HP and ECM - where to in 2009?

Since HP acquired Tower Software almost a year ago, I thought it about time to review progress to date. Well that and that fact that I typically eat Saturday breakfast with my daughter Fiona at a diner called The Spa in Pepperell, MA - and (small world that it is) so does one of our key contacts at HP. Oddly enough though we have never actually met each other at The Spa despite us both being regulars. I think there may be a parallel analogy with HP in the world of ECM. For despite them being there and being an active part of it, I seldom seem to bump into them.

The fact is HP is often overlooked by buyers. It's a shame as they should be shortlist buddies with the likes of EMC, Open Text, IBM, and Oracle on a more regular basis. The original Tower product offering (now called - HP TRIM), brought HP records management-style document management -- now combined with HP's compliance storage solutions. It's a product set that certainly has its limitations as we detail in our product evaluations -- but the strengths are real. In addition, there is no doubt a sense of comfort for many buying from such an established IT goliath.

I think that 2009 will be an interesting time to watch HP.  I'll stick my neck out and say that I expect them to make at least one more acquisition in the content technology space - and that they will get more bullish on their "compliancy and discovery story" - a story that like the curates egg, is good in parts.

With a firm as large as HP it's easy to get lost in the weeds, best known for laptops, servers, and printers. Getting attention for your enterprise software offerings could be a challenge. The same can be said for the Documentum rump at EMC or the UCM group at Oracle; nevertheless both of these products groups do generally get the attention of buyers. It's HP's challenge to get the same attention, and to get on the shortlists. For some buyers they would make a better choice than either a Documentum or a UCM option.

Remember that HP is one of the original silicon valley innovators. Though the firm has seem some dramatic upheavals over the past decade, they typically end up doing a good job of things. Quite how it will all work our on the ECM front is yet to be seen though, but I am pretty sure we will be writing a lot more about HP in the next year, and no doubt bumping into them more often among our enterprise subscribers.

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