Fiorina Takes Swings at Dell, IBM

In her keynote at HP World, Carly Fiorina acknowledged customers' competing demands for better technology at less cost-and took some sharp jabs at competitors Dell and IBM.

ATLANTA—Hewlett-Packard Co.s Adaptive Enterprise initiative is not "magic pixie dust [or] magic binoculars," but a strategy that already has proven its value in the companys acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp., according to HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina.

Talking to several thousand customers and partners here at HP World, Fiorina said the steps that HP is now pushing out to customers are the same ones the Palo Alto, Calif., company used to squeeze $3.5 billion in savings and to cut its supply chain costs over the past year.

In a keynote speech that acknowledged customers competing demands for better technology at less cost—and offered some sharp barbs at competitors Dell Inc. and IBM—Fiorina said that the Adaptive Enterprise strategy is the clearest example of HPs commitment to offering technology that improves the way enterprises do business.

"We are a technology company. Innovation is our lifes blood," she said, adding that the company wants to offer "high tech, low cost [and] the best total customer experience."

Its that focus that separates HP from its competitors, she said. Fiorina quipped that Dells announcement that it was getting into the plasma TV business is an example of what the company does best.

"I think there is a reason they took the word computer out of their name," Fiorina said. "Theyre not a technology company. I think theyre a distribution company."

IBM offers high quality, but at a high cost. "IBM is high tech, high cost, and—when we speak to customers—a mediocre total customer experience," Fiorina said.

Through its Adaptive Enterprise initiative, HP is offering what customers are looking for: a way to link their IT infrastructure to their business processes so that their technology can quickly adapt to their business demands.

"There is no separation between technology and business," she said.

In addition, business executives are demanding that there is a clear return on their IT dollars, Fiorina said. They want to see what their money is doing for their company.

"It has to be an investment that is transparent and that delivers," she said. "It can no longer be a science experiment, a secret handshake."

Thats why it was important for HP to try out its strategy before introducing it to the industry, Fiorina said. Now businesses know that what HP is offering in it Adaptive Enterprise initiative—from its Darwin reference architecture to its Unified Data Center offering and services support—not only can work, but already has, she said.

HP is not the only vendor pushing such a plan. IBM is offering its on-demand computing strategy, and Sun Microsystems Inc. has its N1 initiative, all of which have the same goals of creating an IT infrastructure that is simplified and flexible.

The key to HPs offering, she said, was that it doesnt require enterprises to throw out what they already are using, or to change course. It starts with an assessment of a business IT infrastructure and involves software, hardware and services that can create a more virtualized data center.

"It is something that can be achieved in wherever you start and achieved in a step-by-step basis," she said.