Neri told a San Francisco audience Tuesday that "70% of the data generated today is at 'the edge,'"a concept that refers to distributed networks of devices like sensors, power grids, cars or other devices that aren't continuously connected to the Internet.
"We're going to generate more data in the next two years than in the last 2000 years of human history. That's an incredible challenge: how to process things, secure things, access things," Neri added in comments at a Reuters Newsmaker event.
Having taken the reins from former chief Meg Whitman in February, Neri is tasked with defining the two-year-old company's mission as an IT services company that -- because of Hewlett Packard's history -- many people still associate with printers.
"We have gone through a significant transformation in the last six-and-a-half years... we had challenges in the 2000s, and now we really understand where the market is going," he said.
For Neri, HPE's next multi-billion dollar opportunity lies in the multitude of devices, sensor networks, power grids, and other machinery that make up the 'Internet of Things', as well as the complex, hybrid data storage and nimble processing capabilities needed to power the next generation of devices.
"We see the edge as a huge opportunity because that's where the growth is going to be; that's where the data is generated. That's why we see these edge-to-cloud architectures as a place to invest."
HPE is putting its money where its mouth is. In June, HPE announced plans to invest $4 billion in building edge technologies and services. The investment will involve "research and development to advance and innovate new products, services and consumption models across a number of technology domains such as security, AI and machine learning, automation and edge computing," the company said in a June press release.
HPE's stature in high-performance computing -- where Neri says the company commands 30% of the market -- will help establish HPE as central to increasingly complex computing environments that merge on-premise servers with public clouds, like Amazon's (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report AWS and Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report Azure.
HPE shares inched up 1.67% to $15.23 on Monday. The stock has sagged overall this quarter since Neri warned shareholders of a "challenging second half" of the year owing to a slowing growth rate in its core businesses.
Another dark cloud over the U.S. tech firms, like HPE, that both manufacture products and sell services? The China tariffs threatening to disrupt global supply chains.
"We manufacture three servers every 20 seconds. We have a very complex supply chain," Neri added. "We already manufacture in the US, and we have the ability to manufacture more here, that's not the issue...We do have a global supply chain. It will create some challenges in the near future, but we're a global company."