HP Offers Enterprises Makeovers via Shared Services

HP aims to consolidate IT resources under an SOA software layer.

Offering up a specialized service designed to cut out inefficiencies in corporate IT systems, Hewlett-Packard announced May 24 its HP IT Shared Service portfolio. The purpose of the service is to rearchitect systems so that IT functions can be consolidated on fewer systems and then served up across an enterprise through a service-oriented architecture software layer.

"Today, a lot of customers are sharing some assets, but different lines of business will have different IT assets. Shared Services lets customers use a common IT infrastructure," said Joachim Frank, vice president of the Enterprise Infrastructure practice with HP Services. The offering is part of HPs Adaptive Enterprise strategy announced several years ago.

By consolidating corporate IT resources, a company can provide services to different departments and charge those departments according to usage. "IT becomes an internal provider to the company," said Frank. He pointed to previous instances of this practice at some companies, which he said have created similar implementations of human resources and finance applications.

One HP customer, Cetrel, a banking co-operative in Luxembourg, is using a shared-services approach to provide services to financial services institutions. "We are very pleased with the engagement from HP in our IT shared-services development," said Jean-Marc Fandel, CEO of Cetrel, in a statement. "Their expertise has been invaluable in shaping our thinking and helping us to achieve our business goals."

To tell whether or not a company can benefit from the overhaul, HP is offering consulting services that will examine a customers IT resources and advise a customer what steps must be taken. To this end, HP has developed a reference model and a gap analysis tool. Offerings include design, implementation, governance and management services.

HP is also offering preintegrated shared-service utilities for two applications: development and test environments and Microsoft Exchange. "They are prepackaged, to move parts of IT into the shared-services concept," said Frank.

Sophie Mayo, an analyst at IDC, said the shared-services concept is not new. "Shared services have been around for many years. There have been offerings from other service providers," said Mayo. She noted that AT Kearney and Capgemini both came up with similar schemes several years ago. Accenture more recently offered a shared-services approach to customers, the analyst said.

Frank declined to discuss specific pricing for the service, the cost of which is expected to vary widely for organizations of different sizes. However, he said HP is willing to allow customers to fund the cost of the services with savings from the first year of implementation.

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