Elite Competition

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-06-20 Print this article Print

At the same time, Livermore said HP will continue to push its advantage in storage products as well as its blade architecture, especially its BladeCenter c-Class systems. HP is not the only company looking to expand its services offering to customers. IBMs Global Services unit is similar in scope to HPs own HP Services Group. And Sun Microsystems in the past two years has looked to expand its own services by leveraging its servers, storage and software products, while Dell is looking to use its knowledge of data centers to expand its service and consulting arm.
The numbers associated with services are impressive. HP reported $4.1 billion in services revenue for the first three months of 2007, while IBM reported $8.25 billion. Sun reported $1.23 billion for the same period. With its ongoing financial problems, Dells services revenue is difficult to calculate, although a Reuters report pegged the number at about $6 billion.
Click here to read more about HPs plans for expanded data warehousing and BI services. The challenge now for HP is convincing potential customers that its products can solve a wide range of IT issues. Livermore said that HP will provide services not only for its own products but also for its rivals hardware and software, as well as consulting services. One way that HP plans on expanding services is to use its own internal infrastructure as a model of what can be done with HP hardware, software and services. Hurd highlighted this push during his keynote, telling the audience that "IT is an HP asset," meaning that its best selling points can be found in its own data centers. Deborah Nelson, senior vice president of marketing for the Technology Solutions Group, said HP is also delivering this message directly to its customers and through its channel partners. Like its own model, HP wants its customers to know that better management of the data center will not only reduce costs but will also add profit once the operations are streamlined. "We want the people out there to know that IT can help drive business goals," Nelson said. "There are three areas that we are focusing on. One is growing profitability, the second is reducing cost, and the third is mitigating risks." Some customers believe that HP is on track with this focus. Worth Davis, director of IT operations for Suez Energy North America, an energy and natural gas business headquartered in Houston, said the company has been heavily invested in HP products for a long time and uses a range of hardware and software from c-Class blades and ProLiant servers with Advanced Micro Devices processors to HPs storage EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) models, to HPs OpenView enterprise management software portfolio. Although he has dealt with HP for some time, Davis said that it is difficult to keep up with the various software offerings that the company rolls out year after year. Still, Davis said, HPs use of its own data center experience is a compelling story for customers. "It not just HP, but all the large shops that have this problem," Davis said. "In this case, you want the company to show all the tools and widgets that they have introduced and show how they can be implemented with new software. I think with HP services, any medium to large shop will buy into that. As for what HP is doing, I like the story that they have with their own data centers and what they are doing there. I think its legitimate." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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