HP continues to put software house in order

HP has created a new unit around business intelligence and information management as part of the ongoing reorganization of its software business.

In the midst of a companywide restructuring effort, HP has taken the next step in an ongoing reorganisation 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.

The new Business Information Optimisation (BIO) unit will consist of two groups, according to vice-president of marketing for HP Software, David Gee. 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 US and Canada and in Western Europe, particularly the UK, 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 CEO of ActivIdentity, a provider of authentication and digital identity software.

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

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

Last month, following the completion of its $US4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive, HP created a Business Technology Optimisation (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 was best seen working in parallel to the BTO unit, Gee said. The goal of both of the optimisation units was 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 said.

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

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