HP on the right track with former Mercury portfolio, says Canadian partner

Las Vegas – Nearly a year after HP’s US$4.2 billion acquisition of management software company Mercury Interactive, the vendor built on the Mercury portfolio and integrated it more closely into its own software portfolio with a number of announcements at its Software Universe event last month.The new initiatives are getting a thumbs-up from Toronto’s MIC Partner. As a Mercury-centric shop focusing on application performance management and automated quality assurance, sales manager David Mason said he came to Software Universe looking for a commitment from HP to the Mercury legacy platform. He had been hearing hopeful talk of integration, he said, but until the conference hadn’t yet seen details.

“They’ve (shown they’re) committed to it,” said Mason. “They’re putting a lot of money and R&D into it, so we feel positive about that.”

Hayden Coomber, a director with MIC Partner, added a lot of progress has been made recently, and while a lot of integration work remains he likes the direction things are moving in.

“The (recent) changes have been dramatic, though I think there’s a long road still to take,” said Coomber. “But once all those points are met the solution becomes much more around the software lifecycle.”

The expansion of what HP calls its Business Technology Optimization (BTO) capabilities is designed to help customers more rapidly deliver reliable and cost effective IT projects on time said Mark Sarbiewski, senior director, solution marketing with HP.

HP introduced updates to Quality Center Software, including integrating business requirements and quality management capabilities into a real-time system. It also launched LoadRunner software for more advanced testing of Web 2.0, SOA and rich Internet applications.

The company also introduced a product, Change Control Management Software, which incorporates a change advisory board into software. The goal is to cover the software development cycle from conception through development, testing and production.

Far from slowing down, HP’s Sarbiewski said more custom development is being done in the enterprise. What’s changing though is the kind of development being done. Not as much is being built from scratch, but enterprise software like SAP is being customized and needs to be tested, and Sarbiewski said connectors between different platforms are another popular development area.

Sarbiewski came to HP as part of the Mercury acquisition, and he said HP’s strategic bet on software and the investments it is making in the core business are creating opportunities Mercury couldn’t have on its own. Particularly, he said, around building-out a partner ecosystem that can deliver extensions and build on the core software platform.

“We weren’t great at creating that kind of ecosystem to help extend the solution and then deliver it to a large number of customers,” said Sarbiewski. “We were very focused on the biggest of the big at Mercury.”

Channel challenges
In a keynote at HP’s Technology Forum, held during Software Universe, HP’s president and CEO Mark Hurd addressed the vendor’s channel partner community. Admitting HP has a lot of work to do he acknowledged that, in the past, it has been too focused on developing technology and not enough on bringing that technology to market.

With the addition of 1000 people to HP’s global enterprise sales team, Hurd said HP is investing to improve its coverage. The company has some 140,000 partners and Hurd said the goal is not to have 141,000, but to work more closely with the existing channel and help it help HP penetrate the midmarket.

“I think people like our technology and our people, but we have to take our complexity and make it an advantage for you. We shouldn’t push our complexity on you,” said Hurd. “We’re not there yet. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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