HP showcases new software group

Newly formed software business to wake the 'sleeping giant'

HP will use its HP Universe show in Vienna, Austria, to introduce its newly formed HP Software business -- which encompasses the company's own OpenView software, as well as Peregrine Systems and the recently purchased Mercury Interactive products.

HP, deemed by IDC to be the sixth largest software vendor in the world with its Mercury buy, has also doubled its installed base of software customers. According to Tom Hogan, senior vice president of HP Software, Mercury added some 15,000 customers to HP's existing 15,000 OpenView customers. With so many customers to serve, the company is working to redeem its software reputation. Industry watchers have in the past accused HP of neglecting a significant resource in its OpenView technology.

"As it relates to software, HP has been a sleeping giant with enormous opportunity to be a global player in software," Hogan says. "The software line of business is not the fastest growing and most profitable across HP."

According to IDC, HP led the worldwide distributed system management software market category in 2005 for the third consecutive year. A separate IDC study ranked HP as the worldwide leader in market share and software license revenue in the distributed performance and availability management software market category for 2005. HP itself reports that during the past four fiscal quarters HP Software reported revenue of more than US$1.1 billion.

"The main message here is that HP is highly committed to software and we can offer a whole bunch of value to CIOs," Hogan says.

At the conference this week, where HP expects 3,500 attendees, the company will detail a slew of offerings that package existing HP OpenView software with acquired Peregrine and Mercury products. These offerings will also serve as sets of technologies to address specific customer pain points, industry watchers say.

"HP announced their solution centres as packages that integrate different HP technologies to solve specific IT problems, which is nice because it simplifies what customers have to buy," says Jasmine Noel, a co-founder and principal analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates. "If the customer is worried about service availability and performance they just buy the HP Business Availability Center and they get a single dashboard that ties into a lot of functionality, such as user monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, SLA management, relationship mapping, event management and deep-dive diagnostics."

HP is introducing nine of these centres, with the HP Quality Center reflecting Mercury's testing technologies. But HP won't be using such monikers going forward. "All the old brands are going away. The only brand that will remain is HP Software. It'll take some time for OpenView to disappear from all the collateral, but it will disappear over time. It's the end of an era," Noel says.

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