sound like plenty … until you read findings from major analysts who say hardware problems are responsible for only about 20% of all unplanned downtime. The real trouble-makers causing the other 80% are issues related to people and processes. So providing a real program of “support” means finding a way to address those people and process issues for customers for whom unplanned downtime is a major concern and risk factor.

When in doubt, ask
Developing a new services portfolio in a vacuum would be much faster for any service provider. No having to deal with bothersome reality. No having to change and revise and adapt to meet customer suggestions. No testing and re-testing to make sure it delivers actual results. Unfortunately, a portfolio developed in a vacuum would only work correctly in a vacuum. So before we developed or created anything, we sat down with our customers and asked them what they wanted and needed, especially for x86 environments … and we based our new portfolio on their responses. We also tested each part of the portfolio with customers and made changes according to their feedback. Finally, we continue to adapt and improve the new “Care” portfolio, as we call it, to reflect on-going customer input and the continued evolution in technology and the marketplace.  

We feel we have a winner in this new portfolio. The first in a series of year-long evaluations are in for one of its component – Datacenter Care.  It has a worldwide satisfaction rating of 99% with over 91% of customers saying they are “delighted” by the service.  

In the rest of the blogs in this series, I’ll discuss they what’s and why’s and how’s of each service in the “Care” portfolio – Foundation Care, Proactive Care, and Datacenter Care.  My goal is to provide you with a solid answer for that great question: “Where do you guys come up with these things?”  

- Mike Cronin

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About the Author(s)
  • I’m a Global Strategist, a certified (PMI) Project Manager, specializing in business to IT alignment, agility consulting, Infrastructure Transformation and Strategic Architecture for Big Data, Mobility, Private Cloud, Unified Communications and Collaboration. I drive the strategy, vision and content of strategic consulting services in the Big Data IT Infrastructure services area at HP. As part of this, I meet with senior level customers to understand their challenges, conduct workshops to determine future vision and roadmaps as well as presenting at industry and analyst events.
  • Craig Partridge is the WW strategy lead for HP Technology Services Networking group. His role now covers strategy for consulting, professional and support services. The major areas of focus are Mobility, UC, Cloud Networking and IPv6. All aligned to core HP networking solutions - simplified, secure, optimized and available.
  • Don has held roles with the business and marketing of consulting for HP. Currently he supports HP's Client and Microsoft Solutions and the emerging Mobility Consulting services. He holds a MBA from UCLA's Anderson School.
  • Over 12 years of consulting, new technology services development and marketing experience covering data center, IT infrastructure, cloud technology domains. Hande holds a M.B.A degree from Bentley College, MA.
  • Having joined HP in 2003 Ian Jagger is the world-wide marketing and program manager for HP Technology Consulting's Strategic Consulting Services, Critical Facilities Services and Energy and Sustainability Management Services, as well as emerging IT services Prior to his current role, he served as the HP Services Marketing Manager for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, having joined HP in a similar role in the Middle East. Prior to HP Jagger had a 15 year international sales career, culminating in being Sales and Marketing Director for Steelcase Inc addressing Northern Europe before focusing more specifically on marketing. His initial focus was consultancy and interim marketing management, primarily for small to mid-sized customers based or looking to expand in the Middle Eastern region. Immediately prior to joining HP he was a strategic marketing consultant addressing investment targets for a technology fund. Born in Rochdale, United Kingdom, Jagger holds an honors bachelor of science degree in economics and a degree in social psychology from Loughborough University, England. He also holds a Masters Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Chartered Marketer. He has one daughter and lives in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Jeff Enters works in the HP Technology Services Networking organization and consults with customers on their IT strategies. He has over 20 years of consulting, design and integration experience in multi-vendor Voice and Data environments.
  • Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.
  • Jordan Lee has over twenty years of consulting and industry experience, helping some of the world’s largest firms craft and implement their business and IT strategies. His priority is to advise Hewlett-Packard clients how to best prepare for and take full advantage of the dramatic shifts in the IT economy taking place today. Over his career, Mr. Lee has held executive positions both in industry and consulting organizations, where he has provided consulting to some of the largest firms in the US. Over the years, he has helped his clients redesign business processes and organizations, and implement strategic IT programs around ERP, System Integration, Business Intelligence, and IT Infrastructure.
  • Jordan owns the worldwide mobility portfolio for TS Network Consulting and is a OneHP Mobility ambassador. His expertise centers on mobility strategy, client and applications virtualization and enterprise mobility management technologies.
  • Eduardo Zepeda, WW TS Social Media Program Manager & Internal Communications for WW Technology Services Blogging on behalf of HP Technology Services (TS_Guest)
  • Ken Larson has over 30 years of experience in Information Technology aligning business to technology. As an Enterprise Architect, he has delivered many successful architecture related services across business and government sectors in manufacturing, insurance, banking, oil, utilities, US state and federal governments. He is certified in TOGAF and IT Service Management.
  • Laura Cunningham is a CPA and business consultant with HP Technology Services Consulting. She helps CIOs and their teams bridge the gap between what the CIO wants and what the CFO requires by building a comprehensive business case that can withstand financial scrutiny.
  • I am on the WW Cloud and Big Data Solutions Team. I help our customers adopt HP advanced solutions that are made up of products and services from across HP. I have over 30 years experience in the technology business including 17 years of business ownership.
  • Broad mix of experiences developed in more than 20 years of technology-driven innovation. Fascinated by changes triggered by mix of behavior, needs and technology. Bachelor in Theoretical Physics.
  • Working for EMEA TS Consulting, I am a Specialist in end to end management of customer data, from creation through consumption, to protection and preservation and ultimately (controlled) destruction. This includes, host, connectivity, storage, data protection and backup and archive, from a technical and more importantly, operational perspective. I have worked in the storage and data management industry for over 15 years, on both sides of the desk, as a customer and now as a consultant.
  • Patrick Lownds is a Senior Technology Consultant and is involved in designing and delivering both Client Virtualization and Cloud Computing solutions in the datacenter. Patrick co-authored “Mastering Hyper-V Deployment
  • I’m a Global Chief Engineer certified Exchange Architect and Master (MCA and MCM), specializing in Messaging, Mobility, Private Cloud, Unified Communications and Collaboration. This relates to all work to coordinate sales, pursuit and delivery readiness in all services that relate to HP's portfolio around Microsoft Exchange. Includes internal readiness as well as external events, analyst briefings. With 25+ year’s experience in the industry. Thomas has been involved with Microsoft products since 1993. Specialties: - Architecting complex public and private Cloud solutions for Exchange, SharePoint and Lync in standard, dedicated or hybrid scenarios. - Lead the HP specialists team unit to win and acheive our business targets and budget - Drive HP's Exchange Services for Private Cloud - Working with partners, vendors and internal teams to align, expand and grow HP's strategy.
  • Tim Swiader has twenty plus years in the Information Technology industry. He has worked primarily with the fortune 100 and legacy carriers transforming their applications, networks and data center facilities.
  • Tom Clement has over 30 years experience in the areas of adult learning, secondary education, and leadership development. During this time Tom has been a consistent champion of “non-traditional” training delivery methods, including blended learning, virtual delivery (self paced and instructor led), the use of training games and simulations, and experiential learning. Tom has spent the past 25 years of his career at Hewlett Packard, focused most recently on HP’s global Virtualization, Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure customer training programs. Tom manages the strategic direction and overall performance of these training programs, ensuring these worldwide programs help HP’s customers capitalize on the business opportunities made available by IT advancements in each of these subject areas. Tom and his global teammates utilize best in class instructors, course content and supporting equipment infrastructure to deliver these training programs to HP’s customers. The team prides itself on providing the Virtualization, Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure content customers need when and where they need it, anywhere in the world. Tom is based in the Washington, DC suburbs and can be reached at
  • Tari is a Distinguished Technologist with 30 years of IT and cyber security experience. He is dual board certified in information security/business continuity and is responsible for a wide range of management and technology consulting services encompassing information security, disaster recovery, privacy, and risk management. His problem-solving skills, knowledge of various technology platforms, compliance statutes, industries, as well as his experience in deploying defense-in-depth and InfoSec Program solution architectures is commonly applied when advising CIOs/CISOs as well as leveraged in numerous HP client engagements throughout the world. Tari has designed, built, and managed some of the world’s largest InfoSec programs allowing them to defend against even the most aggressive attackers.
  • I provide technical consulting services at all phases including analysis, planning, design and implementation. I have a wide range of experience in WAN and LAN technologies, as well as providing security solutions and deploying operating system infrastructure. Besides working directly with clients to deploy technology in their data centers, I also find myself architecting or discussing solutions with a business’s chief information officer, helping to lay out a roadmap for the coming years.
  • Bill is the Principal Data Center Energy Technologist for HP Technology Services. Kosik is a licensed professional engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Energy Manager, and a Building Energy Modeling Professional. He is responsible for research and implementation of sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible design strategies for data centers. He is currently a subject matter expert for the USGBC on the new LEED Data Centers, the EPA/DOE on unification of energy metrics, and the Green Grid on responding to the EPA’s Energy Star for Data Centers program. He has an engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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