HPE's $8.8B Merger Makes Micro Focus an Agile, DevOps Powerhouse

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-09-08 Print this article Print
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For instance, "It is business as usual for our COBOL and mainframe solutions business," Chris Livesey, CMO of Micro Focus, told eWEEK. "This announcement does not change our focus on delivering value to our customers today and that won't change. Our COBOL and mainframe solutions customers, like all our customers, can look forward to the value offered through a significantly broader product portfolio."

Indeed, at first glance this announcement may simply seem like entrenched enterprise lifecycle tools joining forces, Kersten noted. But more interestingly, it is indicative of how Agile and DevOps are being forced to grow up, and how large organizations' tool chains are evolving, he said.

"Micro Focus has executed an impressive strategy in providing a home for entrenched tools by acquiring Serena, Attachmate and Borland, with Borland having previously acquired the StarTeam, CaliberRM and SilkTest tools," Kersten said. "One thing Borland never managed with its acquisition of SilkTest was to put a dent in the huge success of Mercury—now HPE ALM. With this spin-merge, we will witness a major event of all these tools coming together under one roof."

But to figure out what this means to customers and the industry, the big question is why these tools are still so relevant today.

"The easy answer is that most enterprises are spending the majority of their IT budgets maintaining legacy systems, and these tools are entrenched in the lifecycle management of those systems," Kersten explained. "But there is another factor at play, in that these tools have evolved to be very good at managing software at scale, where end-to-end requirements management and compliance can be as important a factor to success as team productivity."

However, while many folks see the synergies between Micro Focus and HPE Software, others view the merger as something of a head scratcher.

"I think time will tell, but it doesn't seem to be a match between Micro Focus and HPE Software," said Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates. "There are basically different distinct pockets of software for different markets and different customers. It will be difficult to rationalize all the pieces. It also makes you wonder about the future of HPE as a hardware-driven company. The profit is in software."

Yet, Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, argued that HPE Software has nowhere to go but up. "That business has been mismanaged for so long it has to improve under focused leadership," he said. "They were killing key assets like 3PAR. Whitman [Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE] has clearly figured out she can spike HP's stock by selling off assets and having people who understand the business buy them is better than where they were. It does make you wonder if she'll be the last HP employee left given she appears to be selling everything off."

Meanwhile, Charlotte Dunlap, principal analyst at Current Analysis, argues that it just might be too late for some elements of the HPE Software portfolio to catch up to competitors.

"These days mega-merger investments revolve around tools and platforms which support a smooth business transition to the cloud," Dunlap told eWEEK. "Trouble is, HPE has struggled to refine its cloud strategy, spanning Helion to Stackato, so it's questionable as to whether Micro Focus enterprises will trust HPE's cloud stack at this stage of the game, versus competitors IBM, Microsoft and others providing mature IaaS [infrastructure-as-a-service]to PaaS [platform-as-a-service] offerings."



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