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9/28/2010
11:37 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: HP Pressure-Cooker: The Top 5 Priorities For Tuesday's Call

While analysts have lots of probing questions for today's call with HP, here are the make-or-break topics: analytics, cloud, mobile, data centers, and who's the new CEO.

Until Hewlett-Packard hires a new CEO and devises an overarching strategy for the world's largest IT company, the questions and concerns swirling in the marketplace about how the company's positioned in several key markets are going to intensify.

What is HP: the infrastructure company? The everything company? The world's largest manufacturer of PCs? The enterprise solutions company?

From those questions spring others: is HP's product line and strategy for data-center transformation complete? And if so, are those tools and capabilities being appropriately packaged for CIOs to comprehend and consume? What's up with the EDS services business—has it been a success or is it becoming a drag? With mobile exploding, what's HP's position in this strategically fital sector?

How's HP Software doing? Is it primarily a support team for the company's other products and services, or can it be its own engine of customer value and growth? Will HP be a player in business analytics and predictive analytics, arguably the hottest segment in the IT market today?

On top of all that, the interest in who will become HP's next CEO remains extremely high—and after HP's board has come under withering criticism in the past several weeks for its handling of Mark Hurd's ouster and departure as well as its ongoing stewardship of the company, it is likely that public perception over their CEO selection will be laced with second-guessing, regardless of the individual's qualifications and track record.

In such a climate—and with primary rivals IBM and Oracle in ascendancy—it is absolutely essential that in this afternoon's call with financial analysts, HP executives articulate compelling and convincing strategies and execution plans for the following five areas that will largely determine the company's chances for continued success in the rapidly changing and relentlessly fluid IT industry: analytics, cloud, mobile, data centers, and the new CEO. Let's take a look at each.

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1) Analytics. HP tells a terrific story about the imminent Information Explosion, and how it will require not just powerful systems to capture, gather, sort, store, and move all that information, but also powerful analytical tools to interpret that information and probe it and analyze it and manipulate it to let businesses rapidly evaluate their options and confidently make decisions.

So far, HP's talked only in generalities about analytics—today, the company needs to convince the world that it's a player.

Next is cloud computing:

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