Services and upgrades are aimed at managing, securing, retaining and retiring information. But is HP's approach too dependent on partner software?

Doug Henschen, Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

April 8, 2011

3 Min Read

That's all good progress on various pieces of the information management puzzle. HP got its act together and synchronized releases, roadmaps and the value story, says analyst Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group, but it still has a way to go on integrating the product portfolio.

"The next step is to connect the interfaces and policy engines across all these products," he explains. "HP certainly has enough resources to do it, so now they just have to be committed and execute on their plan." No matter what vendor you're dealing with, there's often a gap between vision and execution, Babineau says.

And then there are those product gaps. Companies like EMC (with Documentum), IBM (with FileNet), OpenText, and Oracle dominate enterprise content management. These firms are also all over records management as an extension of document and records management. ECM and IBM are deep in archiving, backup and recovery as well. Will IBM and EMC customers turn to HP for just the services piece? I'd guess not, as those rivals have compelling services offerings, too.

On the structured side, HP partners with firms like Informatica and Ab Initio for information integration software, and still other partners for master data management and data quality software. Babineau says partnering with independents is just fine -- laudable, in fact, if they can provide best-of-breed capabilities. But here, too, outfits like IBM and Oracle address not only ECM and records management but also data integration, data quality, and master data management.

The theme in technology acquisitions is invariably consolidation: offering more pieces of the puzzle and providing better integration among required technologies. Service capabilities are helpful and needed to overcome the policy-setting, user-adoption and adherence challenges. But firms that can offer more of the required technology as well as supporting services will have a clear advantage.

On acquisitions, I've read recent reports that Dell, Oracle or Cisco might be up for acquiring EMC. Such a deal might be too costly for HP considering the many storage overlaps, but EMC has a rich trove of information management software (not to mention VMWare) that would fill many of HP's gaps. Should those assets fall into the hands of a rival, it would be all the more important for HP to acquire more software.

HP partner Informatica, a steadily growing $650 million company, is frequently mentioned as an acquisition candidate. It's a good fit for HP as Informatica addresses data integration, data quality and master data management. If HP is looking for a less-expensive candidate, Babineau suggests Queplix, a new virtualization-oriented integration player. I'd add Composite Software to that list.

There are many possibilities, but I'd hope to see HP become a first mover, and not wait for a major player like EMC to fall into the hands of a rival. For now, give HP credit for moving in the right direction and putting a solid strategic services vision in place.

About the Author(s)

Doug Henschen

Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of Transform Magazine, and Executive Editor at DM News. He has covered IT and data-driven marketing for more than 15 years.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights