Why HPE is not a “best-in-class” vendor

The short answer is their Service. A best-in-class vendor has to provide exceptional products, delivery… and service, all at competitive pricing. HPE makes some pretty nice equipment that generally performs well, but if you need to call for support, that’s where the fun ends. It’s no secret that HPE has had problems delivering good technical support for years. This is not just my experience. I’ve heard this from many others as well.

For desktops, laptops, networking, and servers… HPE’s support is very convoluted, often requiring multiple calls to get a technician who understands your problem and is authorized to act on it. Then the corrective action is slow to come and can feel like you’re just starting all over. Oddly, printer support still seems to be OK. For now.

Even on a 24×7 4-hour contract, I’ve had to fight them to respond in less than 2 days. That’s just unacceptable. But over time, I’ve learned to speak their language, using the right terms and making specific demands they cannot ignore.

This is not how a world-class enterprise should be treating its customers. Calling for support should not make you regret the purchase. I cannot afford to spend hours on the phone to get critical infrastructure repaired. And I will not knowingly recommend or sell a solution that may introduce the same pain to a client.

When/why is HPE this way? Well, we can start with the name. As I recall…

  • “HPE” is HP Enterprise … for now. But it used to be just “HP” until they split the consumer and commercial sides. Now HP for consumer products is HP, while HPE is (mostly) for business.
  • That change occurred after “HP” simply stood for “Hewlett-Packard” and all the products were under a single hat. Since the two founders went their separate ways, keeping the name was still important, so the HP it has been.
  • But that happened after a certain CEO convinced the board of directors to merge the company with another large computer company, but to divide the operations between commercial and consumer. In that case, HP stood for business and printers, including the enterprise products from Compaq. Everything else was Compaq. The process was so costly and created so much confusion that the board was forced to fire the CEO and reshuffle under new leadership.
  • But before all that, the company was simply “Hewlett-Packard” named after the two founders, and everyone just abbreviated it to “HP” for convenience. The printers and computers made them famous, even a household word.

It seems that all this constant pushing, shoving, stretching, and pulling the company apart, along with the several major acquisitions over the years, has created layers upon layers of bureaucratic support bloat within the organization that suffocates the company internally. The end result is that even they don’t know who to call for help.

Misery loves company, I suppose.

So until HPE gets its collective poop in a group and I hear great things about their support, I’ll continue to look elsewhere for the best desktops, laptops, workstations, servers, and networking products. And if you value your uptime, you will too.