A Canadian customer of HP’s OpenView software products says the trend towards automated application management will allow enterprises to refocus their IT personnel.

HP this week has gathered customers and partners in Chicago for

its annual Software Forum, where it has released more than 30 add-ons to its OpenView product line. Most of the updates are focused around service-centric management tools that will allow corporations to better share information, or operation-centric management tools that help IT staff diagnose fault lines within their infrastructure.

Todd DeLaughter, worldwide general manager for OpenView at HP, said in a telephone interview the company will soon be offering to partners and ISVs a Web services management engine that will allow them to analyse online transactions in greater detail, potentially improving the services.

“”We see almost 80 per cent of customers trying to get their hands around business stability – what’s in their network, how is it performing at a component level,”” he said, “”But there’s an increasing movement towards a maturity of managing from a services standpoint.””

Dino Castro, an OpenView administrator with Montreal-based Certen, is among the Canadian users checking out this year’s crop of software programs. Certen is a joint venture owned by Amdocs and Bell Canada which provides the day-to-day, end-to-end billing functions for Bell, including invoice production and distribution.

Castro said Certen has more or less standardized on OpenView, particularly in areas linked to customer-facing areas like Web sites. “”If the site is down, you have five seconds to find out why it’s down, because they’re calling you,”” he said. “”You don’t want the customer telling you something’s down.””

Castro said improved management of operations will eventually free up much of his staff, which he characterized as the most important return in investment metric.

“”We had operators running scripts and technical support writing scripts to monitor all of this and manage all of this. They were expanding more and more and weren’t keeping up,”” he said. “”Now when I’m hiring I look at specialized areas and not just getting soldiers in. We’re actually going to get the snipers in and bring in a specialist on each area, because now we know where the problems are.””

DeLaughter agreed. “”The money’s tied up doing the urgent change management,”” he said. “”IT professionals don’t want to spend their time and money there. They’d rather have those problems solved so they can move up in terms of service management and tying back into the business.””

OpenView products are being released in conjunction with HP’s adaptive enterprise strategy, which will compete with IBM’s autonomic computing plan to let software do more of the “”grunt work”” associated with managing an IT infrastructure. Castro said that while Certen is largely an HP shop on the hardware side, he chose OpenView over similar products from IBM’s Tivoli unit because they worked more easily with Certen’s existing business processes.

DeLaughter said the OpenView unit plans to stay competitive by adopting a broad approach to incorporating partners, including IBM Global Services.

“”As an independent company inside HP, OpenView does more business with external systems integrators and outsourcers than HP,”” he said. “”That gives them and customers some flexibility.””

The HP Software Forum runs through Friday.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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