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HP jump-starts sleepy software biz with CIO dashboard

HP’s new IT Executive Scorecard dashboard is targeted at CIOs and their C-level peers in an attempt to revive the company’s IT performance management portfolio.

IT managers may soon have more HP software in house, thanks to the company’s new top-down approach to promoting its underachieving IT performance management portfolio.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. has regrouped its varied IT performance management assets under the IT Performance Suite umbrella, fronted by a new dashboard called the “IT Executive Scorecard.” Targeted at CIOs and their C-level peers, the dashboard provides visibility into areas, such as application development, infrastructure and operations management, security, information management, financial planning and administration.

Providing executives with dashboards is always a good sales tactic, said Kipp Bertke, IT manager at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DoDD), which uses HP server hardware but not software.

“The C-levels love dashboards,” Bertke said. “Anything that can take the mystery out of IT.”

The IEEE already uses service desk and network monitoring tools from HP and is implementing project management tools. Alexander Pasik, CIO of the standards body, said the IT Executive Scorecard could help further streamline his IT operations.

“Otherwise, you’re consumed by the management of IT internally and not focused on the IT needed to drive the actual business,” Pasik said.

Lipstick on a pig? No.
To make the scorecard useful, DoDD’s Bertke said that HP must present things in terms that business managers can understand.

“They have to put techie terms, like [service-level agreements], in a business view,” Bertke said. For example, when reporting on availability, an executive dashboard should assign a dollar value to downtime.

Beyond that, an executive dashboard overlaying worthless products has little value. “They really should approach the problem from both sides,” Bertke said. “If the techie folks like it and the business folks like it, it will sell itself.”

The quality of HP’s software tools isn’t too much of a concern, said Michael Coté, an analyst with Redmonk. “People don’t go around actively hating on HP’s software portfolio,” he said. If the need is there, “people are fine considering it.”

Rather, outside a few strong names, such as OpenView systems management, which the company has rebranded, and Quality Center for QA testing tools, the problem with HP’s software portfolio isn’t quality, it’s invisibility

“You kind of have to remind them that they have software,” Coté said.

Even IT managers in large HP hardware shops are often shocked to hear that HP fields enterprise software—and that’s a problem the IT giant must address.

In fact, HP’s enterprise software assets are fairly comprehensive. In addition to the afore mentioned titles, its assets include project management software, service desk, and cloud automation software it acquired from Opsware.

Putting a dashboard in executives’ hands could help HP shoehorn that portfolio into more IT shops.

“Historically, when you’re trying to start an enterprise software campaign, starting with a dashboard is a good tactic because it creates a shopping list for you,” Coté said. “It says, ‘Here’s what’s working for you, here’s what’s not working for you,’ ” and can lead to CIOs to further software purchases.

Devil’s in the dashboard
Announced Wednesday, the IT Executive Scorecard is based on an open IT data model and aims to report on 150 key performance indicators (KPIs).

In a first edition, the IT Executive Scorecard will come with 50 KPIs out of the box. In addition, HP announced the first of several “persona-oriented” editions: the CIO Edition Standard, which includes 20 KPIs, plus financial planning and analysis, project and portfolio management, and asset manager modules. General availability for both editions is expected in July. And for those that are just getting started, HP announced online CIO and cloud assessment tools to help clients evaluate their IT performance management maturity.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, news director at, or follow @aebarrett on twitter.


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