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HP Exec: Success Will Be Measured By Innovation, Not Problem Solving

Senior VP Nora Denzel told attendees at the company's Software Forum that IT execs are going to be measured by their ability to prevent problems, not solve them.
IT professionals had better prepare to adapt to new realities of a changing environment where success is measured by the ability to innovate, and not by being able to solve problems as they arise, Hewlett-Packard's top software executive told attendees at its Software Forum in Montreal on Monday.

"We have to get away from IT hero worship," says Nora Denzel, senior VP and general manger of HP's Adaptive Enterprise and Software Global Business Unit. "You're going to be rewarded going forward not for putting out fires, but for preventing those fires in the first place. Things change and we need to be ready."

Denzel said that while the totally ubiquitous global grid may be as much 10 years down the road, the next three to five years will be critical for companies to begin establishing their own internal grids and creating automated management of IT resources.

"Management is moving front and center to become the key," Denzel says. "Vertical IT stacks are going the way of the dinosaur--we now have to be prepared to manage technology at the pace it's changing."

IT infrastructure and management needs to be established along a horizontal structure where as business needs change, it automatically triggers a series of IT events that can adapt to the new realities, she says.

HP's Adaptive Enterprise is an approach to realizing that kind of capability, she says, but it's a journey that will take time, standardization, a greater ability to measure specific metrics within IT, and dedication by the individual CIO or IT professional to do the "heavy lifting that gets you ready for the global ubiquitous grid."

A key component to a new level of IT manageability will be agility. "But if you can't measure agility, you can't become more agile, which is critical in synchronizing IT with business," Denzel says.

Four design principles needed to create the new IT structure include simplicity, standardization, modularity, and integration, applied across business processes, applications, and the infrastructure, she says.

"The ones most adaptive to change will survive," Denzel says. "Never before has manageability been as important, and it's much more possible today than before."

Three key roles for management in IT are dynamically linking business with IT, running IT as a business process, and shifting IT investment from maintenance to innovation.

Within HP, a typical IT budget in the past saw nearly 75% dedicated to application and infrastructure management, and only a quarter to innovation. By going to a more-adaptive and business-oriented approach, now 55% of the budget is dedicated to innovation, and only 45% to maintenance.

An adaptive IT environment will require standardized elements from multiple sources, including those in direct competition with HP, Denzel says--and companies need to embark on a program as soon as possible. "The question is, will you be a leader or a follower?" she asked. "Does this excite you or scare you to death?"

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