HP redefines IT performance management

New software suite and other tools aimed at helping IT show its value to the business

When enterprise IT professionals think about IT performance management after today, HP hopes they do so with a much different idea in mind -- and capabilities at hand -- than traditionally so.

The company has launched a strategy and products aimed at helping maximize IT's value -- and show its strategic worth, says John Knightly, vice president of solution marketing at HP Software. "In our view," he says, "IT is one of the most strategic investments a company can make, but it's ironically one of the least visible to executive management and the board of directors."

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The first product, HP IT Performance Suite, is geared around helping CIOs and IT executives much better manage and optimize the investments, people and processes of running IT like a business, Knightly says. That's teamed with the HP IT Executive Scorecard, which he describes as enabling a "cascading performance management system." From the scorecard dashboard IT leaders will be able to manage objects and outcomes for which they're held responsible and cascade those to their teams and further down the line, he says.

"This provides a way of managing the key performance indicators, or KPIs, that a world-class IT organization should manage and measure against and to know that those KPIs are digitally populated and automated by the products across our suite of software," Knightly says.

Toward that end, HP has worked with experts to identify 170 KPIs that would point to a world-class IT organization and has made sure that its software products in the new suite are digitally capturing the majority -- 150 -- of those today, he says. The impending scorecard, for which HP uses SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence software, will measure 50 of those KPIs when it becomes available in July.

Built on an open data model, the scorecard will be able to take feeds from underlying HP systems, external systems or from competitive products, Knightly says.

At a high level, deliverable information will include the value IT is providing to the business, how well IT is doing from a customer satisfaction perspective, how operationally efficient IT is in terms of managing its processes and projects, how well it's able to predict where the business needs to go in the future and how much agility it has for dealing with that, Knightly says. Cascading downward from there will help show who's being held accountable for what, for example.

"Each product in the suite helps better performance for discrete tasks, whether that's for network availability or application performance. But when you add them up as a family of products at the suite level what the scorecard and our open data model let you do is take those insights and bring to a higher level to help the IT leadership team get an overall view of how investments and processes are performing," he describes.

In addition, HP also now offers online assessment tools for delivery of benchmark reports. The initial tools, available today, are tools for CIO and cloud assessments. And, HP is developing additional online communities around IT performance management. It had already had a CIO community, and will add ones for IT leaders in application, operations, security and information management disciplines.

"The whole leadership team can get valuable insights not only from HP but also from each other and third-party experts," Knightly says.

HP declined to discuss specific pricing of its new products.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.