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HP releases tools for mobile app development

Analyst says HP has taken 'a good first step' into the mobile app development and deployment market with its Application Transformation Solutions

By , Network World
March 20, 2012 06:15 AM ET

Network World - HP announced on Tuesday the release of several tools aimed at simplifying the enterprise mobile application development and deployment processes.

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HP announced Application Transformation Solutions, a suite of services and software that provide social media-influenced collaboration tools for development teams, intelligence and management tools for the development lifecycle, a platform through which mobile apps can be distributed to customers, and a mobile app testing service offered through a partnership with Perfecto Mobile.

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Paul Evans, worldwide lead for application transformation at HP, says the Application Transformation Solutions are HP's answer to the growing demand for customized applications designed with customer engagement in mind. In order for enterprises to develop and offer these tools regularly, however, many will need to undergo fundamental changes to the way they develop new products, Evans says.

"We have got to change the way we think about software, how we build software and how we distribute software," Evans says. "And that is going to change."

Among other things, operational change in the age of mobile apps will entail more effective communication between line of business decision makers and the technology side of the enterprise, says Matt Morgan, global senior director of product and solution marketing for HP's IP solution business unit.

"The line of business is becoming more aware of the capabilities, largely through consumerization," Morgan says. "They go to the Apple Store and learn about all this stuff and ask, 'Why can't I have this?' So their requirements of their IT shop are evolving."

However, HP's best chance at establishing itself in this market is through its testing solution, says Dave West, Forrester Research vice president and research director serving application development and delivery professionals. HP's partnership with Perfecto Mobile gives it an edge by providing on-demand access to Perfecto's cloud-connected devices upon which applications can be tested for reliability, West says. Combined with HP's focus on mobile app deployment, testing tools will help set it apart from the rest of the market, he says.

"HP is in a good position. If it was all about custom application development, then they're not as strong as an IBM or a Microsoft or the open source world," West says. "But if it's about enterprise deployment, they have an incredibly strong offering."

However, one of HP's main strengths may also be seen by some customers as a weak spot. By partnering with Perfecto Mobile on its testing service, HP may instill uncertainty in potential customers expecting HP support, West says.

"Obviously, if you're buying from HP you'll want to feel some level of security in the situation," he says. "The thing that's interesting about this is it will make [the customer] question who owns this. If something goes wrong, who's on the hook? That's what it'll do. It'll probably slow down deals more than stop them."

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