HP software chief: Big data role gives Autonomy a boost

After the storm generated by the takeover of Autonomy, Hewlett-Packard software boss George Kadifa says momentum is building behind the big data analytics firm's technology.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor
Executive VP HP Software George Kadifa: Focused on new products and roadmaps. Image: HP

Last week's launch of IDOL OnDemand web-service analytics is more evidence of the resurgence of Autonomy, according to Hewlett-Packard's software chief.

HP Software executive vice-president George Kadifa, who is also a member of the company's executive council, says big-data analytics firm Autonomy is bouncing back from the controversy that followed the $11bn (£7bn) takeover by HP in August 2011.

"We're doing great with Autonomy. Clearly, a year ago it was quite problematic — between disclosures about accounting issues and stuff like that," Kadifa said.

In November 2012, HP issued a statement alleging former members of Autonomy's management team had inflated the underlying financial metrics of the company to "mislead investors and potential buyers".

HP wrote down the value of the Autonomy acquisition by $8.8bn in its 2012 fourth-quarter earnings. It attributed most of that figure — some $5.4bn — to "accounting improprieties". The UK's Financial Reporting Council is examining Autonomy's published financial reporting between January 2009 and June 2011.

Ex-Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has denied HP's accusations and has issued a further rebuttal on behalf of the accounting software company's former management team.

Kadifa said he and Robert Youngjohns, who took over as Autonomy general manager in September 2012, have simply focused on ensuring customers and staff are happy, and on building new products and product roadmaps.

IDOL OnDemand, for which Autonomy is now offering an early-access scheme, gives developers a set of web-service APIs to create applications that can analyse structured and unstructured information including text, images, social media, and app data.

"We want a lot of people to write more applications on top of IDOL because despite everything we can do at HP we can't realise its full potential without our partners and people who want to write more applications on it," Kadifa said.

"It's like having an Oracle database — it has the same potential, if not more."

IDOL, or intelligent data operating layer, enables unstructured and structured human information to be searched and processed.

Autonomy's fundamental expertise lies in the analysis of big data using probability theory to identify patterns across varied data sources.

Kadifa said HP is building more applications around IDOL in situational awareness, security, search and knowledge management, as well as in some vertically-focused applications for specific industries.

"In Q3 we started seeing growth again and in Q4 we've seen more growth, so we're very bullish for this year in terms of doing more. We've introduced a lot of new products with Autonomy like the HP Digital Marketing Hub, which we did in October," Kadifa said.

He also stressed the scale of HP's commitment to Autonomy, despite suggestions to the contrary.

"If you look at the core teams in Cambridge, in Chicago and in the Bay Area, we're actually adding resources and investing in R&D," Kadifa said.

Autonomy's technology is also being used in information management and governance — areas such as adaptive backup and recovery, record management, electronic discovery and archiving.

Kadifa said Autonomy, Vertica and ArcSight are HP's core engines and can work together using integration packs. On top of these engines sit the applications, some of which are created by HP.

"We're taking advantage of all these engines and big data to create fundamentally new ways of using or augmenting our tools," he said.

"For example, in Service Anywhere — our new service-management SaaS product — we're using IDOL from Autonomy to achieve ticketless IT."

Kadifa said HP wants to reach the point where people no longer log service requests.

"When you want something, instead of calling someone and waiting two days to get an answer, you get the answer immediately and it's a high quality answer," he said.

"In the old world, 30 years ago when I started, they were just called expert systems. We're very much at the point now of getting that done."

To underline how widely Autonomy technology is being used by HP, Kadifa pointed to its role in security.

"One area is in video monitoring, even in drones. IDOL has been used in war situations and has saved lives," he said.

More on Hewlett-Packard

Editorial standards