The biggest issue facing Tom Hogan, the senior vice president of HP’s software division, could well be avoiding smugness. Not that Hogan seems to be a smug man or that HP is a smug company. It is just that he is the man now sitting on top of a company that has gone from being a nearly man in the software space to being a major hitter in a very short space of time.
“We have grown the software business very quickly,” Hogan pointed out, “from $1bn to $3bn in two years”. That is fast growth indeed, albeit mainly through acquisitions, one of the most recent being the services business, EDS. It has spent $6bn in the process.
Hogan was speaking at Software Universe, the company’s annual software show for customer and partners, on Tuesday. The show is running for three days in Vienna.
In these tough times, the marketing budgets and the international travel that goes with them are being hard hit. But not for Hogan who in his keynote pointed this out. The winners in tough times were the companies that could tough it out and had the resources to do so. he said. So it is with HP, Hogan said.
“At a time when companies are cutting back on their budgets for travel and so on, we think it is important to show our confidence in this market, “he said.
An ability to support a major customer and partner event like Software Universe was one thing but what HP had to say was even more telling. This is a company that has been through 10 major acquisitions. Other companies may buy lots of smaller companies. HP prefers to spend a lot of money on buying a market leader.
Companies like Mercury Interactive, for over $4.5bn, two years ago for example.
As Hogan pointed out, all of the companies that HP buys are, ”number one or two in their market”.
That is all very well, but buy a lot of different companies in the software business and you could wind up with one company just made up of lot of different companies. How does a company go about trying to integrate them into one unit? I hope to find out.