HP's Autonomy Focused on Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Security: GM

In a Q&A with eWEEK, Robert Youngjohns, general manager and senior vice president of HP's Autonomy unit, says his organization is integral to HP's software business and is focused on key areas.

While Hewlett-Packard continues to wrestle with how to handle Autonomy, its $11.3 billion 2011 acquisition, the systems, software and services provider has pledged its ongoing support for the big data wrangling entity. As eWEEK's Jeffrey Burt recently reported, despite unexpected baggage, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman reportedly sees Autonomy as an important part of the company's future.

Last year, HP announced an $8.8 billion charge in connection with the acquisition due to allegations that Autonomy officials fraudulently overstated the software maker's value in the runup to HP's buying it. When HP officials announced the charge, they said $5.5 billion of that was due to "serious accounting improprieties" at Autonomy.

"We remain committed to Autonomy; we remain committed to the brand, to Cambridge, to the U.K. [where Autonomy is based]," Whitman said, according to the news organization. "It is an almost magical technology. … It plays into a big shift in the market, the area of big data, which HP should be in."

In this Q&A with Robert Youngjohns, general manager and senior vice president of HP Autonomy, eWEEK senior editor Darryl K. Taft delves into some of the issues Autonomy has come through and looks at where the organization is headed.

HP Autonomy went through a rough patch near the end of last year. Where are things right now?

Obviously, we received a fair amount of "publicity" about HP Autonomy at the end of last year. My mission as the lead of HP Autonomy is to set that story aside so the team can focus on what's ahead of us, and on delivering for our customers. And frankly, that story has subsided, and I think the market is seeing us make great strides on several fronts.

So I don't know that I would call it a rough patch, but I think it is fair to say that the publicity that we received at the end of last year made for some interesting times.

As we entered 2013, the focus of the HP Autonomy team is to position our business for growth and success. We have three priorities: making customer success the heart of everything that we do, building great products with a clear, funded road map, and leveraging the rest of HP to gain access to markets and customers. Our priorities are aligned with both HP Software as well as the larger HP, and I am pleased with the progress we've made so far and I'm very optimistic about the future of the business.

We have over 800 engineers around the world generating great new product, code and functionality. We have the vision, the technology, and the people to make HP Autonomy an increasingly important, pivotal player in the new information age.

What role will HP software and Autonomy play in HP's turnaround?

We are really excited about our role in HP's future. As Meg Whitman has reiterated on multiple occasions, Autonomy is an absolutely critical component of HP's go-forward strategy. We are part of HP Software, and we are core to HP's long-term strategy around big data, cloud, mobile and security. Our R&D investment has increased significantly in the last two quarters, we are reinvigorating our entire suite of products, and our software is being integrated in multiple ways across the entire HP portfolio.

In the software and solutions space, what problems are you solving?

The world has changed dramatically in recent years. Human information, which is unstructured data in the form of email, social media, video, Web content and audio, is pervasive in our personal and professional lives. And what I call the "Internet of Things"—in which everything, from bridges, trains, planes and retail stores, is filled with sensors measuring every move of human society—is now giving rise to astronomical growth rates of machine data.