Sunday, June 21, 2009

HP Software Marketing Head Anton Knolmar Delves into Creating New IT Economies of Performance

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast recorded at the Hewlett-Packard Software Universe 2009 Conference in Las Vegas the week of June 15, 2009.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you on location from the Hewlett-Packard Software Universe 2009 Conference in Las Vegas. We’re here in the week of June 15, 2009 to explore the major enterprise software and solutions trends and innovations that are making news across the global HP ecology of customers, partners and developers.

I'm Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I'll be your host throughout this special series of HP Sponsored Software Universe live discussions.

Now, please join me for our latest discussion. We’re now joined by Anton Knolmar, vice president of marketing for HP Software and Solutions. Welcome to the show, Anton.

Anton Knolmar: Hi, Dana. Welcome.

Gardner: We’ve heard a lot here at Software Universe about IT departments and their overall businesses having to do more with less and doing additional productivity, but spending less money to do so. It sounds simple, but it's very complex. How do companies, particularly IT departments within companies approach that problem?

Knolmar: It’s the right question at the moment because, as you said, IT budgets are not going up at the moment. They have to invest their money in what they have at the moment. They have to prioritize the projects that they have.

We have the right solution, the portfolio around this, at the moment. They can get a good insight into what’s happening in their current environment and what they’re doing in terms of development, application modernization, and claims around the operational environment.

We provide them with all the data that they would need to make these decisions and to make the decisions about what’s right to take forward and what has the best business impact and business outcome for the projects they want to try to bring forward within their company.

Gardner: And what specifically are we hearing from attendees? What’s top of mind for these folks at this point in time?

Knolmar: We've just come out of an executive track. We had about 70 people gathered for the discussion. What is at the top of their minds is all about linking IT with the business. This is a story that we've been telling now for more than 10 or 15 years, and the storyline is not over.

They’re still trying to bridge the gap and talk business language, instead of IT language. One the other hand, they're trying as well to look at the emerging trends.

. . . a lot of these activities that were going on in the past -- utility computing, adaptive enterprise, eServices -- failed because they couldn’t be managed . . .

What the heck does this cloud means for them? How can you do cloud computing here? Does this bring added value to them? What’s the business outcome they can drive out of those activities?

That’s definitely on their radar screen, as we’re moving then a little bit away from the maintenance mode and investing into more innovative approach for the CFO to perceive the future and the next fiscal year, 2010.

Gardner: Another element of complexity is entering for folks as they plan for the future. You mentioned cloud computing. I suppose we could even simplify that in terms of multiple source options or more options for sourcing.

We’re dealing with software decisions, services decisions, "everything-as-a-service." We’re seeing solutions approaches and now we’ve got sourcing. So, basically, we have four S's. It’s a third dimension or a fourth dimension. Do you have any suggestions for folks as to how to begin to approach that sourcing issue in particular?

An important piece

Knolmar: For us, an important piece around sourcing and the offering that we have around the cloud is two-fold. As you mentioned, there are different acronyms out there, everything as a service, platform as a service (PaaS). We're offering software as a service (SaaS) and we’ve been offering this for quite a long time.

What companies are facing at the moment is that a lot of these activities that were going on in the past -- utility computing, Adaptive Enterprise, eServices -- failed because they couldn’t be managed, but it was out there on the Web, on the Internet.

Our offerings around the cloud at the moment are governance tools along with the cloud. You can really manage the cloud. You can really secure the cloud. And, you can get the right performance out of the cloud. That’s our offering at the moment to our customers. They can take the first step, getting this one right, and move into the cloud environment, instead of [just] looking at a different sourcing options.

These are very customized ways for a lot of customers if they want to move into private cloud, if they want to extend the private cloud, or they want to go to the public cloud. Whatever offering they take, we want to be equipped, on behalf of HP, to provide the flexibility in terms of sourcing to our customers, so that they have the choice. They have to believe that we are the right path to work with.

Gardner: Of course, as folks move into new decisions or outsourcing, to move into anything of that magnitude too soon involves risks. What is HP bringing to the table in order to reduce the risks, allow people to exploit these new efficiencies, but remain true to their mission-critical nature at the same time?

Knolmar: That’s exactly the point. You have to make the steps. Are those steps business-critical to where the customers are moving at the moment?

Our approach at this time is that we enable them to have the appropriate developing and testing tools in terms of quality, performance, and security.

Is this meeting the business needs and demands of their lines of business in their companies? It comes back to what we talked about briefly before, as well about prioritization. Does this have a business impact? What’s the revenue impact of driving a new approach forward?

Mitigation of risk will never go away. At the moment, everyone is talking about reduction of costs, but there is always a risk factor attached to it. Hopefully, the outcome will be that a lot of companies can talk about their revenue growth again, moving from 2009 into 2010.

We are ready to drive those three angles. How we can help customers drive revenue growth? How we can help them mitigate the risk? And, on the other side, how can we help them get their costs under control? These are the three angles will be on the table for quite some time, as well for next year. We are ready to have these conversations with our customers.

Gardner: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is really in its infancy. Companies are, in many cases, just becoming acquainted with some of these concepts. But, developers, in particular, have become quite enamored of cloud, using tools and PaaS, but that’s only one part of a lifecycle approach to applications, moving through test and quality assurance, and into full production. Do you have any insights as to where HP would fit into this notion and appeal for developers?

Finding appropriate tools

Knolmar: The developer community, as you said, has different concerns in terms of developing the applications and developing things for the cloud as well. Our approach at this time is that we enable them to have the appropriate developing and testing tools in terms of quality, performance, and security. These are essentially for those people who have to develop applications well for the cloud. Those are blocked in immediately, are ready to go out there, and can be managed across the lifecycle.

Gardner: In many cases, the expectation, at least among many fellow analysts and me, is that an initial major application for clouds will be for business intelligence (BI) and data mining. This is because of the size of the data sources and the need for availing massive performance capabilities, but perhaps not all at the same time. There is a need for elasticity, when you address data mining and business intelligence issues. This perhaps explains the need for a private cloud. What is your perspective from HP and what it can bring to the table for BI as a killer app for cloud computing?

Knolmar: BI, as you said, deals with the information explosion, what is going on at the moment. There was a little video during the opening at the main stage. BI, information overflow, and how to manage information are essential pieces. Getting the right information at the right place and making the appropriate decisions are still on top of the agenda for lot of our customers at the moment. It’s been the number one issue for quite some time, and I think it will be the number one issue for quite some time.

We have an offering in these four lines of business in HP Software & Solutions. One is, you gather around the BI piece.

Talking with customers, there's huge interest about how can we accelerate, how can we move faster, what are the different options, and how can be very cost effective at the end of the day.

What we are investigating at the moment is really about how can we bring those offerings as more of a direct offering to our customers in terms of purchasing and licensing? How can you bring those offering into kind of a cloud offering?

But, that still needs some further negotiations inside the company, as well, about development products. But that’s definitely an interesting angle. Talking with customers, there's huge interest about how can we accelerate, how can we move faster, what are the different options, and how can be very cost effective at the end of the day.

Gardner: Another big area of interest for clouds is the need to mitigate risk, as we pointed out earlier, but also to gain some sense of neutrality and openness, so that if one were to move assets from their IT department into a third party cloud, would they have portability? Would they be able to move it around or would they be in some new abstraction of lock in? They’re looking, I think, for certification and trust and some guarantee of flexibility. What role can HP play? Is there a need for a Swiss neutral approach in the cloud ecology?

Knolmar: That's interesting. I was driving through Switzerland, and they still keep the neutrality, so it’s very difficult to get across the border. That’s not the approach we want to take on behalf of HP. HP was always a very open company in terms of approaching new standards, getting new standards in house, and giving the customers the flexibility to give them the best choice about how they want to move forward here with a way.

So, I assume that we’ll be very open in terms of not being a closed environment. What we’re going to offer to all customers is keeping them alive and giving them the choices they want, as we are moving forward in the cloud environment.

Gardner: We’ve also seen trend-wise in the industry an interest in appliances and of optimizing hardware and software together. Not all companies have both hardware and software. For those that do, like HP, do you have any insight into whether an appliance model makes sense for a private cloud delivery mechanism?

Struggling with the cloud

Knolmar: I think it is going a little too detailed. People are still struggling to understand what the cloud can offer to them. Is it hardware? Is it software? Is it a combination appliance? What we are offering and what we want to offer more the moment is a kind of awareness workshop around the cloud, which means getting customers understanding what the cloud is, what it can provide to them, and what it's offering. Then, it will be a very customized approach from a customer-to-customer perspective.

Potentially, it’s a combination, getting into the appliance pieces, but also potentially only a SaaS model for customers for the foreseeable future. It comes back to a customer perspective, but we haven't drilled down into the appliances piece at the moment.

Gardner: All right. And the issue of governance is also important for cloud not spinning out of control, as some folks have experienced with virtualization, and not wanting to lose control vis-à-vis cloud deployments.

For the governance piece, many of us analysts have also recognized that having a background in services-oriented architecture (SOA) and moving towards service enablement on premises,

That’s where we're investing at the moment with our portfolio, helping and providing the customers in terms of cloud governance.

even well before a cloud engagement of any kind, makes good sense as a preparatory step. Is cloud another good reason to embark on SOA methodologies?

Knolmar: You mentioned a couple of different buzzwords. IT governance or governance is an important piece for companies at the moment. It will be even more important moving forward here, because you touch on cloud governance, it's an essential piece. Otherwise, these things will not survive in the market here. That’s where we're investing at the moment with our portfolio, helping and providing the customers in terms of cloud governance. Cloud Assure is one piece of it, helping them to get this going.

Underlying architectures, like moving SOA forward, has moved a little bit away from the top 10 priorities, as Gartner is saying. SOA has moved a little bit down the list at the moment here. It's not essential. It’s not important any longer on the list of the CIOs in terms of deploying a SOA.

It’s more about coming back to what we said before about what is the outcome and what I can get with my investments in these different architectures? Does it help me and enable me to try future investments? What are the new technologies or emerging business needs popping up here? Can I deploy them and can I implement them? Can I roll them out as well for the future?

Gardner: Well great. Thanks for taking time from a very busy conference. We’ve been talking with Anton Knolmar, vice president of marketing for HP Software & Solutions, thanks so much!

Knolmar: Thank you, Dana.

Thanks for joining us for this special BriefingsDirect podcast, coming to you on location from the Hewlett-Packard Software Universe 2009 Conference in Las Vegas.

I'm Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of HP sponsored Software Universe Live Discussions. Thanks for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast recorded at the Hewlett-Packard Software Universe 2009 Conference in Las Vegas the week of June 15, 2009. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2009. All rights reserved.