HP's Anne Livermore on the HP, BT deal

Citing a need to provide joint IT and telecommunications offerings, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and U.K.-based BT Group PLC (BT) Tuesday said they will work together to develop integrated customer proposals. Although officials at both companies said these services can be offered globally, the initial focus will be in Europe and the U.K.

The HP/BT agreement, a US$1.5 billion, seven-year contract, could become a model for similar agreements with U.S.-based telecommunications providers, said Anne Livermore, executive vice president of HP's technology solutions group, who discussed some of the deal's key points with Computerworld.

How does this agreement with BT differ from agreements you have made with other telecom providers to deliver joint customer offerings? Part of it is it our ability to put together a combined, integrated offer. But then behind the scenes, there is also a lot that is associated with making an integrated service delivery work. We are developing a common services delivery architecture. And what this means is, How can we seamlessly pass calls back and forth between our organizations? How can we ensure that where we need it we can have a joint service level that we have to deliver to the customer, and be ... accountable between our organizations for that joint, end-to-end service-level commitment?

As an example, in the IT world one of things that HP Services has done better, differently, than any other IT services company is to have these kinds of relationships with Microsoft (Corp.), Oracle (Corp.) and BEA (Systems Inc.), so that we can seamlessly pass calls back and forth between our call centers. We can share log files, call files and provide an integrated support service for customers. We are taking that same kind of idea and moving it to the communications front.

Do you plan to enter into similar agreements with U.S. telecom providers? We might. One of the things that we've done with BT is that we're focused first on the U.K. and Europe as our primary target. But we have the capability to go with them on a global basis. We can deliver services globally with BT. One of the things that we got from BT is a commitment from the very top of the organization all the way through the organization to do this and make it work. We would consider a partnership with companies based in the Americas if we felt there was that same level of commitment.

Does the BT agreement have any significance for a U.S. company that isn't multinational? Our primary focus out of the gate (for U.S. firms) is companies that have operations in Europe. Companies that have operations in the Europe and in the U.S. very much could look at this as something that could be an attractive alternative to them.

Do you see this as a potential model for how you deliver services to just U.S.-based firms? Yes, it could very well be a model for services for U.S.-based firms. We have the capability with BT to go global, but we're starting with our focus inside of Europe.

What kinds of "integrated service offerings" will emerge from this agreement? If you look at the components that we can integrate for a customer, there is the communications infrastructure (voice and data network), IT infrastructure (all the computing aspects), workplace services (all the things an end user needs). A fourth component is around mobility services (wireless phone, laptop); fifth, the applications and call center services.

As part of the outsourcing of BT's U.K. IT operations, what type of infrastructure changes will you be making? Part of what we are going to be doing is helping them move to a more common operating environment, having a common image on the desktop, as well as more updates and distribution of software over the network to the desktop. We will also be providing more-standardized help desk services.

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