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HP: 'IT, as we know it, is over'

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Is BT BS?

Virtualized servers? Reference architectures? Lending a helping hand to Oracle? HP has done all this before, so how are we now in a BT instead of IT era?

Well, HP surveyed more than 100 CEOs and CIOs and found – this will shock you – that the executives expect more out of their technology. Companies want to use technology as an advantage but don't quite know how, according to HP.

HP discovered that 80 per cent of CEOs and 90 per cent of CIOs surveyed “share the goal that technology should drive business outcome.” Alas, only 35 per cent of these folks “believe that today they are successful in doing that.”

“We think we need to start measuring technology differently,” said Deborah Nelson, a SVP at HP. “We need to start measuring how technology is helping to grow company. Are we mitigating risk? Are we lowering cost? We need to think along those lines.”

According to HP, this is a trend that rivals have yet to discover.

More cynical types will suggest this is just a slight evolution in HP's data center marketing. Carly Fiorina gave us the Adaptive Enterprise. Mark Hurd gave as the Adaptive Infrastructure. And now we have the Adaptive Infrastructure with a BT wrapper.

Is this HP going against Nick Carr's oft-cited claim that IT doesn't really matter?

“Hell, yes,” Nelson said.

So, it's either that businesses are really inept at using technology or they simply don't know how to make use of the tools available. HP is banking on the latter scenario and has some new services to help.

For example, HP has rolled out a complementary program where it will visit your business and assess what state you're in with regard to the Adaptive Infrastructure. Again, HP has done this in the past, but this time it has “measurable statistics” on its side from the survey and customer case studies.

Put on your Tom Cruise costume because HP wants you to visit new “Realization Centers” as well.

The new centers have popped up in the US, France, Australia, China and Japan. Customers can visit the centers and test out various Shared Services and utility-style computing technology. “This gives customers a quick way to figure out whether a given set of technology is right for them,” HP told us.

Has HP really discovered a new trend? We're not sure. It hardly seems a secret that businesses are unsatisfied with their technology investments and rarely know how to get the most out of their gear. We thought that's how companies such as HP made lots of money.

“We are saying that business technology is an evolution from the Adaptive Enterprise, which was all about synchronizing business and IT,” Nelson said. “We are beyond that. We are to a point where technology is powering business and where we need to be held accountable at the same level as other parts of the business.”

HP's BT push may have a lot of goop hanging off it, but the overall message seems pretty sound. At least in rhetoric, HP wants to put more pressure on technology vendors to sell something of value.

You've been given a wide set of tools and now it's time to figure out if any of this stuff works. If not, HP will gladly listen to your complaints . . . apparently. ®

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