A tech legend gets a fresh start.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s star is on the rise as an independent Silicon Valley venture.
San Jose, California
in revenue for FY19
Build a brand-new global “day one” website
Scale to 45+ geographies and 10+ languages
Surpass industry uptime standards
Ranked #6 overall and #1 in systems on siteIQ
Localised and personalised pages for over 55 regions
Achieved 99.9% uptime over a 5-year period
“When we launched in 2015, we were no longer the 75-year-old company that’d been around for a while. We’d become a brand-new company, but with extensive industry knowledge and expertise. We wanted to show a fresh face to our audiences and creating a new website was one of the biggest steps we took. That’s what led us to Adobe.”
HPE Senior Manager, Systems and Platforms Management
The story of Hewlett-Packard is the stuff of Silicon Valley myth.
It’s 1938. Two Stanford graduates, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, come together with no startup capital, but a lot of big ideas. Working out of a garage, they start to land on some exciting innovations. They sell oscillators to Walt Disney. Set the standard for international time with the HP 5060An atomic clock. Develop a proto-computer that paves the path to PCs. And eventually become a global technology superpower that’s still making waves, 75 years later.
If it sounds like Hewlett-Packard contained too much brilliance for a single company, that’s because it did. In 2015, the tech giant decided to split in two. One half would focus on consumer products — the personal computers and printers the HP name is renowned for. And the other half would take the initial spirit of the founders and translate it into an edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company. Now known as Hewlett Packard Enterprise or HPE, this second organisation is completely independent from HP, but with strong roots in the mythos that’s arisen from their past century of innovation.
Today, HPE offers IT solutions engineered not just to help enterprise clients grow, but to advance life as we know it. On the surface, they sell IT infrastructure solutions, products and services that extend the power of data not just to the cloud, but also to the core and edge. What this looks like in practice is boundary-breaking, technology-driven projects that shake up the status quo. Like helping clients find cures to diseases. Fuelling scientific discoveries. And building a more sustainable world.
But before the new company could continue the legacy of their founders, they needed to take care of one small piece of business — build a website worthy of the HPE name.
Starting from square one
As a legally separate entity from HP, HPE needed to build their website from scratch. With decades of learnings from hp.com behind them, it was an opportunity to take the website in a strategic new direction. All the former technology, digital strategy, web structures and content from HP were no longer resources available to HPE — nor were they holding them back. HPE needed strong leadership and insight into the future to create a website that could align with their vision.
“HPE was a new company that deserved a fresh start,” said HPE Senior Manager, Systems and Platform Management, Keith Orchard. As a seasoned professional in all aspects of web management, Orchard worked with HPE Director of Digital Technology Robert Folk and the upstart web marketing team to realise this very important — and very high-visibility — project. Having worked at some of Silicon Valley’s most respected companies and run his own web business since the 90s, Orchard was well prepared to lead his team to success. Though steeped in years of website-building experience, Orchard retained a unique way of looking at projects. In his view, websites should be more than high-tech information repositories. They should provide a human experience and tell an immersive story.
After all, stories are where Orchard got his start. As a journalism student, he found himself disappointed with the flatness of newspaper stories — images and words, but nothing else. Orchard imagined a format that would be engaging and dynamic and that could evolve as his stories developed. At the time, the web was just starting to become commonplace. Publishing his pieces to the Internet changed everything. As Orchard says, “When I put my first story on a website, I was amazed at being able to show movement, continually update it and interact directly with the audience. I went 100% in with websites after that.”
With this dynamism in mind, Orchard and Folk sat down with their colleagues to start planning the brand-new HPE website. The goals were straightforward yet fundamental to the success of the project. To start, the new site needed to be fast. As a technology company, HPE needed to showcase the speed and functionality they could offer their own clients. And without any legacy systems in place from hp.com to slow them down, there were no excuses. Next, the website needed to be nimble and flexible to allow for easy, efficient scaling. Though HPE was technically a new company starting from scratch, there was no doubt they would become a global powerhouse in a short time frame, retaining their core markets and extending into new and emerging markets quickly. And finally, hpe.com needed to be able to tell a measurable and engaging story — something that would give a nod to their heritage while capturing the excitement and importance of the new company.
The content management system (CMS) HPE chose would be fundamental to building the engaging, powerful website that they envisioned.
Creating a strong but flexible foundation for tomorrow
“As we were building for our Day One launch, we knew we had to take the future into account. We wanted to have a system in place that could support anything, from targeting audiences to rolling out new countries to language localisation to providing analytics and tracking engagement — even if we weren’t going to use it straightaway,” said Orchard.
Despite the many options under consideration, for Orchard and team there was only one real choice for a CMS that would help them to meet their specific goals. Adobe Experience Manager had the exact set of attributes that HPE needed to build the website that would best serve their new business. With intelligent templates, reusable content blocks and simplified asset management, it had the speed and efficiency the company was looking for. As part of the overall Adobe Experience Cloud, it was extensible — but also open, so HPE could use it in combination with other digital marketing solutions of their choosing. And with its focus on customer experience, Experience Manager would provide the company with a platform on which they could tell the HPE story.
“Adobe has the Cadillac of product offerings. Not only is it extensible, but the breadth of products it offers to digital marketers is great,” said Orchard.
HPE needed a CMS solution with technical capabilities as strong as its storytelling capabilities. But because they had already created their own hosting environment, Helion Cloud, they wanted to be able to use it. They planned on using the CMS APIs to pull in additional website data for site search, product collateral and digital marketing assets, including brand photography and videos. SEO was another huge consideration, since hpe.com would be starting from scratch and needing to build up its page rankings. Experience Manager covered all these bases. “We can have different databases, different servers and different interconnected applications. And the ability for Adobe's product line to adapt and offer different solutions to suit our needs was pretty important,” Orchard said.
The specifics of scaling with Experience Manager were also critical in HPE’s choice to use Experience Manager. The initial launch was already going to be a heavy lift, with a requirement to go live in 45 regions, 10 languages and 50 country-specific sites. And with a base website of about 15,000 pages, the volume of work was bordering on astronomical. But with Experience Manager, the job was as simple as hitting “publish” and letting its powerful scaling capabilities do the rest. “The ability to publish once and have content replicated in all our markets is a huge time saver. We can have those sites live within an hour, globally. It's a big deal, especially when you have a news item come up or a new product launch. It really gives you the ability to quickly produce something that can be consumed by your audience in a timely manner,” said Orchard. Today, HPE is continuing to expand into new markets quickly, tailoring the experience to audiences on each of its 500,000+ pages.
Telling a story that sells
With the core functionalities of the new website taken care of, the digital marketing team turned their attention to telling the HPE story. Each of the hundreds of thousands of pages played an important part. Inspired by his journalism days, Orchard knew that the story he was telling would only come to life if the pages were as dynamic and engaging as possible. “At HPE, we don't build your old, stale web pages. We have very hardworking pages,” said Orchard. The pages Orchard and team built for hpe.com featured dynamic navigation, localised content and personalised banners based on user behaviour. With rich media, interactive graphics and live customer engagement capabilities, the HPE web pages were anything but stale. Each one pulled its weight in creating a holistic customer experience.
As Orchard reiterated, “It all comes back to building that single hardworking page.”
Personalisation was the next element the digital marketing team needed to address to get the most benefit out of every page. Experience Manager enabled personalisation for every page so content could dynamically change based on language, geography and customer behaviour. Customers from around the world would get tailored experiences that automatically adapted to their needs and preferences. And because Experience Manager tracks and monitors individual pages, this data could be used to extend the customer experience past the page and into ads, emails, demand generation and more.
But the job of the new HPE website didn’t end at personalisation — it also played a vital role in helping the company make online sales. Despite their high-level offerings, HPE sells products and services online, just like any typical e-commerce website. For Orchard, the best-possible experience for HPE customers would be to transform the expectation of a long, complex buying journey into something simple and easy. “Ultimately, what we want to do through our touchpoints is develop ongoing engagements, communication and sales with our customers,” Orchard said. With help from Experience Manager, the digital marketing team was able to produce a powerhouse of a website that told their story, adapted to customer behaviour and streamlined the buying experience.
Rising through the ranks
Adobe and HPE have worked in close collaboration since 2015 to ensure the success of hpe.com. With Adobe Consulting Services, the HPE team has had dedicated help to get the most value out of their investment. “I talk to Adobe daily,” said Orchard. Despite the large size of both Adobe and HPE, the relationship between the two organisations has been close and collaborative. As Orchard said, “One of the great strengths of Adobe is the continued relationship that we have — not just an annual call or meeting, but the ongoing communication we have on a daily basis.”
All the time the HPE and Adobe teams put into building hpe.com has paid off. Since 2015, the website has had a mere five hours of downtime, as opposed to the average three hours monthly that most websites experience, according to hostingfacts.com. Add to this the increasingly high ranking of hpe.com on siteIQ — which evaluates the world’s best websites according to usability — and it’s safe to call the project a success. In 2018, hpe.com was ranked at #14. The following year, they’d moved up to #6.
Five years after their start, HPE has earned a name for itself outside of its 75-year-old heritage. At the rate they are going, the company is well on its way to becoming a Silicon Valley myth of its own.
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