HP stumbled mightily in 2011, and it had nothing to do with product or people. Even sales remained strong, though the PC business is changing. HP’s mighty stumble was a crisis of confidence due to a chain of shenanigans at the very top. This culminated with the short reign of LÃ©o Apotheker, leaving HP to reassure the market of its strategy.
HP has always been an alphabet soup company, assigning just about every item in their bewildering array of products a unique product number. Like Mercedes-Benz cars, even the product names are a mix of letters and numbers that can be off-putting to browsers. Now that they have grown to supersize proportions through internal expansion and acquisition, just about everyone outside the company seems to have trouble decoding the product line, so I decided to take a stab at decoding the enterprise lineup in plain english.
After years spent focusing on personal technology, businesses are increasingly turning back to the enterprise. The corporate IT market is much more dynamic and competitive, with a few very large “superpower” companies discovering their power to drive purchasing decisions. If a supplier can create an integrated “stack” of hardware and software, they can push product purchases that might otherwise be overlooked or postponed. This is the main reason that enterprise IT acquisitions work so well: Where a small company must fight to sell their product, a large one can hitch it to a much more strategic sale and have it pulled along.
The storage industry got a lot more competitive this morning, as Dell announced plans to buy 3Par. This is the latest round in a well-established race for the enterprise storage dollar, challenging superpower (and Dell partner) EMC in the high-end SAN space. What does this acquisition say about the industry as a whole? Where are we headed?
HP and Ivy did a darn fine job of putting together a set of sessions to tell us what they have. They presented folks who really knew their stuff, warts and all. They invited a variety of independent voices and let us ask and say anything we wanted with no expectations, let alone an NDA. This was a stellar event, and every other IT company should be asking why they didn’t do it first.