HP exec jumps ship to head up Opalis

As Hewlett-Packard brings on staff to ensure its business practices are up to par, the company is also losing existing executives to potentially bigger and better -- and perhaps less scandalous -- opportunities at up-and-coming vendors.

Todd DeLaughter, former vice president and general manager of HP's OpenView Business Unit, Monday will take the helm at Opalis, a maker of operational automation software. DeLaughter Friday conducted an exit interview with HP's Ann Livermore, who leads HP's Technology Solutions Group, and says he plans to get right to work at Opalis this week.

"After 22 years with Compaq and then HP, I decided to make a big change in direction and got to a market leader in an emerging technology area," DeLaughter says. "My first agenda item is to sit down and get to know the team."

After four years speaking with HP customers and CIOs on behalf of HP's management software division, DeLaughter says he is confident the time was right to move from a provider of traditional monitoring software to a company proposing an innovative approach to decreasing operational costs through automation.

"Customers are living with a collection of different management tools and Opalis can play the role of orchestrating the process flows among them, integrating the different systems and ensuring best practices such as ITIL are followed," he says.

Founded in 1999 and based in Toronto, Opalis delivers software that falls into a new category dubbed Run Book Automation by research firm Gartner, he explains, and is poised to help IT managers use automated processes to reduce the costs associated with day-to-day operations. With about 500 customers under its belt, Opalis is addressing a sweet spot in today's management market.

"We have a product that is fairly mature and robust, and which features a wide range of off-the-shelf adapters into other management tools. We are complementary to what IT managers already have in house," he explains. "The biggest hurdle will be getting the industry educated on the notion of Run Book Automation, which Gartner has already defined with a hype cycle."

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