When Léo Apotheker took the reins as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, many observers expected major changes in how the technology giant approached the market. With Apotheker's software background, most predicted a more software-oriented company.
Now Apotheker is outlining HP's new strategy.
"We see clearly a world in which the impact of cloud and connectivity is changing not only the user experience, but how individuals, small businesses, and enterprises will consume, deploy and leverage information technology," said Apotheker. HP's new chief also said IT is the "fabric of the global community," called data the "world's most valuable raw material," and said information is its "most valuable commodity."
A Four-Point Strategy
HP's vision is to offer secure, context-aware experiences for the connected world. The convergence of cloud and connectivity is the heartbeat of the new strategy as HP picks up on the evolution of IT delivery and information consumption.
HP pointed to trends like the consumerization of cloud computing and connectivity that is usurping traditional computing resources, as well as the mobile implications already apparent in the next generation of technology. HP's answer: Take a hybrid approach to delivering IT to enterprises, with traditional IT, public and private clouds.
Apotheker outlined a four-point strategy: Optimizing current IT environments, building cloud-based architectures, partnering with customers to drive a transition to hybrid computing models, and delivering a connected experience from consumers to the enterprise. HP's specific plans are to develop a portfolio of cloud services, develop an open cloud marketplace, and build webOS into a connectivity platform. Apotheker also hinted at a new big data appliance called Vertica.
"It is good to outline a strategy, so it is now time to watch how that execution materializes. HP made forays into software some time ago, then appeared to change its mind and there have been no major acquisitions since Mercury Interactive in 2006," said Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC. "Building a rich ecosystem will be a challenge, but HP certainly has the tentacles and the heft to have a go at building such an ecosystem. The competition is fierce for new emerging mobile and cloud platforms and ecosystems, so HP certainly has its work cut out for it."
Crawford Del Prete, chief research officer at IDC, is also bullish on HP's new strategy. As he sees it, the world has changed dramatically: We increasingly live in a world where enterprise and personal IT experiences are blurring.
"More and more, it's about enabling customers to seamlessly and securely interact with the 'right' information for a multitude of contexts," Del Prete said. "The technology and delivery models required to enable this change are significant. HP's strategy lays a foundation for the company to move from delivering world-class information technology to world-class information experiences."
HP is so confident in its strategy that the company outlined its goal for future annual dividend increases and authorized a 50 percent increase in the regular quarterly dividend. HP's next dividend will be declared in May. That's a significant return on capital to stockholders, considering that HP has about 2.2 billion shares of common stock outstanding.