By Peter O'Neill

Vendor Strategy Professionals have been discussing the difference between product and solutions for as long as I have been in the industry. And I would like to claim that those 30 years of experience gives me the right to state that most vendor product launches still do not actually reflect that difference. So, it is al the more refreshing to observe HP Software's annoucement of their new IT Finanancial Management solution earlier this week in Las Vegas.

They have got it all extremely right: the right message, the right development process and the right package of technology and services.

In our March 2009 report, "Market Overview: IT Financial Management Software", where we described this emerging segment, see,7211,54520,00.html,
we were quite clear about the challenges of providing solutions in this segment. The buying center will be complex and the probable users will be a mix of IT experts who know little about financial analysis and finance experts who know little of IT details. The proof of IT financial management project success will be getting good role-based reporting and ensuring all the plumbing of data sources are in place.

HP has built a capable financial analystics product using the Business Objects platform, plugged it into their existing software solutions for Project Portfolio Management and IT Asset Management, though it can work with other PPM or ITAm solutions as well, More importantly though, they have realized that most ITFM projects will be data wharehouse projects and so they have set up consulting services across the whole project lifecycle to help those customers who sign up to HP to be successful. This is possible because the HP Software and Solutions organization, as they now call themselves, also has hundreds of business intelligence expert consultants doing data wharehouse projects for enterprises.
Combined with their other processional services practice if IT service management and operations consultants, this enables HP to put together a most compelling solutions proposition.
They are also hitting the road running because they have report templates and ETL (extraction,transform and load) connectors built out during 20 lead projects for enterprise customers during their "Design Partner Program" over the last months.
Always keeping you informed!