CEO Meg Whitman on HP's problem spots -- including Autonomy

CEO Meg Whitman on HP's problem spots -- including Autonomy

Summary: HP's executives try to make sense of the company's problem spots, including on where Autonomy goes from here.


Following an uneasy third quarter earnings report, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman went on the defensive for the company, outlining where HP is doing well but acknowledging there is a whole lot more that needs fixing.

"We’re still in the early stages of the turnaround," Whitman told investors and analysts during the quarterly conference call on Wednesday afternoon, adding that there are some challenges ahead but asserting that HP still had a "decent quarter" overall.

But in regards to the declining revenue and lowered outlook, HP has been tossing around the term "headwinds" around a lot in this earnings report. Whitman outlined three, in particular, that HP is facing: macroeconomic and industry trends as well as challenges with HP's execution.

Whitman commented that the first two will likely remain through the fourth quarter and "well into 2013," but she admitted that the third one is something still lagging considerably as HP tries to save itself.

"The reality is we're locked in serious competitive battles, but we're determined to win," Whitman said.

One of those areas where Whitman says HP is both doing well but also needs work is the enterprise sector -- especially the Autonomy unit.

Autonomy still requires a great deal of attention and we've been aggressively working on that business. Among the many changes we've instituted is a global dashboard to track Autonomy's pipeline, a single global sales methodology, a single HP Services engagement process, and a global process to measure client satisfaction and service delivery progress. These actions are designed to help deliver predictable results and improve after sale customer satisfaction.

We crossed an important customer milestone with Autonomy live vault. For content archiving, passing the 10,000 customer mark during the quarter, demonstrating great momentum for this HP cloud service. Overall we have a very long way to go but we are taking steps to fix the problems and help Autonomy succeed.

HP chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak added during the call that "we have a lot of work to do over the next several quarters to improve Autonomy performance, and we will be focused on improving pipeline conversions and execution across the entire software business."

Just one year ago, HP announced that it was acquiring Autonomy amid a flurry of speculation and buzz after the reveal. However, it has been a very bumpy road for the unit since then with many former Autonomy execs and employees jumping ship -- especially in May when Autonomy founder and former chief executive Mike Lynch also departed the company.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Enterprise 2.0, Tech Industry

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  • About Time

    Well, now they're determined. Problem solved. Darn shame Mr. Hurd hid that "Be determined" button when he left. Or was it Ms Fiorina who inadvertently packed the button with the millions she was paid to darken someone else's door?

    Poor Ms. Whitman. Every quarter we get further lessons in how to sell a disaster. So, 10,000 subscribers to Autonomy and they've built a satisfaction metrics pipeline. That sounds like a lot work. More work than figuring out what the customers want before the customers do?

    Could be.
    • CEO Meg Whitman on HP's problem spots -- including Autonomy

      fiorina was instrumental in expanding hp's presence in the enterprise space. hp doesn't care about compaq's product line, they were after the enterprise and services. fiorina failed to execute because of internal resistance, not because the acquisition was wrong. hurd owned the added-value of compaq acquisition as his (what a dork!)... whitman may turn around hp since the economy is starting to move north. she is at the right place at the right time!
  • Autonomy...

    ...Is a small niche product, not a "save the company" product.
  • The trouble with HP is ...

    The trouble with HP as I see it is that they have become fickle over the years. They were originally doing a whole myriad of things from scientific and medical equipment, to large mainframe type computers (really just large "minis"), workstations, calculators, PCs, printers, etc. Then they seem to have dropped or seriously cut back from a number of these markets, for what ever reasons (too much competition, soft market, etc.), it doesn't really matter. I understand some of the convergence to Wintel compatible boxes, but de-emphasizing the other markets was a mistake. They have just become an also ran that sells PCs.

    They have recently only been selling PCs (Wintel boxes) of various sizes and flavors and printers. Then they a tried to get into the mobile market in a big and great way with the purchase of Palm and then dropped out of that and tried to drop out of the PC market as well. What were they thinking? While PCs did not provide a great deal of profit margin, it still provided a large chunk of their overall profits and then they announce they are leaving the PC market!

    My questions are:
    * what does HP hope to be doing and selling in 10 years?
    * why should any large customer think they can count on a relationship with HP when they are so willing to drop major product lines?
    * why would consumers even want to buy from a company who has already shown itself to be fickle when it comes to sticking by a product and supporting it?
  • "We're still in the early stages of the turnaround." Translates to:

    "We're floundering badly, and have no idea if we know what we're doing or where we're going. We are probably doomed, but you're all welcome to come along for that ride."
  • CEO Meg Whitman on HP's problem spots -- including Autonomy

    hp should go back to its core competency, that is developing products that give good returns to its investors, by rebuilding its r&d prowess. while other big players were busy researching and developing the next big thing, hp was busy acquiring businesses with devious market feasibility and then writing them off....