Savvy acquisitions and a perfect storm of trends and economics have given HP's software unit a prominence few would have predicted five years ago. But today HP Software has a big fat data center transformation opportunity staring it in the face.
This isn't your father's ink and PC business. As HP can leverage the open source and Microsoft ecologies, play second source to IBM in many markets (and bigger player in quite a few) and double its services reach with EDS, the enterprise software share of wallet landscape globally is facing disruption and opportunity.
The big question facing HP now is how they make that disruption work for them more than it works against them. Today, in keynote presentations at the opening of the HP Software Universe conference at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, part of the answer become clearer. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
Tom Hogan, senior vice president of HP Software, described the challenges facing CIOs as very hard and getting harder, with the need to adjust to growing risks as well as new opportunities such as mashups, social networks and Web 2.0.
HP says it has a lifeline for the IT departments and leaders over the next five years. The goal is to cut the relative size of IT budgets to revenue for HP's customers. Some of those savings need to shift from operations to innovation, said Hogan. See news from the conferences.
The IT and business growth winners over the next five years will both master efficiency while increasing innovation, he said. HP is spending on R&D and mergers and acquisitions to allow its customers to progress.
The focus on information management is a next large initiative for HP, an area where IBM has been aggressive in acquisitions and market-focused solutions. I guess we can expect R&D and M&A there this year from HP. Maybe an open source database makes sense? Makes sense to me.
Quality, risk, speed, cost, insight, alignment -- these are the areas that HP will provide means for improvement for its customers, said Hogan. The R&D spending at HP is approaching $3 billion per year to help address these improvements.
HP Chairman and CEO Mark Hurd, in taking questions from the audience, said that IT processes must be automated, standardized and that software and services must come together to foster far greater efficiency.
Big trends to keep an eye on today include virtualization and cloud computing, sure, but the explosion of information needs to be managed. The ability to gain intelligence from all the data has never been more important, said Hurd and Hogan. They re-affirmed the role of information management for HP and its customers.
Data warehousing is too costly and needs innovation, said Hurd. It's time to integrate the islands of analytics, but there is too little enterprise-wide BI. Better real-time analytics from larger data sets is the answer, said Hurd. "The key is to get the processes and models right ... We'll take leadership in this market," said Hurd.
In again addressing the pending EDS merger, Hurd said alliances will be enhanced when the ecologies surrounding both companies seek to find ways to leverage each other.
Users sought to get better software support, and Hogan promised improvement via hiring and a better self-help support and portal capability set.
Hurd wants HP to be the best software company at management, including data, systems, processes, services, and integrations, he said. Uber management that reacts in real time and reaches out to all the assets and devices in the enterprise is the major HP software requirement, he said.
In effect, Hurd is modeling how HP operates and what he wants as a CEO to become the roadmap for what HP brings to its customers.
"We transformed 85 data centers to six ... and we found holes (in our go-to-market strategy)," said Hurd. "We understand the way the consumer uses data ... and it will directly effect how the enterprise has to deal with its infrastructure. We don't think of the consumer market and enterprise market as separate, we see it as a continuum," said Hurd.