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Gartner Reports on HPs Business Intelligence Arrival

If Gartner says HP has finally arrived as a BI power player, then HP must finally have arrived as a BI power player, right?

If information technology tea-leaf-reader Gartner Inc. says Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has finally arrived as a business intelligence (BI) power player, then HP must truly have arrived as a BI power player, right? It certainly looks that way.

Gartner points to HP’s acquisition last month of BI consultancy Knightsbridge Solutions as its giant-making moment. That jibes with what other industry watchers have said, too.

“Knightsbridge has been a strong contender in the North American BI and data integration markets, differentiating itself from other ‘boutique’ vendors through its range of capabilities, and from larger consulting firms through its focus,” write Gartner analysts Mark Beyer, Donald Feinberg, and Alex Soejarto.

The Gartner triumvirate, for its part, says the Knightsbridge move is a kind of capstone to HP’s newly competitive BI comportment. “HP has grown more aggressive regarding its position in the BI and data integration markets in recent months,” they indicate, citing HP’s NeoView data warehouse appliance as a textbook case in point: “The NeoView product combines HP hardware with a NonStop-inspired massively parallel database. This provides the market with an enterprise data integration/DW platform with appliance-like characteristics.”

So what does Knightsbridge bring to the table? Gartner sees it as part of an HP go-to-market strategy that encompasses nothing less than a complete portfolio of BI services, solutions and products. This, too, jives with industry scuttlebutt.

The Gartner trio says the acquisition could prove seriously disruptive to the BI status quo. Knightsbridge, after all, was a prolific partner to, and reseller of, a cross-spectrum of third-party BI vendors and their respective solutions.

“HP should leverage both Knightsbridge’s competitive product knowledge and implementation services expertise,” they write. The researchers suggest that Knightsbridge’s cross-vendor emphasis will dovetail nicely with HP’s own services experience—services teams must typically accommodate a mix of third-party solutions, after all—and won’t necessarily be all that problematic.

The data warehousing appliance segment, on the other hand, could be in for a jolt or two. Due to HP’s NeoView, the “traditional” appliance vendors must now compete with a behemoth vendor that can undercut them on the hardware front, a vendor with Knightsbridge in tow and, presumably, additional BI innovation in the pipeline.

“Appliance vendors need to review the potential impact of their relationship with Knightsbridge,” Beyer, Feinberg, and Soejarto write. “Some senior Knightsbridge staff members could be assigned to HP's BI and DW products, bringing their direct field knowledge of products across the competitor landscape. With Knightsbridge, HP Services acquires an experience base that includes tools from companies such as Ab Initio, Business Objects, Cognos, Informatica, IBM and … Teradata.”

The Gartner report does raise a red flag or two. For one thing, HP isn’t exactly regarded as a peerless systems integrator, at least not in BI and DW. “This acquisition is focused on the core BI domain and impacts that area of professional services. A services group that handles multiple vendor products is important when delivering BI solutions rather than point functionality,” they note.

Secondly, Knightsbridge’s brand of service is very different from services giant HP’s. This, the Gartner trio says, is a more serious concern. “Knightsbridge operates differently than HP, offering contract flexibility and individual client attention. Customers can expect a migration of Knightsbridge business practices toward those of HP,” they conclude. “The HP culture and organizational dynamics will shift the working style of Knightsbridge to more closely resemble a large organization, which will impact how customers and HP partners interact with the new BI services practice.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer with 20 years of experience. His writing has focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics for almost 15 years. Swoyer has an abiding interest in tech, but he’s particularly intrigued by the thorny people and process problems technology vendors never, ever want to talk about. You can contact him at [email protected].

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