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HP is reinventing itself as the George Clooney of the apps ecosystem. Paul Evans, head of application transformation at HP explains how the company is delivering both sex appeal and maturity.

Apps haven’t traditionally been the first thing that spring to mind when you think of HP but having delivered more than 700 mobile app based projects it’s an increasingly important part of the HP business and one that the traditional IT vendor is determined to be a greater part of.

As head of worldwide marketing for the application transformation solutions business at HP Paul Evans is the man tasked with changing perceptions of the HP business and promoting how the company, and the businesses that engage it, can deliver in a modern world.

“Our application transformation programme is about allowing organisations to understand two things. The first is how they exploit the world of mobile apps in line with their business priorities,” says Evans. However he points out that importantly HP considers the whole picture and how apps are embedded into businesses’ systems and processes rather than just standing alone. “We don’t think just of the mobile app, it’s a total connection between the front and back end,” he says.

Which brings Evans to the next point: “The second element is about working with organisations so they can understand how to improve the back-end experience. Most will say they have too many applications and will also be trying to understand the migration to the cloud. The application transformation programme deals with those elements,” he says.

How that actually happens varies, according to Evans. “The first thing we start with is a discussion about what is the business requirement. Some will say we want you to come in and build this app. Others will say we want you to reduce our number of apps. Others will say our competitors are doing neat things with mobile apps and we need to step up to the bar. It can be about driving growth through customer experience or a differentiation through a better customer experience but the point is that it’s always business led,” says Evans.

It’s this business-led approach that is key to HP’s strategy. “Apps are very sexy and it’s easy to get very excited but sometimes businesses forget they are actually doing it,” he says. And it is here where the company’s George Clooney reference comes since HP is promoting both good looks and the maturity of experience that it, as a traditional IT vendor, can bring to the table. “Organisations are saying we need a cool, sexy app that people say 'wow I love that app!' but what organisations are also looking for is 'how are you going to tie this app into my back end environment'? More and more organisations now see this balance between app and backend,” says Evans, who believes there should be an equal balance between both.

As a traditional IT vendor in the new world HP doesn’t pretend to know it all and therefore it is investing in building up its internal team and partnering with more innovative, agile agencies where appropriate. “We’ve now delivered over 700 mobile apps projects but tend to work with organisations that would rather we build the app but don’t shout about it. We bring in new people and partner with those that we want to work with. There is no organisation today that has everything a customer wants and we are not arrogant enough to say we can do everything. It comes down to sitting down with the customer and understanding what are they trying to achieve. It’s not just about looking at things from a technology perspective but looking at other requirements IT vendors haven’t traditionally engaged with such as marketing and business in general to ensure a holistic approach,” says Evans.

But as with any app build design is key, he believes. “For us design is at the centre of this. I can’t say that strongly enough. We have our own user experience design team and those people are very different to the people you would have traditionally seen at HP because they are not the traditional deep technologists. That’s a group of people we are building up all the time.”

And HP’s partners are in this space too. “The type of companies we work with are developing apps and design centric apps. We aren’t doing away with the companies that have the more traditional skills. We are looking for companies that are setting the standard in terms of mobile apps design and building up a network of partners at the same time as building up our own skills,” says Evans.

So will Clooney be part of that at Apps World Europe this October? Will he be sharing the stage with Evans? Sadly it seems not. “No he won’t actually be there in person,” laughs Evans. HP will though. See Evans deliver his keynote session at 9,30am on day one within the Enterprise World track at the show. 

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