HP faces scrutiny over on-demand strategy

Its vision for Adaptive Enterprise needs honing, users say

Hewlett-Packard Co. today plans to expand on its Adaptive Enterprise strategy for on-demand computing by announcing two OpenView software tools for managing service-oriented architectures (SOA) and reporting on internal controls for regulatory compliance purposes.

Analysts generally praised the new products, but they and some officials from the OpenView Forum International (OVFI) user group faulted HP for getting off to a slow start on the overall strategy, which the company announced two years ago. Some said HP has created a broad vision for Adaptive Enterprise without clearly defining its parts.

"I don't think HP's done a good job of explaining Adaptive Enterprise," said Steve Wostal, a former OpenView user who is now a consultant at Indianapolis-based Pepperweed Consulting LLC, which offers OpenView implementation services.

"There's a gap between implementation and theory," added Wostal, who is also a former OVFI board member. "While the theory is great, I don't think the application has been provided. I want to see their implementation strategy."

Push for More Progress

Wostal and others said they appreciate that Adaptive Enterprise follows the fundamentals of the IT Infrastructure Library, especially ITIL's guidance that IT systems be provisioned to be flexible for changing business needs.

But Thomas Reinsel, Pepperweed's president and CEO and president of the OVFI, said he would give HP only a "B" grade for progress on its Adaptive Enterprise vision.

"People still don't understand the concept or central idea," Reinsel said. "There's still a lot to understand [about] what it means to be adaptive, and we've got a long way to go."

Todd DeLaughter of Hewlett-Packard Co.
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Todd DeLaughter of Hewlett-Packard Co.
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Part of what's confusing is that an Adaptive Enterprise approach can encompass so many major IT concepts, such as change and configuration management and virtualization of servers or storage devices, he said.

Bill Emmett, chief solutions manager for HP's management software business, defended the company's progress in rolling out products to support Adaptive Enterprise.

"We've been pretty regimented with new technologies," he said.

For example, HP's OpenView Business Service Management suite, which was announced last year, provides a "very pragmatic approach for describing business processes," Emmett said.

Reinsel said HP appears to be heading in the right direction on Adaptive Enterprise with its two new OpenView products, although he noted that he hasn't been fully briefed on them.

The products, which are due to be announced at this week's HP Software Forum in Denver, include the OpenView SOA Manager and Compliance Manager. The latter tool is designed to provide reports on corporate compliance with laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

SOA Manager is built around software that HP acquired when it bought Web services management tools vendor Talking Blocks Inc. in 2003. That product will become an "anchor point" between business users and IT, said Todd DeLaughter, vice president and general manager of HP's management software unit. "The tire-kicking around SOAs is now hitting the mainstream," he added.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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