HP putting software house in order

HP putting software house in order

In the midst of a companywide restructuring effort, Hewlett-Packard has taken the next step in an ongoing reorganization of its software operation. The vendor has established a new unit to bring together its business intelligence (BI) and information management expertise, which is currently spread out across the company.

Announced Wednesday, the new Business Information Optimization (BIO) unit will consist of two groups, according to David Gee, vice president of marketing for HP Software. The first group will focus on BI, particularly data warehousing and analytics, while the second group will concentrate on information management as defined by data archiving and management.

One important piece of the BI group is HP's Neoview data warehouse software, server and storage product family, which the vendor started shipping to early customers in October. Another key segment are the BI services capabilities HP gained with its acquisition of 700-person consultancy Knightsbridge Solutions, which closed earlier this month.

With its headquarters in Chicago, Knightsbridge had a strong presence in the U.S. and Canada and in Western Europe, particularly the U.K., and focused on providing BI, data warehousing, data integration and information quality services to Fortune 500 customers.

Heading the new BI group is Ben Barnes. HP expects to name a general manager for the information management group within a few weeks. Barnes was previously chief executive officer of ActivIdentity Inc., a provider of authentication and digital identity software.

Barnes said he expects HP's renewed focus on BI to go down well with the company's partners, including business intelligence pure-play vendors like Business Objects SA, Cognos Inc., Hyperion Solutions Corp., MicroStrategy Inc. and other BI partners including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. It's not HP's intention to try and enter the BI market already occupied by those firms, but instead to strengthen existing partnerships, Barnes added.

One of HP's prime competitors in data warehousing will be Teradata, which is in the process of splitting off from parent NCR Corp. Barnes' resume includes a stint at NCR working at Teradata while NCR was also home to HP's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd. Other likely data warehousing rivals are Netezza Corp. and Data Allegro, Barnes said.

Last month, following the completion of its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive, HP created a Business Technology Optimization (BTO) unit as part of its software business to unite Mercury's application management software with HP's OpenView systems and network management technologies. The newly announced BIO unit is best seen working in parallel to the BTO unit, Gee said. The goal of both of the optimization units is to better group together HP's software assets so as to position HP as more of a "trusted advisor" to chief information officers (CIOs), he added.

HP will likely continue growing its overall software business through a combination of homegrown technologies and acquisitions, Gee said.

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