Peter Galanis’s first 100 days

Back in March, Hewlett-Packard Canada Co. announced that long-time leader Paul Tsaparis was taking a position with the American operation, and that he would be replaced by a regional director of global accounts from the Midwestern U.S. Peter Galanis was a name unfamiliar to the Canadian IT marketplace, and he was slow to talk to Canadian press about his assignment and his priorities
One hundred days later, Galanis spoke to ComputerWorld Canada in an exclusive interview.
ComputerWorld Canada: You’re largely an unknown quantity to Canadian partners and customers. What’s the Peter Galanis brand?

Peter Galanis: I’m now in my fifth year with Hewlett-Packard. Prior to this role, I was the director for global accounts for the manufacturing distribution vertical for the central region, based out of Chicago. Prior to that position, I ran the Illinois and Wisconsin marketplaces for enterprise businesses as district sales manager reporting to a central region vice-president.

Prior to Hewlett-Packard, I was at Sun Microsystems for a year and a half. Prior to that, I spent four-plus years with EMC Corp. as district sales manager. And my first 10 years out of school I spent primarily with Xerox Corp., basically for the balance of the 90s.

I graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. I played football, NCAA qualifier for the national playoffs. I was captain of the football team in high school, and I was born in Montreal, Canada.

CWC: I was not aware that you were born in Montreal.

PG: Yeah. I am a Canadian citizen.

CWC: Paul Tsaparis led HP Canada for a long time, and was homegrown talent. It’s been suggested you would be a “tour-of-duty” leader, someone who will come in with a short list of strategic goals, knock them down and move on. Is that a fair assessment?

PG: The way I would look at my assignment, I’m committed to this job and I’m committed to executing the growth plan that HP has in terms of taking market share, pleasing our customers, and doing it in such a fashion that allows us to continue to be the most innovative and important IT company in Canada. In terms of my tour of duty, I see it really see it as open-ended in terms of how long I will be here.

CWC: What are your strategic priorities for HP Canada?

PG: The best way I can answer that is, I spent the first 100 days, I had a goal of meeting 50 customers. I can honestly say that I overachieved that goal. Meeting with these 50 customers, I learned that our customers are pleased with our strategy, with the opportunities they have to partner with us more effectively. I think our customers also feel that we understand them best and understand their challenges. And they look at us as really an innovator in the marketplace.

CWC: There have been a lot of staff changes in the channel and solution provider organization teams lately. Does this mean a new channel direction or philosophy for the company and its partner ecosystem?

PG: We have some of the strongest channel partners in Canada. My personal view of our channel partners is they’re really also our customers in terms of how we need to support them in the marketplace, how we need to support them with training so as we come out with new products, they’re trained and they’re armed to go out there and help us take market share. The channel strategy will continue to go forward.

CWC: How much is the Canadian organization using data centre automation to replace staff?

PG: I’m not sure we break that out, but I believe what you’ll find within the Canadian organization is, there’s a lot of opportunities for our employees to continue to aspire to new career goals. We actually have a number of open head-counts in place. From my lens, it’s really expanding in the marketplace. There’s a lot of opportunities for growth for our employees. Right now, if you were to go to our Web site, we have 57 sales positions open.

CWC: Are you encouraging me to apply?

PG: (Laughs) We need good people …

CWC: How was the transition? Did Paul have any significant advice for you about running the Canadian operation?

PG: I feel that I was fortunate in the first 30 days to really spend a significant amount of time transitioning internally, understanding how Paul ran the organization. He also was very instrumental in bridging some of the current relationships we had in terms of building the business in Canada. You really don’t get that in positions like this many times. Having him here was really a bonus.

CWC: I’m holding my breath for a tablet that runs on WebOS. How long will I be waiting?

PG: (Laughs) You know, I think that would be a question for Charles (Salameh), who leads our personal systems group. But I’m in that same boat. I can’t wait to get one.

CWC: Speaking to an analyst back when the announcement of your appointment was made, he suggested on of your specific goals your short list might be to catch IBM on the services side. Is that a realistic assessment?

PG: There’s no doubt that as you begin to understand our customers’ vision, our customers’ priorities, going back to the customers I’ve met so far, it’s obvious that a growth engine for HP is going to be services. When you look at a typical pizza pie, if you will, of IT spend, roughly 20 per cent is earmarked for hardware and innovation, another 20, 25 per cent may be earmarked for new projects and capital expenditures, and then the balance, the lion’s share of that IT spend is very interrelated to services. So our ability to capture the hearts and minds of our customers in the services space is certainly going to be a big, big focus for us.

CWC: In terms or how your attention is going to have to be distributed, how much focus is going to be on enterprise hardware, how much on services, how much on the consumer side?

PG: My job is president and CEO, I’m the legal officer of HP Canada, and I’m also vice-president of the enterprise business. So my focus is to first provide the necessary leadership across the entire portfolio, and then also at the same time, in parallel, continue to drive the enterprise business. And when I define the enterprise business, I would also include enterprise services. I really don’t see it as separate. I see it together. When you talk to our customers, they don’t distinguish, when they look to us to understand their vision, when they look to us to address the challenges they have with needing infrastructure that’s more elastic, needing the ability to have line-of-sight to their information, so that they gain competitive advantage, and needing innovation, it’s difficult I think to distinguish between services and hardware. I think you really have to look at it from a services standpoint.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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