HP Says It's 'All in' On BI and Neoview - InformationWeek
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1/5/2009
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Doug Henschen
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HP Says It's 'All in' On BI and Neoview

HP wants the world to know that it's serious about business intelligence and that it's standing behind Neoview as a cornerstone of its future in that business... The new news is that it has reorganized the formerly separate Neoview product organization and the business intelligence services group that had its roots in the acquired Knightsbridge consulting business...

In case you missed the front-page story in the New York Times business section last week, HP wants the world to know that it's serious about business intelligence and that it's standing behind Neoview as a cornerstone of its future in that business. The Times spun it as a story about HP CEO Mark Hurd taking on his old employer, NCR-Teradata, along with the other leaders of data warehousing, but that's old news to those in the BI and data warehousing industry. The new news is that HP has reorganized the formerly separate Neoview product organization and the business intelligence services group that had its roots in the acquired Knightsbridge consulting business.

HP Business Intelligence Solutions is the newly unified, worldwide business dedicated to BI and data warehousing, and to underscore its importance to the company, HP has put executive Kristina Robinson, a Teradata veteran, in charge. Her bio is impressive:

Kris Robinson is Vice President and General Manager of HP Business Intelligence Solutions... Prior to joining HP in 2006, Kris spent 21 years at NCR. Her primary responsibilities have centered on growth strategies for high-opportunity markets and her leadership in NCR's Teradata Data Warehousing division doubled business revenues in the organization in a period of less than three years.

As inspiring as the Times story and resume may be, the reorg was overdue. After coming on strong in 2007, not much progress was heard from HP in the BI market during 2008. In fact, Oracle's announcement of the joint HP-Oracle Exadata and Database Machine family led many to wonder where Neoview fit in. Others were already pointing at holes in HP's BI-related software portfolio and wondering when and if it might acquire, say, a data integration vendor such as Informatica.

In a recent post-reorg interview with Intelligent Enterprise, Giuliano Di Vitantonio, Vice President of Marketing for the new Business Intelligence Solutions unit, stuck by Neoview and Knightsbridge as "strategic bets," but he was coy about additional acquisitions. "We may make more bets in the future, but the first important step is to make sure we really leverage these assets," he said.

Pointing to HP's partnerships - which include the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP - Di Vitantonio said, "HP is never going to be a one-stop shop. We work with our partners to create the best possible solution for the customer, even when we don't have all the pieces within HP. In other words, we're not IBM, and at this point we don't intend to be."

The consolidation of the product and services units is not about turning the consulting business into a Neoview support organization, stressed Rod Walker, a Business Intelligence Solutions vice president who was formerly CEO of Knightsbridge. "We operate on all platforms with all the vendors in data warehousing," he said, "but we do expect the Neoview component of our business to grow over time."

There is discussion, though no action as yet, said Walker, about bringing assets over from EDS, the large integration and consulting business acquired by HP last year. "We don't compete against EDS, but nonetheless there are some overlaps and redundancies in terms of skill sets, so there are conversations about the most appropriate way to rationalize," he said.

As for Neoview, Rich Ghiossi, a veteran of the product side, said the positioning remains the same and is distinct from Oracle's Exadata products. "Neoview is more of an enterprise data warehouse play where things like multiple user groups, multiple workloads, very large data sets and complex analyses have to be served simultaneously in close to near-real time," he explained. "Exadata is very much a product that is focused at the current appliance market, where you need a machine that is focused on one particular application with a large data set that needs to go fast."

That's pretty much what Ben Barnes, then vice president and general manager, Business Intelligence, HP Software, told me back in October. Barnes has since taken an executive sales role within Business Intelligence Solutions, and Di Vitantonio, Walker and Ghiossi are the three key vice presidents reporting to Robinson.

All three executives promised more hard news in 2009 in the way of customer wins and possible portfolio expansion, but for now the reorganization, shuffling of the personnel deck and PR offensive are HP's way of reinforcing its commitment to business intelligence and data warehousing. Competition will be fierce in the year ahead, and when stacked up against focused players like Teradata and IBM on the high end, there's no doubt that current and potential customers will want to see additional signs of progress.HP wants the world to know that it's serious about business intelligence and that it's standing behind Neoview as a cornerstone of its future in that business... The new news is that it has reorganized the formerly separate Neoview product organization and the business intelligence services group that had its roots in the acquired Knightsbridge consulting business...

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