By Peter O'Neill

Last week, I was in Washington working for HP at their Software Universe event. I moderated their customer press conference, had several strategy meetings with HP execs, continued my preview of a new product they’re planning, and even got to play golf with three of their execs. Life can be tough as an analyst!

In the press conference, attended by around 40 journalists from all continents, I encouraged five HP customers to talk about how they were innovating within IT: Neuberger Bergman, Seagate, McKesson, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, and CollabNet. My challenge as moderator was to help these spokespeople bring across their messages (not everyone is a public speaker) and ensure that there was some “news” for the journalists to write about. So I kicked off the session with a Forrester slide with these five trends/challenges in IT. Each customer then spoke to the trend that affected them the most:

  • Virtualization and "cloud" adoption adds to complexity of IT management
  • Continued pressure to prove the business value of IT
  • Automation of optimized processes within IT
  • Understand and measure IT delivery in business terms
  • Agile development brings Business, AppDev and IT Operations closer together and coordinated


The press fallout from these things usually takes a couple of weeks, but the first two articles I have seen, as of today, were published in Holland and in India. The latter is embarrassingly more about me than HP, but that sometimes happens. Anyway, kudos to HP for staying off stage and letting their customers speak for them. Also, in all modesty, I think it was good to have an outside moderator who also added content. All in all, the concept worked really well — it doesn’t always have to be me, of course!

The meetings with the HP execs were productive for both sides. The challenge for HP Software is always about having to balance their marketing HP-internally. If they could apply the resources they have to invest for internal meetings/coordination to do more outbound marketing, they would be far, far, more powerful in the software market. They are so concerned about fitting in that it is almost an inferiority complex.  I suspect that their new executive vice president, Bill Veghte, who has just taken over HP Software & Solutions after a successful Microsoft career, will feel empowered to change this position, and he will energize the business to take much more leadership.

The new product? Well, I continue to be sworn to secrecy. HP and I have been talking about this for over a year now, and I’m told that the launch is now scheduled for Q4 2010. There was an invitation-only preview and demo of the product in Washington, which resulted in this Computerworld article being published. I still have my slides from March 2009 where I recommended that HP design and develop a totally new ITSM solution for the SMB market and definitely NOT try to cut down the existing products. I also provided market numbers that became the base for their business plan. Expect them to come out with a service desk that looks and behaves like a Facebook Web site but backed by the HP brand promise of service quality, good partnerships, and customer satisfaction. It is being prepared by a start-up-like division within the business unit: 40-odd people with half of them recruited in from Web 2.0 companies. Ironically, there is no Building 48Upper (the product's codename) on the HP Cupertino campus, but I am sure that will not affect the program.

Always keeping you informed! Peter