Mercury acquisition could boost HP app management

Hewlett-Packard’s planned £2.4bn acquisition of Mercury Interactive could give users of the HP Openview network management suite much needed application management tools.

Hewlett-Packard’s planned £2.4bn acquisition of Mercury Interactive could give users of the HP Openview network management suite much needed application management tools.

By merging Openview with Mercury’s tools, HP would be able to offer IT governance, application testing and service oriented architecture (SOA) tools.

The company could also combine Mercury’s ITG application governance tools with analytics software from Peregrine, which HP acquired last year, to help users optimise their IT services.

The acquisition of Mercury will enable HP to offer a stronger alternative to tools from BMC Software, CA and IBM, which provide application management as well as network management software. The main goal for these suppliers is to create a single software suite that will manage the demand for and supply of IT services, said analysts.  AMR Research describes this as IT resource planning (ITRP).

Dennis Gaughan, a research director at AMR, said the way that ITRP software is used to manage IT operations is similar to how enterprise resource planning software is used to manage the business.

He added that the likes of HP, CA, Compuware and IBM have been developing their ITRP suites over the past few years.

“These suppliers have all been strong on the supply side of IT [managing existing applications and assets] but were weak on managing the demand for new services,” said Gaughan. However, Mercury’s strength in software quality and SOA would give HP an advantage in developing its ITRP.

Analyst firm Gartner said the two companies’ products were a good fit. “There is limited product overlap, with excellent opportunities to integrate IT operations management, portfolio management and software testing core competencies for more holistic IT planning and control,” it said.

However, Gartner warned, “HP has a weak track record with software acquisitions, and the size of this purchase makes it more of a merger, which has even greater complexity. HP is still digesting its December 2005 acquisition of Peregrine, and this move may distract it from work efforts under way.”

HP said it had quite a lot of experience in buying and integrating companies and expected the Mercury acquisition to complete within four months, at which time Mercury would become part of HP’s software business.


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