The HP memo advised employees to confirm that "HP is firmly committed to the business intelligence and analytics markets."
Citing three complementary "strategic pillars" -- consulting services, technology and partnerships -- the memo added: "As the market evolves, we constantly assess the balance of investments across these three pillars."
HP's consulting services grew out of the 2006 acquisition of Knightsbridge, an information management and BI integrator. HP's core data warehousing technology is Neoview, a high-end appliance that made an initial splash -- with HP itself and customers including Wal-Mart -- but has since made little headway in the market. HP's hardware partnerships, notably with Microsoft and SAP, have proven to be a far more successful than Neoview.
HP's software partners include Informatica and Ab Initio, among others, which provide integration and information management software.
HP has little choice but to continue to support Neoview, as HP itself is the product's largest customer. But an acquisition of Teradata, a company with a who's who list of Global 2000 customers, would vault HP into the top tier of data warehousing. Teradata's database could easily run on HP hardware.
Informatica and Microstrategy are also leaders in their respective domains. A play in the information management and analytics arena would certainly be splashy, but HP could also consider sober middleware and BPM acquisitions. A short list in this application-integration-oriented domain would include Progress Software, Software AG and TIBCO.
Of course, the most obvious sign that HP will move more deeply into software was the late-September appointment of SAP-veteran Leo Apotheker as the company's CEO. One can only conclude that it is only a matter of time before the software acquisitions begin.