The vendor sees big revenue opportunities for partners around cloud computing, but when it comes to Autonomy, some partners wonder if it’s channel-ready

Autonomy and HP’s 10.3 billion reasons to like big data

LAS VEGAS – Former CEO Léo Apotheker may have left Hewlett-Packard Co. . (NYSE: HPQ), but his US$10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy remains, and last week at HP’s global partner conference, Autonomy founder CEO Mike Lynch gave partners their first taste of what Apotheker was so keen on.

Lynch, who remains with HP as executive vice-president of information management, said the key IT trends in 2012 will be around social media, big data, cloud computing, governance and mobility. What Autonomy seeks to do is help users derive value from both structured and unstructured data wherever it exists in the enterprise to make better business decisions.It’s not just about big data, said Lynch. It’s about analyzing that data in new ways as the traditional database and old methods of data categorization become extinct.

“Big is no longer impressive. It has to be clever,” said Lynch. “The IT industry is carrying a hammer, and everything they see is a nail — that’s the relational database.”

Customers don’t live their lives in columns, said Lynch, and they don’t send you relational databases with their buying preferences and behaviours. Autonomy is about deriving meaning from unstructured data based on context and delivering analysis in the cloud, on-premise, in hybrid implementations and in appliance form. HP’s different business units all play a role with software, services and networking.

“Autonomy-based HP hardware appliances are on the way to power enterprise search all the way to the SMB,” said Lynch. “It’s not about data, it’s about meaning. It’s not about machines, it’s about people. And it’s not about status quo, it’s about a new opportunity.”

It may be an opportunity, but for now a lot of what Autonomy is talking about seems a little futuristic said David Reid, president of Winnipeg-based HP partner Epic Information Solutions, and it’s hard to see how much of it will apply to companies outside the Fortune 500. And in Canada, that’s a pretty small market.

“It’s good to watch and impressive to see HP take that leap and invest way ahead of the curve and invest in the future,” said Reid. “But immediately, it’s not going to be anything (for us).”

Long-term though, Autonomy, which has a really good future within HP may end up leaving a positive legacy for Apotheker said Paul Edwards, research director with the London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

“Regardless of the price paid and whether it was too high, what they’re working on now with Autonomy and what Lynch is going to do move them forward and allow them to extend themselves and get into new accounts,” said Edwards. “And the same for partners.”

A big year for software

While HP may have put hardware at the centre of its messaging last week, software remains a key focus area for the vendor thanks to several key acquisitions by Apotheker and strong growth in revenue.

“There is only one company on the planet that has the breadth and depth of the portfolio that HP has in the marketplace,” said Bill Veghte, chief strategy officer and executive vice-president, HP software. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The opportunity HP sees for software is to build on customer investments in infrastructure to fully realize their value through optimization, managing and provisioning. At the centre of this is HP’s IT Performance Suite, which Veghte said presents “the opportunity for IT to work with and for the business in a more significant way.”

The cloud is embedded in every piece of IT Performance Suite, and also key to their cloud strategy is HP CloudSystem, an integrated system to build and manage cloud environments.

“That’s the power of HP. Taking the market leading capabilities of (networking) and software and assembling them to fully realize this opportunity,” said Veghte. “There are huge opportunities to take these solutions and be that trusted advisor for the customers you serve. They’re looking for advice and help as they go though this journey (to the cloud).”

The services opportunity around software and cloud computing is also a lucrative one for partners added Hayley Tabor, vice-president business partnerships and field excellence with HP software. She said the services ecosystem generates $6 in services revenue for every $1 in license revenue.

To help partners realize the opportunity, Tabor said HP has merged its partnership and field enablement units into one team. It’s making its processes for on-boarding new sales staff available to partners, as well as its internal tools for developing proposals. HP’s internal cloud curriculum is also being introduced to partners so they can train their teams with the same tools HP trains its own teams.

Tabor added HP will be adding three new certifications in the coming months, including one for IT Performance Suite.

“It’s all about investment, sharing tools and sharing assets,” said Tabor. “We are channel friendly. We are partner friendly.”

Partner-to-partner collaboration is seen as important in cloud computing as not all partner may have the skill sets around infrastructure, software and services. HP Interchange is a new social network designed to bring partners together in the cloud space, and HP is also offering a 10 per cent bump for software partners that bring a converged infrastructure partner into a deal.

Epic’s Reid still has some questions around HP’s cloud strategy, and is looking for more information on the partner programs what role partners are expected to play.

“The challenge will always me where’s the target market, as many vendors are not clear about what market their products are aimed at,” said Reid. “Is their cloud offering aimed at 10,000 seats and up? Because for a lot of resellers, that’s a moot point.”

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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