HPE and Ford Motors Give Students Lessons in Digital Transformation and Innovation

Patrick Wheeler, Program Manager On August 12th, 2016

Topics: Customer Enterprise IT P2P / Sharing Economy Products / Services Virtual Reality

Day three of the Technology Career Insight Expedition (CIX) included trips to HP Enterprise (HPE) and the Ford Research and Innovation Center for a look at how established companies are thriving in the digital world.

At HPE, students heard about how the company has had to make difficult decisions to return to its once top spot, including CEO Meg Whitman’s decision to split the company into two separate businesses (HPE and HP Inc.) and then the coming split again when HPE’s services business will merge with CSC. Those decisions and a refocus on the core HPE business have enabled the company to turn around, going from $5 billion in debt to having $5 billion in cash to enable it to move forward with strategic investments needed to thrive in the new cloud-based era of computing.

HPE also showcased the company’s security focus for students, with talks by CDS Alumni MBA Fellow and VP of Marketing for the Security Team, Chandra Rangan T’06. Chandra outlined the impact of new and evolving hacks, including a hack of the Bank of Bangladesh earlier this year worth $81 million dollars, but which almost resulted in the loss of $1 billion. Students also visited the HPE Security Operations Center for a briefing on the importance the company places on protecting customer infrastructure and data.

From HPE, students headed down the street to a different kind of company: Ford Motor Corporation. Recognizing the importance of digital strategies to its business, Ford built a research center in Silicon Valley to usher in a new era for the company.
Ford now considers itself not an automaker, but a mobility company. That shift includes recognition that transportation based on access, not ownership will be the dominant force in the coming decades. As a result, the company is rethinking how it looks at innovation, with key work on autonomous vehicles and other technologies that will enable it to thrive in the digital age.

Ford uses the facility to build partnerships with local resources, including leading universities and venture capitalists. The company has embraced the culture of trying new things that is pervasive in the Bay Area, and hosts competitions for entrepreneurs, including one that resulted in a virtual reality-driven car that works similar to a remote control car.

Day three also included panels with recent Tuck alums working at HPE and wrapped up with a Tuck Tails featuring a panel discussion on networking in the Bay Area hosted by Lever Chief Marketing Officer, Leela Srinivasan T’06 featuring Product Manager at 23andMe, Maggie Misztal T’14 and Business Development Manager at Beepi, Daniel Bilbao T’13.

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