HP, Accenture to take on IBM Global Services

Hewlett-Packard and Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, are teaming to provide an outsourcing service that will help firms move legacy applications onto new technology infrastructures, and integrate new technologies with existing systems.

Last week's announcement formalizes the relationship between HP and Accenture, which have been working together for the past three years and have jointly served 15 companies, such as energy services company Halliburton, in launching enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The firms will offer organizations a more integrated service and focus on creating reusable software products that can be deployed quickly and economically, company executives say.

"We're broadening what started out as just a focus on ERP activities to include a much wider range of IT services including complex Web hosting, business model migration... as well as operations and management services," says Ann Livermore, head of HP's service and consulting business unit since March.

With the partnership, the firms are taking direct aim at IBM Global Services, which analysts consider the leader in the growing outsourcing services market. But some analysts question how well HP and Accenture will meld.

"The challenge is you have two different cultures," says Nathaniel Palmer, chief analyst at the Delphi Group. "There's the fundamental problem of rallying two organizations."

HP and Accenture jointly implemented an SAP application for Halliburton that serves more than 11,000 users in 371 sites in 117 countries, says Martin Cole, managing partner of outsourcing for Accenture.

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