Sunday, June 21, 2009

In 'Everything as a Service' Era, Quality of Services and Processes Grows Paramount, Says HP's Purohit

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: Hewlett-Packard.

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.

Please now join me in welcoming Robin Purohit, vice president of software products for HP Software and Solutions. Welcome to the show.

Robin Purohit: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: We’ve heard so much about the external forces that are buffeting the IT department. With the economy, of course, and now with cloud computing, folks are examining a fluid sourcing option future for themselves. This seems to be forcing change. We’re looking at how applications and services are developed, tested, and then deployed. Do you think we’re at a major inflection point in IT?

Purohit: I think there are multiple inflection points, and flexible outsourcing is definitely one of those. Just like the last downturn, severe restrictions on IT budgets force you to rethink things.

One of those things is, what are you really good at, and do you have the skills to do it? Where can you best leverage others outside, whether it’s for a particular service you want them to run for you or for help on doing a certain project for you? How do you make sure that you can do your job really well, and still support the needs of the business while you go and use those partners?

We believe flexible outsourcing is going to really take off, just like it did back in 2001, but this time you’ll have a variety of ways. We can procure those services over the wire on a rateable basis from whatever you want to call them -- cloud providers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, whatever. IT's job will be to make sure all that stuff works inside the business process and services they’re responsible for.

Gardner: We’ve heard this concept of "everything as a service." When we start moving across boundaries and looking at infrastructure, data, and applications, perhaps being separated at some level, a loosely coupled world if you will, the quality of these services goes from "nice to have" to "must have." How do you think the mentality needs to shift in terms of this quality assurance aspect?

Quality is not an option

Purohit: Quality is no longer going to be an option. That’s for sure. I think most customers have started to get that, and they use our quality assurance solutions today to make sure that the production environment is much more rigorous. Do quality better upfront. It's much cheaper to maintain the well-functioning operating environment.

If you think of it as marketplace of services that you're doing internally with maybe many outsource providers, making sure every one of those folks is doing their job well and that it comes together some way, means that you have to have quality in everything you do, quality in everything your partners do, and quality in the end process. Things like service-enabled testing, rather than service-oriented architecture (SOA) is going to become a critical mainstream attribute of quality assurance.

Gardner: What is the role of governance? We’ve heard that word bandied around quite a bit. There is IT governance. There is SOA governance. Perhaps we're going to start to see cloud governance. What’s its role?

Purohit: The role is essentially making sure things work the way you want them to, that you can trust people, or you can put informal service level agreements (SLAs). But, there is nothing like measurement, and what IT governance or cloud governance is going to be about is to make sure that you have a clear view of what your expectations are on both sides.

Then, you have an automatic way of measuring it and tracking against it, so you can course correct or make a decision to either bring it back internally or go to another cloud provider. That’s going to be the great thing about the cloud paradigm -- you’ll have a choice of moving from one outsource provider to another.

Gardner: It may be a cliché, but we hear about "people, process, and products," and the need for all three to be addressed. Looking at the people and the process aspect of that,

As you put in governance, you bring in outside parties -- maybe you’re doing things like cloud capabilities -- you're going to get resistance. You’ve got to train your team to how to embrace those things in the right way.


IT departments, if they’re going to be able to make some of these adjustments we’ve been talking about, perhaps themselves need to adjust. What are we bringing to the table, in order to facilitate a change in how to do business as an IT organization?

Purohit: First of all, I absolutely agree that the most important things to get right are the organizational dynamics. As you put in governance, you bring in outside parties -- maybe you’re doing things like cloud capabilities -- you're going to get resistance. You’ve got to train your team to how to embrace those things in the right way.

What we’re trying to do at HP is step up and bring advisory services to the table across everything that we do to help people think about how they should approach this in their organization, and where they can leverage potentially industry-best practices on the process side, to accelerate the ability for them to get the value out of some of these new initiatives that they are partaking in.

Gardner: Well, people and process have to adjust, and we’re going to apparently bring some tools to allow them to get greater visibility into how they operate -- cost-benefit analysis types of benefits. I also want to plumb a little bit into the products.

At HP, you have quite a wide portfolio. There is test and quality assurance (QA), application lifecycle management, governance as we’ve mentioned, traditional IT management, configuration management databases (CMDBs), and associated tools, project and portfolio management (PPM), asset manager, SOA management, and now IT financial management. Can you help me understand how there is a unifying concept, the glue that ties these together?

Running the business of IT

Purohit: We think that what’s been missing in IT is just thinking about of the way that they construct the systems to run the business. For the last 20 years, IT organizations have been building enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and business intelligence (BI) systems that help you run the business. Now, wouldn’t it be great if there were a suite of software to run the business of IT?

This is what we call Business Technology Optimization (BTO). It’s all about allowing the CEO and their staffs to plan and strategize, construct and deliver, and operate services for the business in a co-ordinated fashion, and link all the decisions to business needs and checkpoints. They make sure that what they do is actually what the business wanted them to do, and, by the way, that they are spending the right money on the right business priorities. We call that the service life cycle.

Gardner: In addition to our process, people and products, there’s the environment. There's a marketplace. It seems to me that HP is at a certain advantageous point. It has a lot of partners, but, as we move towards fluid sourcing, as we become an "everything as a service" world -- certainly not overnight, but perhaps over time -- the way that these ecologies develop becomes important.

In your keynote address, you mentioned a number of partners -- Accenture, Capgemini, SAP, TIBCO, VMware. How does this work, with what you’ve just described, that HP brings to the table from products. How does that relate to a partner ecology?

Purohit: Okay. Well, the first thing is that our partners in the industry are expecting is for us to lead. What we’ve been working on and reinforcing this last year is that we have a blueprint for how to go do this "ERP for IT" concept -- or BTO.

That’s a good thing for the customer, and the vendors like it because it puts them in a bigger context in terms of what we’re all trying to accomplish to the customers, so we look coherent in someway.

We’ve been bringing our products together to fulfill that, and we’ve been trying to articulate to the industry that this is how IT has to change.

What we’ve been doing is saying, "Well, most customer environments have a plethora of different vendors and consultants that are helping them. So, anytime we can help bring one of those consultants or those vendors into this environment, the customer can get to that vision faster." That’s a good thing for the customer, and the vendors like it because it puts them in a bigger context in terms of what we’re all trying to accomplish to the customers, so we look coherent in some way.

There are things that we're doing with Accenture, for example, in helping on the strategy planning side, whether it’s for IT financial management or data-center transformation. We're doing things with VMware to provide the enabling glue for this datacenter of the future, where things are going to be very dynamically moving around to provide the best quality of service at the best cost.

Gardner: Another slide that you presented, which caught my attention, projects a progression that IT is now perhaps accelerating along. It starts with IT financial management. Some news that you’ve made here at the conference is application modernization, which is, I suppose, bringing more platforms, applications, and data into an environment where they can be used, consumed, and propelled forward as services.

Then, there's next-generation data center, cutting the cost, making that more economical and with higher utilization. Then, there's a closed-loop incident and problem management so that app dev can deploy a continuum that's compressed and improved. Lastly, cloud computing. What would come next on this progression?

The unified concept

Purohit: What’s next is making all of that work in that unified concept we were talking about before. We found in talking to the customers that every one of those things that you just mentioned, and that we articulated, is perfectly in line with where they’re trying to go. So we feel pretty good. We’re on the same page as our customers.

We know that they’re trying to do all of that really well and really fast, because they think it all will lead to significant and sustainable cost transformations, and change how they run the business of IT. But, they want one plan. They don’t want seven plans. If there’s one thing they’re asking us to do more, faster, better, and with all of those ecosystem providers is to show them how they can get from their current state to that ideal future state, and do it in a coherent way.

Gardner: You’ve laid all of this out here at the conference. Several thousand people had a chance to chew it over for a few days. What’s been the response? What have you heard?

Purohit: There are a couple of things that we’re really excited about that. We've just seemed to have hit right to the heart of where our customers are trying to go.

Certainly, the IT financial management announcement was a huge hit. Everybody is under a tremendous cost visibility pressure right now. Everybody is gearing up for the FY10 budgeting cycle already, and they think it’s going to be another brutal one. Being able to come to the table with well-informed, accurate financial information, so they can go fight for what they know is right for the business, is just perfect timing.

The other big theme is automation, automation, automation, automation. Basically, everybody wants to talk about it. They know that’s the way they


When we talk about things like requirements, we talk about the requirements that business people have and what they expect of the application, not the functional requirements.

are going to take cost out really quickly.

The last thing, over half the people here at the user conference are application developers, testers, and architects. So, there's a lot of discussion on Agile development, and how they can work with us to accelerate the way they can get these new Agile processes in place, but doing it in a way that they have a great result, and not just move faster.

Gardner: I suppose it’s important if we have a class of developer -- a class of tester and architect, as you mentioned -- that they act in concert in some way.

Purohit: That’s right, and that’s where our focus has always been -- to get those three constituents working together in the center of excellence concepts. Now, it's increasingly around the lifecycle of the application itself, from design to development to delivery, and most importantly, looking at application life cycle linked to the needs of the business.

When we talk about things like requirements, we talk about the requirements that business people have and what they expect of the application, not the functional requirements. That way, you're going to make sure that all of your energy is focused on the right thing, and to get to the end of the project is actually a success. You don’t have to restart, which is not a good thing, especially right now when budgets are so tight. You can’t afford to be wasting money.

Gardner: No margin for error, right?

Purohit: No margin for error anymore.

Gardner: Well, great. Thanks very much. We've been discussing some of the announcements and the conceptual framework that they fall into here at Software Universe. We’ve been joined by Robin Purohit, vice president of software products for HP Software and Solutions. Thanks so much.

Purohit: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: 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: Hewlett-Packard.

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.