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HP Services: Automation so important we’ve bet the company on it

HP Services: Automation so important we’ve bet the company on it

Clients want simplicity rather than to become integrators, supplier claims

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HP Enterprise Services has bet its future on enabling clients to extensively automate their operations, according to the division’s UK managing director.

Craig Wilson, head of the unit that incorporates the former EDS business, told Computerworld UK that the company had made that a clear focus, following an announcement in June that it was cutting 9,000 jobs globally and reinvesting $1 billion in moving to automate services.

The automation revolution would have a massive impact on the industry and clients, Wilson said. HP is investing to design fully-automated and standardised datacentres, with the plan to enable clients to migrate their applications to the platforms, and to run faster and cheaper services.

“Automation dwarfs the impact of labour arbitrage,” he explained. “It’s a wholesale change and we want to be at the front of it. Ann [Livermore, global head of HP’s Enterprise business] is betting the company on it.”

HP’s $1 billion automation investment was announced in June, two months before former HP chief executive Mark Hurd’s resignation, and the company has confirmed that its emphasis on automating processes remains. The firm bills it as a “new era” of enterprise services.

In an interview weeks before Hurd’s resignation was announced, Wilson said the industry was “only in the foothills” of the change but that clients were increasingly seeing the benefits available.

“Once you have studied ways of sorting processes, you get lean disciplines, economies and higher quality,” he said. “It’s a march to the utility of IT and it’s a sea-change. What happens, for example, when everyone’s on industry standard servers? You’re taking a large cost out.”

Asked why businesses interested in automation should choose HP over other suppliers, Wilson said the breadth of HP’s offering, its scale and its own efforts to highly automate internal operations, were strong arguments. HP's attempts to acquire 3Par are part of moves to further converge infrastructure in the interests of automation.

“We want to do the integration, build the datacentre and provide the hardware and software for clients,” he said. “In services, we do not have the equivalent of Global Business Services in IBM, but we partner to bring in that capability. We could go and acquire but this is not part of our strategy.”

“Our view is the business is commoditising. Previously clients would care a lot about technology,” he said: “People’s notion of risk is changing. We want to do the work and take the risk out.”

Wilson said companies were “fed up” doing complex integration with an ever-growing range of technology. “They want somebody to guarantee all the bits work together. They want to buy things as a service and they want it to simply work so they can innovate.”

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