HP’s Looming BI Push

With the acquisition last week of a prominent BI-focused services firm, HP finally seems ready to take its place in the business intelligence power pantheon.

Savvy industry watchers knew that Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) would be a formidable BI competitor once it got its act together.

With $90 billion in annual revenues and a redoubtable services arm, HP is a technology Goliath of, well, Big Blue-like proportions.

And—with the acquisition last week of a prominent BI-focused services firm—HP finally seems ready to take its place in the business intelligence power pantheon. As Miles Davis might have put it: It’s about that time.

For the record, HP last week acquired information management consultancy Knightsbridge Solutions for an undisclosed amount.

HP officials declined to comment for the record—outside, that is, what the company has said in its official releases. "Knightsbridge advances HP’s leadership position in delivering business intelligence and data warehouse solutions," said John W. McCain, senior vice president and general manager of HP Services, in a statement. "Together, the two companies provide our customers with a world-class portfolio of information management solutions."

But the Knightsbridge acquisition caps an 18 month period of heightened BI activity from HP. In September of 2005, for example, HP unveiled a new BI-focused initiative in tandem with partners Business Objects SA, Hyperion Solutions Corp., and SAS Institute Inc.

The computing giant pledged to work with all four vendors to promote business process visibility solutions based on its OpenView Business Process Insight (BPI) software. HP outlined plans to work with all four vendors to promote the use of HP OpenView BPI in conjunction with each of their bread-and-butter BI products. The goal, HP officials said, was to accelerate insight into business process statuses and results for decision-makers.

Similarly, HP has co-delivered a number of BI-related offerings in tandem with database giant Oracle Corp. In October, for example, the two vendors unveiled new joint solutions (based on HP hardware and Oracle’s ubiquitous 10g database) designed to appeal to SMB customers. The goal, the two partners said, was to help SMBs reduce costs and improve business and IT agility. Similarly, HP and Oracle announced a new Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) offering for Oracle 10g, based—once again—on HP’s storage offerings.

These are peripheral BI moves, at best, but—in tandem with the acquisition of Knightsbridge and HP’s earlier partnerships with Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, and SAS—some industry watchers say they add up to a significant BI push from the computing giant.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.