I was pleased to be invited to the Micro Focus “Discover the New” event in London on the 7th of September. This was an event that Micro Focus had billed as an opportunity for partners and customers to meet the Micro Focus leadership team. After the merger of the HPE Software and Micro Focus businesses, the new Micro Focus is the 7th largest software company in the world with an extensive portfolio of software including brands such as SUSE, Attachmate, Borland, Novell, and Serena as well as the former HPE owned brands including Mercury Interactive, Shunra, Peregrine, and the HP Operations Management products.
The first thing that I noticed was the apparent lack of familiar faces. I’ve been attending Mercury, then HP, then HPE events for some time, and so I expected to see lots of people that I knew. However, many people that I met were traditional “Micro Focus” customers including Novell and Serena software users. This reminded me how much of a “game changer” the merger is. Rather than a simple “lift and shift” of HPE software into another organisation, right from the start there seems to be a desire to mix fellow customers together, allowing them to learn from each other. One conference attendee told me how Serena software helped with his release management and I was able to advise him on how LoadRunner could help him with his IoT (Internet of Things) testing. I can already see the potential benefits of merging these two software companies as well as expanding Vivit to allow us to collaborate with existing Micro Focus user groups.
After a chance to meet other attendees, we were called into an auditorium where Chris Hsu explained his vision for Micro Focus. As well as highlighting the facts and figures of the merger, this informative session also gave insights into the future direction of Micro Focus.
Key points for me were:
- Micro Focus is now the 7th largest software company in the world.
- All the companies larger than Micro Focus have small software portfolios (typically fewer than 5 core products). Micro Focus by contrast has a very broad portfolio with good opportunities for them to “cross-sell” or build on the strengths of one product by introducing another.
- Chris Hsu, stressed that the new company now has over 2,000 support people and highlighted the need to ensure that valuable software investments did not become “shelf ware”.
- Chris has a military background, and he stated the fact that for him the “mission is everything”. He expects all his staff to be able to identify how each task that they undertake is helping towards that mission. He reiterated the fact that putting the customer at the centre of their strategy was key.
- A key strategy is to target complex organisations who benefit the most from enterprise-grade software. Embedding features from the former HPE “big data” tools into all software is a key part of their strategy.
After the main session, Chris Hsu took part in a question and answer session with the audience and one person asked him what the greatest threat to Micro Focus was. Chris responded by saying that the biggest threat to all tech companies was "forgetting the customer". He said that it was all too easy to become wrapped up in “tech” and lose touch with customer’s needs and wants. He also went on to say that showing customers how to use the tools properly is vital to prevent them from being discarded when problems are encountered.
I’m really pleased that this re-connection with customers is a priority for Chris, because this aligns well with Vivit’s strategic direction for the user group. We’re working on several initiatives which will help us to encourage mutual support and knowledge sharing to help members to get the best value from their financial and technical investments in Micro Focus software.
After the main session, Chris and his team mixed with the attendees, demonstrating that the new Micro Focus is very keen to hear from customers and help them with their challenges. I had a very interesting conversation with Chris, who has agreed to help with one of my clients, and I would urge anybody attending the “Discover The New” events to take time to talk with the Micro Focus team as well as their peers at these events.