Given that it is the world’s largest information technology company, with annual revenues of more than $100 billion, Hewlett-Packard has been relatively selective on the acquisition front compared with more shopaholic counterparts such as IBM and Oracle
Since deciding it wanted to be a major force in enterprise software, HP has made several small ‘point’ purchases and two major acquisitions – Mercury Interactive and Opsware – that have augmented its existing strengths in IT service and data centre management. Its latest move takes it in a new software direction, and one that might have been long predicted given its intimate relationship with document output.
In March 2008, the company decided to take the plunge into information management, picking up Tower Software, a 240-person Australian company renowned for its award-winning document and records management software. HP argues that such tools are now essential when organisations are trying to meet their compliance obligations.
“In reaction to increased business regulation, electronic records management has moved from a back-office task to a business-critical function,” says Robin Purohit, general manager of HP’s information management unit.
Analysts have highlighted the fact that Tower’s flagship product, Trim Context, integrates easily with Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration, increasingly seen as the de facto document collaboration standard at many organisations.
But even as it moves into new software sectors, HP is not afraid to admit defeat in others. The company has said it is now no longer seeking new customers in the identity management market, which it entered in 2003 when it bought Baltimore Technology for £8.3 million.
According to Graham Titterington of analyst company Ovum, HP had failed to build the requisite partner network to succeed in the identity management market.
Seemingly in anticipation of the HP retreat, IBM strengthened its hand in the identity market with the acquisition of Encentuate, a start-up that makes single sign-on and strong authentication technology founded by former executives of enterprise content management software company Interwoven. Unlike many existing identity management systems, Encentuate’s technology has been built for the era of mobile and remote working.
Encentuate’s development team, based in Singapore, will serve as the nucleus for a specialised security research and development centre located in the island state.
Mergers and acquisitions March 2008 Virtualisation gold rush continues apace