Now that the HP-EDS deal has been consummated

The Irregulars draws its 'crew' from a wide and varied group of technology interests. One is Charlie Bess, an EDS Fellow.
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

The Irregulars draws its 'crew' from a wide and varied group of technology interests. One is Charlie Bess, an EDS Fellow. These are the brightest of the brightest among EDS thinkers and we are honored to have Charlie's insights. Now that the HP-EDS deal has been consummated, Charlie felt free to comment on how he sees the merger and its potential. With his permission, I have lifted his eloquent post on the topic for reproduction here:

For about 10 years, I played trombone in a circus band for about a month out of every summer. One of the things I witnessed every year was the trapeze. In this act, there are catchers and flyers. Catchers catch and flyers fly. The flyer needs to let go of the bar and not focus on catching but on launching themselves into the gap, in order to achieve greatness.

EDS has historically been the catcher. In this merger with HP, EDS needs to change its mindset and become the flyer. It's not an easy thing to do. The bar may seem like a safe place, but it prevents you from reaching your potential.

There is a quote from Marilyn Ferguson that comes to mind:

"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between we fear. There's nothing to hold on to."

From the limited interaction I have had with the folks working on the merger activities, the HP-EDS team should have an advantage. EDS transitions people into the company all the time - that comes with outsourcing. EDS is made up of people who have had to let go of the bar before. After all, catchers can only catch people who let go of the bar. The company consists of people who have flying experience. The HP-EDS team needs to seek out the "fliers", listen to their perspectives and the merger will be successful.

Everyone I've talked to views this as a great opportunity. EDS and HP have strengths in different areas, through this diversity of perspective it will be stronger than either organization would be alone.

People have been asking me why I don't comment on the merger in the blog, and that's because generally I don't think I have anything unique to say, but this is an exception.

Earlier in the year, Vinnie Mirchandani had this to say:

HP could use a better services arm - while it has some marquee clients like P&G, it is inconsistent in most outsourcing deals. EDS could use a layer of cover. The company which just about defined outsourcing has been running hard to stay even - flat growth over the last decade...

...If I was Mark Hurd, I would spend $ 5 bn towards a smaller infrastructure player like ACS (or even better one with footprint in emerging markets) and spend the rest (plans to spend $ 12 bn on EDS) on a BPO and an application outsourcing play. In fact around infrastructure, I would think even smaller and buy a cloud computing player and use HP's vast channel to build market on top of it.

So now there are two perspectives from within the Irregular camp. There is a third.

HP does have money. Organizations that can finance change can support clients in a quite different fashion than one that only has good intentions and a proven track record of taking on large and complex problems. Even if that is not always with the success EDS would have liked to see expressed in the public domain. EDS could do that kind of thing in the 90s but between the lack of financial skills and the decline of industry focus the company lost its way. Under HP's stewardship EDS will have a chance to get back on the road its clients need. That, I suspect is the hope of all those transitioning to the new environment. Anything else would be a wasted opportunity.

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