Hewlett-Packard says it is again revamping the corporate sales of its servers and software to better take advantage of the growing market for cloud computing by large businesses.
The initiative, called HP
Converged Cloud, is in some ways the operational reflection of the
changes recently put in place at the top of H.P. by Meg Whitman, who
became chief executive in September. Ms. Whitman consolidated the
personal computing and printer divisions of H.P. and also streamlined
the sales functions to large corporations. HP Converged Cloud similarly
consolidates what were separate businesses involved in the construction
and running of a large data center.
Cloud computing promises a
more efficient use of information technology resources by tapping into
large amounts of data storage and computational power via the Internet.
This means remote workers can have access to a lot of data, sensors tied
to the system can gather more data and centralized resources can work
“We’ve got lots of intellectual property, lots
of products, and expertise at running things at scale,” said Bill
Veghte, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of software
at H.P. “There is a new wave of cloud and mobile computing, and big
data, and there is a gap between what businesses need and what
information technology is delivering.”
H.P., which has had four
chief executives in a little over seven years, has been losing the
initiative to companies like Amazon, which is believed to have one of
the largest corporate cloud businesses, and I.B.M., which has been
increasing its efforts in the construction of private corporate clouds.
Amazon only sells access to things like computing and data storage, not
hardware. I.B.M. is strong in computers, but H.P.’s data storage
systems are regarded as particularly strong. Its large-scale automation
software is regarded as an underutilized gem.
It is also somewhat
early in the contest. About half of H.P.’s $130 billion in annual
revenue comes from large companies, which tend to move slowly to new
technology. H.P. wants to be using those big-company relationships in
its Converged Cloud proposition, which emphasizes things like
operational flexibility, management control and security rather than
cutting-edge technology. The company’s main selling points, he said,
would be “choice, confidence and consistency.”
H.P. will offer
companies the ability to build their own clouds or to gain access public
clouds, including a system that H.P. is expected to bring online in a
few weeks. The company will also have a service to modernize software
and develop new ones. It will merge the structured and unstructured data
analysis capabilities it gained with last year’s acquisitions of
Vertica and Autonomy.
Some aspects of the Converged Cloud sound a
lot like what H.P. has peddled before. And Mr. Veghte could not say how
H.P.’s sales representatives, who are typically given incentives to
move hardware, would be compensated in the new system, other than to say
that he had targets that must be met. A number of specialists in cloud
computing will also be used, he said, and these two groups will be
expected to work together.