A Relevant and Robust Offering for today's IT organizations
I had a chance to speak with Marc Olesen – VP SaaS for HP Software and Solutions recently. We discussed HP’s offerings in the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and IT Management spaces.
Background: HP’s software organization is a large entity although that may get overshadowed by HP's hardware or services product/service lines. The firm has expanded its PPM software offerings in recent years via acquisitions and the most relevant to this discussion include: Peregrine (2005), Mercury Interactive (2006) and Kintana (2003). The company now possesses a relatively complete and formidable line-up of solutions to help internal IT groups manage complex projects and project portfolios.
So who is HP’s target customer for this solution set? The typical PPM buyer is an IT executive in a large firm (i.e., mid-market to Global 2000) whose firm is undergoing change and wants faster turnaround of IT initiatives. Often this executive is rethinking how his/her IT group will deliver optimal value to the company and the constituents it serves. Given today’s economy, most IT executives in the mid-to-large firm space are being challenged to:
- do more with less - make few mistakes - spend every penny wisely - prioritize (and frequently re-prioritize) initiatives
According to Marc, much of HP’s PPM solution set has been around for about eight years now. While SaaS-based PPM solutions for SMB service organizations have been around a bit longer, solutions for large IT enterprises have mostly been licensed, on-premise products.
Some of HP’s rivals for this market are just recently entering the SaaS space. But, in fairness to all PPM providers for the large end of the market (e.g., CA and IBM), the space is seeing innovation from all sides. Providers of IT Management tools are building out product lines to provide more PPM functionality. Likewise, providers of on-premise products are offering SaaS solutions. And even outsourcers are bringing their competencies to bear in a marketplace that is maturing and evolving simultaneously. All of this activity and investment is a rising tide for the PSA (professional services automation), project management and PPM sectors that will help drive new client interest into these tools. It will also bring more sophisticated solutions and more delivery options to more firms. All in all, these are all changes that benefit IT groups.
HP’s solution also speaks well to the current economy. A SaaS-based tool works in this tougher economy when an on-premise toolset might face a more difficult sales process. Moreover, as Marc pointed out to me, the SaaS products do a great job of eliminating the presence of shelfware (or as I call it: SPOTS (software packages on the shelf)). How? When a customer licenses on-premise software, the implementation may have to wait months or years until capital, hardware and people are available to implement it. With SaaS, you pay for what you use and you get to use it all immediately. A big part of the installation and configuration is already completed. No additional hardware must be procured or configured. Users can get productive very quickly. While this observation is true with almost all SaaS solutions, in the PPM space, the speed of getting a solution operational can be very quick because the system can be brought online one project at a time, if so desired.
Where does this PPM solution fit into HP’s overall IT toolset? HP is offering solutions for: -
PPM (this also includes Earned Value Management and Resource Management capabilities) - Design/Build/Test (this includes Stress Testing, Security, Vulnerability and Assessment technologies) - Service Desk - Change Management - Release Control
HP sees cloud solutions containing these components:
- Infrastructure as a Service (the computing and storage power) - Platform as a Service (the development capabilities) - Software as a Service (the applications level that HP sees as 85% of the action in the cloud)
HP’s SaaS solutions include HP Business Availability Center, HP Performance Center, HP Project and Portfolio Management, HP Quality Center, and HP Service Manager.
HP’s newest acquisition, EDS, will be a sales/distribution channel for this PPM SaaS solution line.