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HP to tout new tools at software show

Hewlett-Packard has refocused its software strategy around its OpenView management-software programs. It's set to unveil new tools and updates next week in Chicago.

    Hewlett-Packard is trying to show its software side.

    After exiting the application-server business last year, HP has refocused its software strategy largely around expanding its OpenView collection of management-software programs.

    Next week, HP plans to add a variety of new tools and introduce program updates as part of its annual HP Software Forum, in Chicago. Although most of the 30 or so advances HP is touting are updates, analysts say the company is moving in the right direction.

    "It's consistent. It's what they have been successful at," said Judith Hurwitz, of Cambridge, Mass.-based analyst firm Judith Hurwitz & Associates. "This is not radical, but it is nicely designed."

    HP is pitching the updates and new tools as part of its "adaptive enterprise" strategy, announced last month. The company has named Mark Linesch as vice president of adaptive enterprise to head up the effort. However, Hurwitz said, HP still has work to do in making the software part of that strategy complete.

    "HP still has quite a bit more to do on the software side," Hurwitz said. "There are pieces they need to fill in, but it's a starting point."

    The company decided on the OpenView-centered strategy last year, abandoning a more comprehensive approach envisioned when HP spent $470 million in October 2000 to acquire Bluestone Software.

    One of the largest areas of improvement for HP's software lineup is the addition of tools that help companies manage and diagnose IP (Internet protocol) telephony networks.

    Bill Emmett, a solutions marketing manager for HP, said that more companies are testing such networks, but have been hesitant to release them until there are better tools for monitoring them, as well as for detecting problems such as latency or jitters that can ruin the quality of phone calls.

    Given HP's experience in helping companies manage call centers, Hurwitz said, the move into IP telephony is a good one. "That's not something new; that's something where they have a great deal of experience," she said.

    HP is also offering software that will help companies examine how problems with infrastructure affect various business functions. For example, in the case of an online retailer that uses e-mail to contact customers, the software could point out a failure of a mail server that could prevent the company from sending out purchase updates.

    HP is also adding software that helps companies better manage their Web services tools.