Keeping 'em happy

Either the henchmen were worth every penny, or HPs efforts to reassure customers over the impact on future product lines have paid off in spades.

Either the henchmen were worth every penny, or HPs efforts to reassure customers over the impact on future product lines have paid off in spades.

Even the merger-doubters appear to have been silenced by the performance of the company to date.

Reseller and systems integrator Gen-i had expressed some concerns about the merger reducing consumer choice, but its head, Garth Biggs, now has no concerns about the business. He is “disappointed” HP’s printing and imaging chief and former New Zealand head Barry Hastings is leaving, but says he has a good relationship with HP’s new boss, Russell Hewitt, and notes that “the organisation is bigger than the people”.

The New Zealand Defence Force saw HP and Compaq as its two key suppliers, using for the most part Compaq PCs and servers. Company briefings on product road maps from HP staff gave NZDF CIO Ron Hooton “no grief at all”.

“They have been open from the beginning. People still get such-and-such from Compaq. It’s been executed very well,” Hooton says.

Mark Hales, IS manager of Wellington shipping company SeaTrans NZ, last year branded the merger as “the law of the jungle”, but now he sees it as “very logical — they have kept the best of breed in both the companies”.

Auckland Regional Council uses 350 Compaq workstations, 40 Compaq servers and HP printers. CIO Tony Darby says when Compaq took over Digital the regional council had concerns about how relations might continue, but says Digital brought services and networking expertise that Compaq lacked at the time.

It has been business as usual with this merger: the ARC has been kept fully up to date and is happy with HP’s services, which included the former Compaq loaning it spares when the council had problems with equipment.

Alan Dick, head of the HP-Decus user group, says he too has not heard any rumblings of discontent among his members.

HP is strongly committed to its product road map, he says, and “everybody I have talked to in the company say things have gone pretty well”.

“Basically both companies seem to have learnt from their own mergers in the past. It looks like HP and Compaq have managed to do this one right,” Dick says.

The Information Technology Association of New Zealand, to which both companies bolonged, is also unaware of any discontent.

“There are so many organisations doing third-party maintenance of equipment, I doubt there will be any problems in the lifecycle of equipment,” says executive director Jim O’Neill.

The Mid Central District Health Board uses various Compaq ProLiant servers and Compaq for its HOMER patient management system. IS manager Chris Devey says the new HP is thorougly professional, and despite “some focus loss” during the merger process he foresees no problems working with it.

Massey University also uses Compaq servers and HP printers. And while the existing servers survive, IS director John Buckley again has no concerns.

Christchurch City Council also uses Compaq servers, mainly “excellent” ProLiants and StorageWorks, formerly a Digital product. MIS manager John Edmonds also has noticed no change in customer support and believes the merger will mean extra market support for customers.

Sky City CIO Damian Swaffield says he has had constructive meetings with HP’s new account team. The operator was a customer of both companies, and Swaffield says it is easier dealing with one firm than two.

He has no concerns over the product range, and says purchasing policies will be unaffected. “They have been very customer-focused. Staff came and talked to us. They appear to be managing the transition pretty well.”

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