HP unfurls Instant-On initiative

New HP initiative emphasizes need for IT to reduce complexity and be more responsive to changing business needs

HP this week took the wraps off a new cross-company initiative that packages its hardware, software and services in an effort to help large enterprises reduce IT complexity and become more responsive to the needs of the business and customers.

It's the first big move from HP since the arrival of new CEO Leo Apotheker, who officially took the reins on Monday.

While Apotheker didn't architect the vision, he won't have a problem evangelizing it, predicts Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. "It's exactly what a CEO should be driving." Depending on how HP delivers on its vision, it will likely shape Apotheker's reign at HP, Enderle adds. "It may very well define his initial tenure at the company."

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HP is articulating its vision around what it calls the "Instant-On Enterprise," which it defines as an organization that uses technology to provide better, faster service to its customers, even as business requirements and consumer expectations keep changing.

By integrating the work of its hardware, software and services divisions, HP says it can help companies navigate disruptive trends such as the influx of mobile devices and the introduction of cloud computing services.

The initiative is targeted squarely at large enterprises and government customers. Competitively, it's a move against IBM as well as Oracle, which is gaining influence as an umbrella vendor offering software, hardware and services. The effort also targets Acadia, the alliance struck by EMC, VMware and Cisco, which is gunning for large enterprise mindshare, too, Enderle notes.

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In effect, HP is using this launch to reassure IT buyers that all the different divisions of HP are working toward a common goal of reducing complexity and simplifying management for IT teams, Enderle says. "That kind of message traditionally plays very well with the IT buyer," Enderle says. However, it is largely a marketing message at this point, and "the devil is in the details," he adds.

Out of the gate, HP's Instant-On plan is coupled with new offerings that bundle hardware, software and consulting services.  Each of the bundles, generally speaking, is aimed at simplifying IT.

The bundles include: HP Application Transformation, which is aimed at helping enterprises modernize legacy applications and retool inflexible processes; HP Converged Infrastructure, which ties together server, storage, networking and management resources in an effort to create a less rigid, more agile infrastructure; HP Enterprise Security, which looks to align people, process, technology and content security requirements; and HP Information Optimization, which is focused on streamlining and improving how information is gathered, stored and used in an organization.

In addition, HP's announcement addresses the impact of mobile devices -- though HP hasn't detailed the specific products and services that it will be offering. Nonetheless, the inclusion of mobile devices is welcome news for IT groups that are struggling to handle the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, Enderle says. "It's a high concern right now. It represents a huge unplanned time sink and potential security risk for the IT organizations, so they're looking for a lot of help right now, from a variety of companies, to get their arms around this."

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