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

HP's executives try to make sense of the company's problem spots, including on where Autonomy goes from here.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.

Editorial standards