Analysis: Full steam ahead for HP Inc

HP Inc is finally getting its house in order almost a year after its split.

At the Reinvent World Partner Forum 2017 in Chicago in Spetember, HP Inc showcased its progress since spinning off from HP Enterprise late last year.

One of the key announcements was the launch of HP University, a solution to equip its 18,000 worldwide Partner First customers with sales skills, product training and certifications to help them migrate to evolving business models such as contractual and subscription sales.

The platform comprises instructor-led, face-to-face training in addition to sales skills development, highlighting HP’s core competencies, including security, device-as-a-service (DaaS), mobility, and managed print services.

HP said it was looking to reinvent the customer printing experience for an on-demand world. This complements a partnership it forged back in August with technology distributor Ingram Micro UK and Ireland. It rolled out the ‘HP as a Service’ platform for resellers to promote its product range.

Cybersecurity focus

This year’s forum also focused on cybersecurity and the onus on businesses to ensure devices are safe from attacks. HP revealed that endpoint security compromises have more than doubled in the past six years. As a result, the group announced that it is upping its security game and making it easier to protect and monitor systems across a range of devices. It introduced, for example, an intelligent embedded security feature to help printers stay ahead of malware attacks.

Ahead of the forum, HP had bolstered its Security Advisory Board after enlisting top cybersecurity experts. Controversially, it added three former hackers to the mix, including the infamous Michael Calce who joined as the board’s new Chairman. Calce, aka Mafiaboy, unleashed a massive cyberattack back in 2000 at the age of 15. He managed to bring down internet giants such as Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon, and cost the US economy $1.7 billion.

3D printing

Elsewhere, the group outlined the progress of its 3D printing division. It has partnered with a number of companies including German conglomerate Siemens and consultancy firm Deloitte to help accelerate global industry adoption and diversify its product offering.

These collaborations are designed to drive the development of 3D printing systems in large-scale manufacturing, ranging from components to footwear. It is the biggest step yet in HP’s 3D printing drive after opening a specialist materials lab earlier this year.

The tech giant further presented its vision for the future of the workplace, which seems to involve packing it with gadgets. The latest hardware update targets workers whose professional lives frequently overlap with their personal ones and vice versa.

Speaking in Chicago, HP Inc CEO Dion Weisler summarised the group’s philosophy: “We’re entering an era of ‘omni’ intelligence that’s driven by data and predictive analytics, and the pace of change is exponential. Artificial intelligence will improve nearly every aspect of our lives, analytics will help us unlock new business models, IoT means we will have constant real-time communication with all our devices, and 3D printing will make manufacturing easier. But with all of that comes all-out security warfare, and we need to be ready for that.”

HP sheds troublesome software arm

Finally, after six tumultuous years, HP can finally wash its hands of UK technology group Autonomy.

In a transaction estimated at around $8.8 billion, the company has been sold to UK tech giant Micro Focus as part of a wider deal for HP’s software business.

The combined company now makes Micro Focus the seventh largest pure-play software company in the world, and with annual sales of $4.4 billion, it is the biggest UK technology firm listed on the London Stock Exchange.

HP bought Autonomy for $11 billion back in 2011, then a year later wrote down almost $9 billion from the value of the purchase. This led to HP filing a $5.1 billion fraud case against Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch and CFO Sushovan Hussain. They swiftly retaliated with a countersuit claiming defamation among other things. The case is expected to go to court next year.