The secret life of HP software

Peter van der Fluit isn’t surprised that Hewlett-Packard Co. software isn’t a household name.

Few people even know that HP even has a software company, let alone one of the 10 biggest in the world, he says. But the vice-president of HP

worldwide software sales and marketing isn’t terribly concerned that the company’s software is overshadowed by its hardware.

“”I don’t need to tell everyone in the world that HP has software,”” he says. “”I need to tell the Fortune 2000-type organizations. I only need to go to maybe 4,000 CIOs in the world.””

The past few years has seen HP buy up software companies to pad its existing portfolio and shed some of its own software divisions to find a tighter focus on e-services. Computing Canada spoke to van der Fluit about what Compaq software could bring to the table and how telcos might become the next wave of systems integrators.

CC: What’s been going on with your software business since you broke it into two main lines (Netaction and OpenView) about a year ago?

PV: We are not focusing on end applications, we focus more on the infrastructure-enabling software. We do focus on both the voice world and the data world. If you look in the service creation element of Netaction, we have Bluestone, which has J2EE for creating services, as well as OpenCall. OpenCall is a software technology which has been used heavily by network equipment providers and increasingly by services providers to create voice-based services. For example, most of the SMS messages in the world, or 1-800 or prepaid phone cards are sitting on top of OpenCall technologies.

OpenView suite is more about managing services. It very often goes into cost savings, more so than revenue generation. The product line has concentrated on service providers and the thinking of service providers. We bet that they had the leading vision which would be adopted by enterprises in terms of service-centric computing. That’s happening. We see financial services institutions, we see logistics companies — typically the services-related enterprises — making the move already. We are getting good traction with manufacturing companies and retailers as well.

OpenView really focuses on end-to-end services management. You need to have the components such as servers, the applications, the networks, storage — you need to monitor that all. OpenView is providing what I call a digital cockpit or mission control centre for an enterprise or a service provider to actually control what the business has done. What OpenView has done is almost what AirBus did to Boeing in the initial days where AirBus enabled airlines to fly the plane with two people in the cockpit instead of three. They designed the mechanic out of the cockpit and made a lot of stuff more visible for the pilot and the co-pilot.

We have built our software from the ground up on ITIL standards. ITIL is getting a traction in the IT community, because the IT community is forced to think a lot more about process instead of transactions.

CC: How successful have you been in recruiting ISVs and system integrators?

PV: In terms of partners for go-to-market, we are partly training our resellers go up in the food chain and we also are recruiting the big five guys to embrace this. We are getting more and more traction with them, because services management is a very interesting business practice from a system integrator perspective. Folks like KPMG, Cap Gemini . . . we are doing some work with Accenture.

CC: What wins have you got by going through integrators?

PV: Names like Avaya, State Farm, some of the big automotive companies. In the last three months we closed about six or seven large financial institutions, two logistics companies. It’s that type of organization. In all those cases, system integrators have been involved in one form or another.

In terms of OpenCall, our go-to-market has been for network equipment providers who have embedded that functionality into their products. The likes of the Vodaphones, the Verizons. We may do a sell-through or a sell-with the network equipment providers. We believe (they) are becoming competitors of the Accentures, because they see that proprietary switches will no longer be accepted, so they need to take a more modern approach to helping their customers with the infrastructure.

OpenCall is a technology that hits more people than HP printers, except that it’s hidden. It’s handling 70 per cent of the SMS messages in the world.

CC: Has HP stopped buying software companies for now?

PV: We bought Bluestone, then we bought Trinagy. Trinagy gave us the performance management functionality. For the time being, we have to wait and see what happens with Compaq. But will we stop buying software companies? I wouldn’t put my money on that one.

CC: Is there any software within Compaq’s portfolio that you might be able to leverage?

PV: I think a couple of pieces would re-enforce our position. (Compaq’s Signaling System 7 technology) would make our position even stronger on the network side of service providers. There’s another win in terms of getting access to a larger group of customers.

CC: You have also sold off a few of your lesser software divisions.

PV: That was to really say, What do we want to be in life? We really have defined it. The portfolios are mutually reinforcing each other.

You cannot think, What are my next generation voice services or my next generation data services? The network guys and the data guys and the IT guys have to live much closer together than they have traditionally been doing in service providers. Those worlds are merging. We think that e-services is too narrow a definition of the services-centric computing paradigm. The reason is, we are very much focused on the whole mobile world and we see that mobile services are as important.

CC: Would your ever become involved in trying to deliver software services like CRM over mobile technology?

PV: No, there we draw a line. We don’t want to be an applications vendor; we want to partner with them. Applications are sitting on of our infrastructure software. On the data side, you have J2EE. We will also embrace the .Net world. Enterprises will have both environments.

What for me and for customers is critical is that the J2EE world and the .Net world can interoperate. If they cannot do that, then you come into some very interesting dilemmas related to Web services.


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