HP: Now Comes the Hard Part
HP must become expert at finding expertise.In the aftermath of Hewlett-Packards hard-won takeover fight for Compaq, Carly Fiorina and her team have done many of the right things. While theres certainly room to quibble with specific product decisionspicking Compaqs more popular iPaq handheld over HPs more durable Jornada, for examplethe new HP leadership has at least told IT managers quickly and clearly which products will stay and which will go. HP officials have also done a good job of reiterating the companys support for open standards. With the new HP launched and on its way, the companys leaders might be tempted to break out the champagne to toast their newfound No. 1 status in PCs and servers. But they should pack away the bubbly and roll up their sleeves. Its now time for the hard part. Cutting the combined work forcealways part of the merger strategyis next. But making the new company a premier enterprise services provider will be a harder and far more important task.
Despite the running start provided by the Compaq (formerly Digital Equipment) services unit, HP has a long way to go. The company has plenty of experience in hands-on hardware deployment and support, but little in delivering business process transformation services closely linked to IT. Those are the kind of services that are key to the companys future.