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HP software no longer a side dish

Hewlett-Packard rereleases a business software technology that will take center stage in its emerging enterprise software business.

Hewlett-Packard is giving its software business a hard sell.

The company reported this week that software is no longer playing a merely supportive role to its hardware products, and to prove its point the company reunveiled a business software technology that will take center stage in HP's emerging enterprise software business.

Changengine is a process automation software technology that assists in the routing of information within corporate networks. The technology is already at work in HP's AdminFlow, a product that automates the processing of business forms like travel requests, expense reports, and invoices. But today HP announced that the technology will be available through partnerships with companies including Netscape Communications.

Netscape, for its part, has spent the past several months honing its enterprise software strategy. In the meantime, the Web browser market that established the company slips increasingly to Microsoft. Netscape last week acquired application server start-up Kiva Software in a stock deal valued at nearly $180 million.

HP today announced a client of its new software business, Sumitomo Life Insurance. HP will supply the Japanese insurance company with software (including Changengine), consulting services, and hardware in its efforts to automate processing policy enrollment, maintenance, and claims forms.

HP, which consolidated its software business in May of this year, also announced it has formed a worldwide sales force to promote its software products.