Partner claims HP/Mercury is on the right track

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 this week.

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 that came under the HP partner umbrella with the acquisition, 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.

“What we were looking for was a commitment from HP on how they’re going to continue on with the Mercury legacy products,” said Mason. “They’ve (shown they’re) committed to it, 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 by HP with Mercury 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.

On the former Mercury/quality management side 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 right Internet applications. As well, Quality Factory settings, a set of best practices and services for application quality and performances process, was added to HP’s Services Application Lifecycle Optimization offering.

The company also introduced a product, Change Control Management Software, which incorporates a change advisory board — recommended in ITIL — into software. It helps automate approvals processes and reduces the need for multiple change advisory meetings to push changes out to systems, industry watchers say.

“This product can eliminate tasks that a change advisory board would typically have to do,” said Evelyn Hubbert, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. Because the software incorporates Mercury technology with HP’s focus on service management and ITIL best practices, Hubbert says “HP has done more work than it has in the past at working across different divisions. The product is a significant step forward in integration.”

The goal is to cover the software development cycle from conception and needs research through development, testing and production. Far from slowing down, HP’s Sarbiewski said more and more custom software development is being done in the enterprise.

What’s changing though, he said, is the kind of development being done. Not as much is being built from scratch, but enterprise software like SAP is being customized and that work still needs to be tested, and Sarbiewski said connectors between different platforms is another popular development area.

“Those connection points are where a lot of things can go wrong, so they need to be verified over and over,” said Sarbiewski. “That’s part of the opportunity we see.”

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.

“That’s something HP brings that Mercury wasn’t very good at,” said Sarbiewski. “ 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. We were very focused on the biggest of the big at Mercury.”

Also at Software Universe, MIC Partner was recognized as a top Canadian partner as part of the vendor’s BTO awards. Coomber said the recognition was in large part for MIC’s global work with Nortel Networks. A large Quality Center shop with 3500 daily users, Nortel is a long term MIC client and uses Quality Center to manage device testing worldwide.

Coomber said MIC’s focus is to provide the support and services behind the software to make sure the tools provide the business value our clients are looking for.

“We’re trying to build a practice around building quality centres of excellence and performance centres of excellence,” said Coomber. “Many of our clients have been long-term customers of the solution and yet only using a small per cent age of the actual functionality of the tool.”

With files from IDG News Service

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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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