HP ProFile: Azzarello Brings OpenView into Focus

HP Pro's interview with Patty Azzarello, HP's new GM of the OpenView Software Business Unit.

If there were any doubts about the importance HP is placing on its OpenView enterprise management suite, HP CEO and President Carly Fiorina erased them in her keynote at the OpenView Forum, held in Orlando, Florida, in June. OpenView, Fiorina said, is "the rock that we’re building our software strategy and services on." No wonder. Fiorina pointed out that if OpenView were an independent company, it would be among the world’s 20 largest software businesses.

Fiorina’s keynote followed a flurry of announcements from HP, which used the Forum to showcase enhancements to OpenView and reveal future plans.

For the enterprise, HP announced that VantagePoint Operations 6.0 provides the same functionality for Sun Solaris as it does for UNIX and Windows platforms. HP also unveiled a Transaction Management Quartet for VantagePoint. The so-called quartet is a common repository and set of integrated reports, combining actual end user transaction information from the VantagePoint Web Transaction Observer, simulated transactions at the edge of the enterprise from VantagePoint Internet Services, simulated transactions from the major backbone providers through an integration with Keynote Perspective and IT infrastructure management data supplied by VantagePoint Operations and Performance. Also unveiled was a SMART Plug-In Gallery, actually an online environment for users to distribute free management software for e-business applications and infrastructures, like Ariba, i2 Technologies, Portal and Vitria.

HP, which touted "closed-loop" service management throughout the Forum, unveiled VantagePoint SAP Business Transaction Observer. The product for SAP gives IT information on the impact of SAP transactions on volume and usage patterns at the application layer.

HP’s OpenView offering for the mid-tier has been enhanced to provide Internet Information Service (IIS) monitoring, realtime alert notifications and reports that correlate line-of-business data with IT infrastucture. OpenView Express 2.0 provides for firewall security by transmitting alarms and data through the Internet traffic firewall.

HP also has beefed up its support for Windows 2000 in Express by providing additional management rules for Win 2000 and full data protection for the Active Directory Service database structure and new NTFS 5.0 enhancements. A new alliance with FastLane Technologies is allowing HP to offer Windows NT to Windows 2000 migration services.

HP is also partnering with Dirig Software to extend Express Web server management to Linux and Apache. An alliance with Keynote Systems will allow companies using Express to manage Web server performance using internal IT metric and external performance metrics.

Following up on all this news, HP Professional sat down for an exclusive interview with Patty Azzarello, the General Manager of the OpenView Software Business Unit. Appointed to her position about five weeks before the Forum took place, Azzarello brings software savvy to her new post, having worked for a number of well-known software companies before joining HP about five years ago. Azzarello sees OpenView, not only as the driver of HP’s software strategy, but as crucial in establishing HP’s presence as an e-company.

HP Pro: How did your last position as general manager of HP’s E-Solutions business prepare you for this new role as head of OpenView?

Azzarello: Well, I’ve been in the software business for my whole career, except for two years that I spent in the workstation business … And, I think I still bring a very good perspective of what goes on outside HP, in terms of the experiences I had in software companies prior to joining HP. And, that’s a big piece, I think, of [what] I’ll bring into this role, because we have a new sense at HP of comparing ourselves to external measures and not just saying we did better this quarter than last quarter.

With regard to the past year I spent in E-Solutions, we had customers all over the map who were struggling to reinvent themselves for an e-business initiative or to start doing e-commerce. And I was responsible for e-commerce solutions and customer relationship solutions, portal solutions and business intelligence solutions. It was a portfolio of businesses in which OpenView plays a very solid role in creating the foundation for e-things to work right. As you put all your business assets on the Web and turn them into e-services, it better work.

In the E-Solutions job I led the development of HP’s overall software strategy. So, I got a very personal insight into the level of support and the importance of software at HP in that project. And it’s great to see that HP is really looking at software as a vital component of its growth engine for the future and understands that a different business model is required for support of software.

HP Pro: How has HP adjusted business models to fit the software business?

Azzarello: I’ll talk about two key differences [between the business models for hardware and software], although there are many. One is the way we treat support revenue. In a software business, your support revenue becomes your annuity stream, and it directly funds your new product development. Software businesses just work that way. That’s why you go into the software business – to get this annuity stream and fuel your growth. At HP, we were separating our support revenue and putting it into a support division like we do for the platform group. That is not in support of a software business model. Now, OpenView and our other software businesses have the support revenue coming back in and fueling the business. That follows the fundamental software business model.

Another thing that’s very different is the way the sales channel works. The way we sell and the way we recruit partners and the way we work with partners is much more specialized in software. It’s a very value-add kind of sale, and it’s a very solution-oriented sale. A hardware platform box is an enabler, and a software application is a specialty. So, you must have a specialty sales force to be successful selling software, and you must recruit a specialty channel. In OpenView we have a lot of plans to expand our sales force and channel quite aggressively.

HP Pro: When will this expansion begin, and what does it involve?

Azzarello: It’s already begun. We’re in the process of expanding our sales force now, and we’re looking at very aggressive growth numbers – more than 50 percent growth in the sales force – over the next few months. There’s a big market out there, and we want to jump on it.

HP Pro: Are you targeting new customers or primarily the installed base?

Azzarello: Our installed base is not using all of our products. It has more network management software than anything else, and OpenView has a whole new portfolio of software. So, the installed base continues to be a main target. Making sure we’re aggressive in selling our new value propositions and our new products into our installed base, I think, gives us a jump up on some of the new competitors that are starting from scratch.

The other thing we’re doing, in terms of what shouldn’t really be a new sales channel but a new level of focus, is integrating with HP’s top 100 accounts program, so we’re going to have OpenView specialists who become part of the global account teams. That, I think, is going to open up a new channel of business into the enterprise accounts.

The market that’s growing very fast right now is the Solaris market. A very fundamental component of being a real software business is that you have to support multiple platforms. Solaris is a fast-growing market segment for us where we don’t have the big installed base, so this is a real growth engine. As we expand our sales force and our channel program, we want to make sure to reach the Sun customers. And the Sun customers are easier to reach through our channel partners than they are with the HP badge on.

There’s a lot of new NT business as well, both in the enterprise and in the mid-market. The mid-market is underserved. Smaller companies have IT organizations that have one guy or a small group of people. Until recently, IT was just managing the company’s print and e-mail, and having a reasonably happy life. Then, the CEO goes on an airplane and reads an article about e-commerce, and suddenly IT management becomes a huge new set of challenges – keeping the Web page up and running and reliable and those kinds of things. Our OpenView Express is really targeted at fulfilling that niche.

And then, NT in the enterprise is another growing market.

One of my first initiatives is to embark on a business-planning process across all of OpenView, and we’re going to assess the whole portfolio of opportunities and be very specific about the winning plays we’re going to go after.

HP Pro: Obviously, e-commerce has dramatically affected IT management overall. Can you talk a bit about these effects and the way OpenView fits in?

Azzarello: The most major effect is that IT is no longer in the back room. IT used to support the business behind the scenes. As you start turning yourself into a business with an Internet presence and your interaction with your customers is over the Internet, IT becomes business-fundamental. If you’re a service provider, IT is your business.

It used to be that you managed systems that sat in your own network, that you had control over. The fact that the Internet now causes your business and your services to reach outside to domains and systems that you don’t have control over is an excellent opportunity for OpenView to really start driving in the direction of following those transactions around the Internet and measuring them. And, we’ve got a head start.

HP Pro: You’ve just introduced SAP Business Transaction Observer, which gives IT a lot of information about the impact of SAP transactions. Do you plan similar integration with other applications, perhaps front-office apps?

Azzarello: In some cases, we’ll have deeper integration. Already, we’re going to market with a OpenView-BroadVision integration. This is something I started in my prior assignment. One of the things that characterizes our software strategy is a real choice about investing in some places and partnering with best-of-breed in other places. And that, by definition, implies integration. And so, at the HP software strategy level, the integration strategy is one of the key things that we’re working on right now. The good news is that OpenView is already integrated with a lot of these things.

The SMART Plug-Ins and the SMART Plug-In Gallery are a good way to get to market quickly. I think, however, that as we put together our integration plan for our software strategy, and we make some key plays, it will make sense to have a much deeper integration approach and provide more management capabilities. But, I haven’t got all that figured out yet.

HP Pro: Back to trends affecting IT. How has the rise of service providers changed the landscape?

Azzarello: One of the issues service providers address is that there simply aren’t enough people on the planet to do all of the IT work. At one time, IT feared that their jobs were going to be outsourced, but these people are in such demand now that that’s just really changed.

What I see is that IT organizations within enterprises are becoming service providers. You just can’t be an IT organization going about your business and telling the business people, "Everything is working okay, just keep giving us money." It’s very much a service provider model, where the enterprise organization has to deliver on service level agreements just as a service provider would. And, again, for OpenView, this is a very interesting dynamic, because we’ve already started making progress in abstracting the information of, not just managing all of the components and the systems and the devices, but what it adds up to in terms of the service you’re delivering. The recent release of VantagePoint delivers even more functionality for service level management.

HP Pro: Another change that will affect system management is wireless. What are you planning in this area?

Azzarello: Wireless is regarded as the huge growth opportunity by everybody. And one of the three vectors in HP’s strategy is information appliances. [The other two vectors are infrastructure and e-services.] So, in terms of OpenView, there are a lot of reasons to look into the wireless opportunity – both the basic growth of wireless and the alignment with HP strategy.

I see a couple of things. One is that applications that serve wireless information appliances need to be managed, but in that sense, it’s pretty much like application management. It just happens to be an application that’s a wireless application.

Then, there’s a whole concept of provisioning and things that are specific to managing the information appliances and devices themselves. I think this is a really interesting opportunity for OpenView, and, strategically, that’s right in line with my direction. So, in terms of users interacting with their wireless information appliances and the transactions that are routed across the Internet, I would like to see OpenView be recognized as the management package able to manage that whole transaction.

HP Pro: If you were to sum up your goals for OpenView, what would they be?

Azzarello: My goals are to get the product program aligned behind the mission of being the leader in e-services management – get wider recognition for OpenView for the leading business it is today and grow the sales channel, grow the marketing and the publicity, and get a highly efficient product generation program together to start delivering on this leadership. I believe that OpenView can be one of the things that gets HP recognized as an e-company.