Fiorina Touts Adaptive Enterprise Strategy

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-05-06

Fiorina Touts Adaptive Enterprise Strategy

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Hewlett-Packard Co.s Adaptive Enterprise strategy, unveiled Tuesday, has shown its mettle over the past 12 months, according to Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company has used the principles involved in the initiative—from assessing a business needs to developing a flexible and responsive IT infrastructure to meet those needs—during the first year of its absorption of Compaq Computer Corp., Fiorina told more than 100 analysts, reporters and HP employees and partners here.

"Today is the first anniversary of this HP," she said. "One year ago today we launched this company, and the reason we can speak with such confidence about [the Adaptive Enterpise initiative] is because we used them all. We have achieved what we have achieved in the last 12 months because [of this strategy].

"We are bringing to the market the distillation of what we have been through. … Under the glare of the public spotlight, we had a mammoth job to adapt a company to almost seismic change." The result was the integration of more than 1,200 networked sites between the two companies, 215,000 desktops and 21,671 servers, and systems that handled 26 million e-mails a week with 228,000 mailboxes. It also included more than $3 billion in savings and an application portfolio that dropped from 7,000 to 5,000, she said.

"We are our own best proof point," Fiorina said. Adaptive Enterprise is the continuation of a push by HP to create a virtualized data center, where resources can be quickly adapted to changing business demands, both within its own company and from customers, said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president of HPs Enterprise Business Group.

"The aim is to lead to a virtualized computing world," Blackmore said.

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The move is similar to other moves by IBM, with its on-demand computing initiative, and Sun Microsystem Inc.s N1 strategy. All are designed to ease the management and deployment of data center resources. HPs strategy is a combination of new and current products and services.

The key is what HP is calling the Darwin Reference Architecture, a framework designed to help enterprises build an adaptive infrastructure. Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer for HP, defined the architecture as a standard-based framework that uses best-of-breed technology and components that "creates a new level of integration between business and IT."

The industry-based standards include the three operating systems HP supports—Linux, Unix and Microsoft Corp.s Windows—and an Intel Corp.-based platform, Robison said. The best-of-breed technology includes products from both HP and other vendors, including such software partners as BEA Systems Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc.

Some industry observers have said that HPs decision to work with partners rather than flesh out more of its own software offerings beyond its OpenView management suite could hinder it in the future. However, Blackmore disagreed. "Working with partners has always been part of HPs DNA," he said.

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New management software rolled out on Tuesday include HPs Virtual Server Environment, which is designed to virtualize Unix operating environments, and self-healing management software embedded into OpenView, Blackmore said.

Another announcement was the release of a blade server, the ProLiant BL20p, powered by Intels 3.06GHz Xeon processor, which includes a 533MHz front-side bus.

Other key products already are on the market, HP officials said. One of these is the companys Utility Data Center, software that moves workloads and applications across data center resources, and can respond to changes in the workload. HP brought on stage several customers to talk about the need to be able to adapt to changing demands.

"We see our competitive advantage in how we deliver, not necessarily what," said Steve Ellis, executive vice president of Well Fargos wholesale group. "Customers change a lot , they grow and they adapt a lot. … What that means it we have to be big, we have to be reliable and grow with our customers."

For example, three years ago Wells Fargo created an Internet portal. Now more than half of its customers use the portal, Ellis said.

Filippo Passerini, global business services officer for Proctor & Gamble, said his companys ability to adapt is important, given the number of new markets the company has entered and the number of acquisitions it has made. "For us, flexibility is the name of the game. And we need to be very responsive," said Passerini, whose company on Monday completed a $3 billion services deal with HP.

The integration of technology and business is important for companies facing a tight financial environment going forward, Fiorina said. "We dont think the way to solve [business and technology problems] is by throwing more people at it," she said. "We dont think this is a people problem. We think this is the smartest application by smart people of smart technology, smart tools, smart discipline and smart methodologies. "Technology no longer is something that only the geeks in the backroom can understand. The truth is, technology should be and can be understood by the return it delivers to every business person. It has to yield to the demands of business."

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