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HPE’s Neil MacDonald on evolving tech infrastructure amid pandemic

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Neil MacDonald, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Compute at HPE, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the tech enterprise company is faring amid pandemic and weigh in on the IT challenges companies face by working from home.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: All this week on Yahoo Finance, we have been having some fascinating conversations with all different sectors of what rebuilding America is going to look like, if indeed we do get the passage of an infrastructure bill. Of course, technology is a part of that infrastructure. And we're joined now by Neil MacDonald. He's senior vice president and general manager mentor of Compute at HPE.

Neil, thank you so much for being here. So talk to me about, you know, as we think about traditional infrastructure, we think about things like roads and bridges. But then, of course, now we have to take into account connectivity, for example, digitization. And so, what role does somebody like an HPE and what you guys do play in this infrastructure conversation we're now having?

NEIL MACDONALD: Well, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we work with companies of all sizes all over the world in enabling their transformation. And the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for that in so many ways. Companies that were already becoming more digital have had to become more digital more quickly, and companies that weren't on that journey have had to get on the journey very quickly.

And as a result, there's a need to evolve the underlying infrastructure to enable that. You need an infrastructure with the right economics, with the right security, with the right agility to enable that kind of change in business models and in systems to adapt to the new reality that businesses all over the world are living with.

If you think about the shift that's going on with all of the limitations on our movements and our ability to go interact face-to-face with so many businesses we would have in the past has really meant that businesses have had to shift many, many more of those interactions to a digital experience. And that requires really transforming the underlying computing infrastructure in order to enable businesses to reach their customers and to execute on those transactions.

And we've been working in many different spaces to bring those capabilities to our customers. And that will create the financial capacity to execute on those transitions. It has been a really challenging year.

BRIAN SOZZI: Neil, where do you see the biggest deficiencies in our tech infrastructure? And because, theoretically, that's where this infrastructure bill needs to be focused.

NEIL MACDONALD: So you think about the shift just in terms of our work. We've been in situations where we're having many, many, many, many more people work from home or work remotely, rather than being in offices. So at a very basic level, this means that the buildout of the infrastructure to enable that remote work and to enable it securely and efficiently is incredibly important.

And that's something that some many organizations have had to deal with, with our customer-facing organizations. Or even in medical settings and in manufacturing settings, you see the needs to build out a different type of experience in the workplace. And that's meaning that you have to move more capability to the edge. And in some cases, that edge is your workforce. In some cases, that edge is where you're now performing other forms of computing and service.

Whether you are working on technologies like AI or data analytics, more and more of that data is getting generated remotely from a classic data center. And you need the ability to actually process and react to that data in near real-time, whether you're thinking about really exciting opportunities in automated driving at the very extreme end, or much more mundane things, like the automated management of infrastructure in an environment where you maybe can't have the level of access from your workforce that you've enjoyed in the past.

And all of that really has shifted the nature of how corporate infrastructures are getting built and really placed an emphasis on picking the right underlying technology infrastructure that can bring that economics, that agility, and that security that we talked about.

BRIAN SOZZI: Now the compute business, Neil, is made up of a couple different components for HP. So explain to an average investor that maybe searching around, thinking about buying your stock, which component of your segment would benefit the most from infrastructure? For example, if you just simply sell more servers.

NEIL MACDONALD: Well, if you think about the end-to-end infrastructure, it's really important that the systems that are deployed can be securely managed. They can be efficiently operated. And as you have more and more business moving digital, then that drives an ongoing consumption of new infrastructure. And whether that's in a corporate data center, whether that's in a remote site, whether that's in an industrial setting, whether that's in retail, there is an ongoing evolution in that technology that continues.

And what we're seeing in the context of the pandemic is that some of those transitions are just accelerating in that organizations are having to move more rapidly to evolve those business models and these processes. And that drives a need for ongoing investment in their underlying infrastructure. And across that whole spectrum, we participate as Hewlett Packard Enterprise in really helping our customers accelerate what's next. And what's next is coming quicker and quicker and quicker with all of the pressures to transform and adapt to this new environment.

JULIE HYMAN: Indeed it is. Neil MacDonald, thank you so much, sir. Senior vice president and general manager of Compute at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Appreciate your time.