The HP Worldwide analyst summit meeting is on this week (March 5-7) in Boston. After postponing the meeting in September, this is the first HP analyst meeting since they self imploded, fired their last CEO and appointed Meg Whitman to the post.
It is also the first since they wrote down EDS by $9 Billion, aborted their tablet and Palm, planned to sell the PC business, and from a client perspective suffered a severe decline in services customer outcomes, and of course, who could forget the Autonomy disaster. On the bright side, things could not have gotten too much worse (aside from Microsoft investing in Dell).
The other key challenge is that whilst not perfect, key competition has made some significant gains against HP in the last 2 years. Clearly the most visible of these are IBM and Cisco. To be honest, Dell, as highlighted by the shift to take the firm private, is in a similar state to that of HP, it just can now sail slightly under the radar.
I expect quite a memorable event. I believe that many of my analyst peers have lost faith in HP, and others are giving it one last chance to get it right (the key is that this is true regardless of the part of HP you cover, eg Services, Business Intelligence, Servers, PC’s). The pressure on the room that will be full of analysts from all around the world will be intense.
Personally I am looking for more than just strategy and slideware. If that is all we get, then it will be a waste of time for everyone. I need to know how HP is going to radically turn around the business. What are they going to do with a recovery of service delivery, salesforce empowerment (avoiding managerial road blocks and Palo Alto sign off), partner engagement, and of course recovering the broad business units that are under such pressure.
In preparing for the event, I had deep discussions with two key Asia based services clients of HP to gauge their perspectives, and what they would want if they were attending. One was actually remarkably positive about the service delivery turn around in HP in the last 12-18 months in South East Asia and Australia. The other could not even find a sales/account manager to respond to an RFP.
For the industries sake (a strong HP is important, even competitors will acknowledge this), it is critical that HP get its act together. To say it is to do it soon, is a miss, it needs to do it now. I look forward in providing my insight in a week or so as to how well they have met this goal.