HP rejigs software operation, creates BI unit

Business applications unit reorganised

In the midst of a company-wide restructuring effort, Hewlett-Packard has taken the next step in an ongoing reorganisation of its software operation. It has established a new unit to bring together its business intelligence 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 David Gee, vice president of marketing for HP Software. 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 part of the BI group is HP’s Neoview data warehouse software, server and storage product family, which HP started shipping to early customers in October. Another key segment is the BI services capabilities HP gained with its recent acquisition of Knightsbridge Solutions.

Knightsbridge has a strong presence in the US and Canada and in Western Europe, particularly the UK, and focuses 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 chief executive officer of ActivIdentity, a provider of authentication and digital identity software.

Barnes says he expects HP’s renewed focus on BI to go down well with the company’s partners, including business intelligence pure-play vendors like Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion Solutions and MicroStrategy, as well as other BI partners including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

It’s not HP’s intention to try and enter the BI market already occupied by those firms, but instead to strengthen existing partnerships, Barnes says.

One of HP’s prime competitors in data warehousing will be Teradata, which is in the process of splitting off from its parent company, NCR.

Barnes’ resumé includes a stint at NCR working at Teradata at the time NCR was also home to HP’s chief executive Mark Hurd. Other likely data warehousing rivals are Netezza and Data Allegro, Barnes says.

Last month, following the completion of its 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 is best seen working in parallel to the BTO unit, Gee says. The goal of both of the optimisation units is to better group together HP’s software assets so as to position HP as more of a “trusted advisor” to CIOs, he says.

HP will likely continue growing its overall software business through a combination of home-grown technologies and acquisitions, Gee says.

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