Why HP's Successful Turnaround Is Closer Than It Looks
Hewlett-Packard's turnaround effort under CEO Meg Whitman, like an object in the rearview mirror, is closer than it appears. Credit the impending success on strategic partnerships, good hires and a broad view of the future of tech.
Fri, September 13, 2013
CIO — Over the last couple of weeks, having met with different Hewlett-Packard divisions and run into several old HP friends, I'm starting to get a sense of where this company is going. As the saying goes, IBM and Cisco, and maybe even Microsoft, should be afraid. Very afraid.
Part of the reason you haven't heard more about this is that, when looking at a company such as HP, most analysts and reporters focus on printers, services, PCs and storage. But the power of a firm can't lie in the performance of any single division but, rather, in the synergy of the whole company. This is what CEO Meg Whitman has been quietly working to rebuild.
HP has had a difficult decade. Several ineffective leaders have occupied the CEO's office. One tried to bleed the company to death. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most difficult, Whitman faces a turnaround effort that's at least an 11.
Commentary: How HP Can Avoid Being Dragged Down by PCs
But darned if she isn't making progress. Recent organizational changes show that Whitman's tuning her staff to favor people and industry partners she knows can execute as she prepares to take HP to war. Let's take a look at some of the more interesting initiatives — keeping in mind that the last is not only the most powerful but the most speculative.
HP Teaming With VMware to Sell SDN Systems
Given its past problems with Cisco Systems and Oracle, HP has a poor reputation for partnering. Look underneath the covers, though, and you'll see that this was largely due to those companies getting greedy. It wasn't anything HP did.
In fact, you can argue that both companies lost more than they gained when they broke up with HP. Oracle in particular seems to realize that it made a mistake, and I'm hearing that Oracle is now looking to partner with Dell. (This doesn't bode well for Oracle's Sun hardware efforts. I recall a top Oracle official saying that Sun hardware blows. That's not a term of endearment, folks.)