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HP's software group this week has renewed its march toward profitability by rolling out two new OpenView software packages designed to give customers' better insight into their application and service performance. New to the HP software fold are the OpenView Business Process Insight (BPI) and Route Analytics Management System products. Dull names, you say. Maybe so. But it's exactly this type of software that is meant to carry HP's software business from the red to the black over the next year. David Gee, a vice president of marketing at HP, touts the BPI product as the real advance being delivered this week by the company at the HP Software Forum in Montreal.

"What this allows a CIO to do is shine a big light on a business process or multiple businesses processes and see how well they are performing," Gee said.

The OpenView BPI software watches over a customer's transactional software. If BEA application server response times are low, BPI sends a message back to the administrator. If slow credit checks are costing a customer millions a month, BPI is there to rat out the culprit. Simply put, BPI is a handy performance analysis tool.

HP built the software in-house, which is something of a rarity for the company of late. You'll recall that HP has recently acquired a host of small ISVs, including TruLogica, Novadigm, Consera, and Talking Blocks. These firms are meant to help HP build out its OpenView arsenal. The idea is to offer up various management "modules" to customers for everything from performance analysis to application provisioning and billing.

During an analyst conference last week, HP's CEO Carly Fiorina declared these as key bets that will help carry HP's software business out of the doldrums.

"We continue to have losses (in software)," she said. "We want to bring that business back to profitability, but that will probably not happen until 2005 because we are making very targeted investments."

So how will all these acquisitions pay off?

Well, Gee outlined a vision where the BPI software might be wrapped with other packages such as application provisioning and server configuration tools. A customer might shell out a little extra cash to know that HP's software can detect a performance lag and then bring up a server to make up for the problem in an automatic fashion at close to real-time.

It's a grand vision, but HP doesn't go small.

On the day, HP did take another step toward its goal with the OpenView Route Analytics Management product. This software tracks the flow of data through a network, noting networking performance problems. It gives administrators a few tools for seeing how a change to a network may affect various systems and overall network performance.

HP assured us that both of the new products are available now but was not prepared to provide pricing information. Best of luck. ®

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