I spent a couple of days with HP executives this week here in Boston. As I worked there myself for 20 years (up to 2001, so I have distance as well), I’d like to comment about how their enterprise business strategy now looks. Of course, I wasn’t alone there; there were 250 of us. Those who follow my peers in Twitter may already be overloaded with multiple 140-character cuts: my impression is that the tool tends to makes them behave more like adolescent journalists than analysts. Often, they were broadcasting tweets before even noticing that a particular statement was “under NDA”. Vendors will learn to be more cautious in the future; which is not good for us analysts. Anyway, here are my highlights of the HP briefings.
HP’s Converged Infrastructure story includes the pending acquisition of 3COM
Nice to see that HP now has (servers + storage + networking) PLUS power & cooling! Now, HP has Cisco squarely within their sights with this one, dropping statements like “they’re just a $30B vendor while we spend over $50B in our supply chain”; “as soon as we can, we will replace ALL our Cisco gear with 3COM and realize 45% savings”; and “of course, all 3COM products use the same operating environment, unlike them”.
My Take: Well, Cisco started this. They are, indeed, seriously threatened. If HP apply their financial muscle and play the pricing game, Cisco’s business and margins may well suffer. Remember, networking is the highest margin area in IT infrastructure: HP is adding it, Cisco is diluting it. But, I also think that Cisco will make other game changing moves in the next months. HP strategists should not be resting on their laurels, they should be doing scenario planning - and thinking way outside the IT infrastructure box.
I met with two interesting marketing automation software vendors last week. As a patriot certainly, I like that there are these European companies with some very innovative ideas that will contribute to the success of both factory and field marketers in the tech industry. But it is also their innovation that I find interesting.
I’m going to admit something here. . . most of my fellow analysts here chuckle when I profess my love for the insurance industry. Why do I like it so much? Well, one reason is because when I do my "Carney. . . like Art" spiel when someone asks how to spell my last name, insurance people "get it". Yep, they watched "The Honeymooners" and "The Jackie Gleason Show" and know exactly what I’m talking about, unlike most of my co-workers who, with the "Carney. . .
We've just published our latest Vendor Positioning Review (VPR) benchmark of the IT management software market. This vendor-oriented report discusses how vendors market their solutions to you in collateral and on their Web sites. We focus on how well they talk Business Technology (BT) over IT — how well do they speak YOUR language. And we recognize how important B2B digital media has become in communicating with you — our most recent data shows that the percent of technology buyers that are most advanced in using social media, what we call the Creators and Critics, is nearly double that of the US consumer population in general.
The VPR report highlights a best practice (or two) in each of the categories that we evaluate.
In terms of providing you with social media facilities, the vendors are a mixture of active, indifferent and inactive. The good ones offer you a community Web page from their Home Page to access forums, join communities (even if only a support community) and see their blogs: kudos to BMC, CA, ManageEngine, newScale, Spiceworks and Splunk. EMC, HP Software, IBM Tivoli, Microsoft, Nimsoft, Quest and Symantec have the facilities as well but you need to be good to find them (who would think of looking under “About Symantec”?). ASG and Compuware aren’t there yet.
Thanks to all of you who have already sent me feedback about my first report on the challenges facing field marketers. See report.
It was based several meetings with field marketers over the last months. My next step is to do structured interviews with field marketing professionals over the next months to even better understand where the job is going and map roles, tasks and responsibilities in a priorities listing in my next report.
There's one sure way to amp up the tension between bag-carrying sales folks and the sales enablement teams that support them, and that's when a sales exec misses the opportunity to get a meeting with a buyer.
Last summer, we talked to about 40 sales execs or managers and no surprise, when it came to supporting the sales effort this was the area where sales execs told us their respective companies performed weakest. How is supporting that buyer access manifest? Providing the sales org qualified leads, of course. . .
I've recently had several interesting discussions about one of the assessment criteria in the Forrester Vendor Positioning Review (VPR). A new VPR on IT Management Software Vendors should be out this time next week (it's been stuck in our Editing dept. for several weeks now.)
I noticed the press release about Computacenter assuming the role of vendor management for BP ( http://www.realwire.com/release_detail.asp?ReleaseID=14672) just before Christmas, but its impact eluded me at the time (too busy shopping for presents). But I was interviewing and researching Computacenter specifically this month for another reason and now I’ve spent more time to understand the true significance of the announcement.
This is my first blog in 2010 but I cannot help reflecting about something that happened to me in 2009 - it left me thoughtful for most of the Christmas holiday which, for me as a European is over 2 weeks. In December I was discussing social media with 60-odd field marketing managers from around EMEA and we discussed customer reference programs and lead management among other things. While they clearly understood much of what I was saying to them, they equally clearly resented this one slide which is entitled: “The day in the life of modern marketer”.
Yesterday, Brad Holmes blogged about 2010 being the year where sales enablement moves from concept to reality. Yep, it's tempting to think that tech firms and their marketers have all been madly working to enable the sales organizations with fabulous sales-enabling digital media like video customer testimonials, blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, and, of course, the company Web site. But once in a while, you get reminded that some companies have a long way to go just to cover the basics, never mind get to what Brad called a "breakthrough."