Finding lights under bushels

HP has more news than it thinks

Comment It is true that there was not a great deal of hot news lying around at HP’s annual bash, Software Universe, held this year in Nice. Even the departure last week of VP of the software division, Norah Denzil, caused only quizzical speculation as to why someone should depart having just delivered on a corporate objective to bring the division into profit for the fourth quarter of the company’s financial year.

Not even the declaration of Todd DeLaughter, VP and general manager of the division’s OpenView business unit – and acting head since Denzil’s departure – that he had not tossed his own hat in the ring as her replacement caused much excitement or surprise.

But there were issues of some interest to developers and architects, not least of which was DeLaughter’s suggestion that, whoever took over, the objective would be the continued development of the current strategy, which he suggested is the creation of the “lights out” datacentre. In practice, this does seem an odd focus point for a company pitching at creating an infrastructure platform on which adaptive enterprises can readily be built. The datacentre that needs little thought or attention, particularly from business users, is no bad target: as DeLaughter said, the target is the “man and a dog” datacentre where the man feeds the dog, and dog stops the man from touching anything. In an agile business that can respond quickly to business changes, automation of the process of change is important, but it does mean that the lights should be shone elsewhere, such as what can be done with an adaptive enterprise.

The company did have some of those lights to shine in Nice, though it could be argued they perhaps could have focussed them better. For example, it announced OpenView Dashboard Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 of Business Process Insight with only the shortest of muted fanfares. I, for one, sat and tussled with a jaded memory that could remember the words “OpenView” and “Dashboard” used by HP in close proximity some 15 years ago, probably more. Version 1.0 still lived?

Well, no, this is something significantly different. According to DeLaughter this is, in practice, the new user interface to Business Process Insight, and the pairing is designed to provide business users with a business-wide view of business activity, expressed in business metrics, in as near real-time as possible.

He observed that many businesses are not yet interested in exposing Line of Business (LOB) managers to what is happening in IT departments, or how IT is supporting business processes, and lies an important issue: the on-going misunderstandings between IT and business managers as to what the other is all about. The one advantage that tools such as Business Process Insight and the Dashboard bring to the IT function is the ability to demonstrate their capabilities in ways that LOB managers can clearly see and understand. It could even allow IT to identify potential business problems or improvements to business processes.

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