HP user group releases post-merger survey

Encompass, a major Hewlett-Packard user group, has released the results of its post-merger survey to top HP officials. While most...

Encompass, a major Hewlett-Packard user group, has released the results of its post-merger survey to top HP officials. While most of the feedback was positive, there were some problem areas for the company since its merger with Compaq last year.

The Chicago-based group received responses from 569 members in a survey sent to 9,000 HP customers, mostly senior technologists. Encompass said the results were representative of customers within a 4% sampling margin of error. 

Asked what role HP would play in their company’s IT strategy, just over half said it would remain the same, 25% said it would increase, 17% said it would decrease and 7% said it would have no role. 

Jim Becker, a board member of Encompass, said the survey’s finding that almost a fifth of respondents planned to decrease their use of HP was “the biggest flag” for the company.

Becker said the survey did not show why some HP customers intended to change their use of the company’s products, but he added that HP had asked Encompass to help form focus groups to explore underlying issues. 

Jack Novia, vice president and general manager of HP services, peerceived the finding as “a little out of sync” with the business activity HP sees, particularly from enterprise customers. Last month, market research firm IDC reported last month that HP had 34% of the high-performance, technical computing revenue share, making it the market leader. 

Novia also stressed that feedback from the user group is critical. “This is a very serious survey that we step back and look at."

Just before last year’s merger, Encompass said that users wanted clear product direction. He believed HP's efforts at "putting out roadmaps early", may have paid off. 

The survey found that 67 percent of the respondents found the roadmaps useful in making IT decisions, and 48% said they are satisfied with HP’s adherence to its strategy, 44% were unsure, and 8%said they were disatisfied. 

The survey also indicated that more users will be moving move from Windows to Linux. Asked whether they had plans to replace Windows systems with Linux, 27% said yes, with the majority of those referring to servers. Another 22% said they did not know, and 35% said no. Fifteen per cent said the issue did not apply to their IT operations. 

Novia questioned those findings and said that among large companies, the shift to Linux has been more from older Unix systems than Windows.

HP, he said, is “agnostic” in terms of which operating system a customer uses. 

The survey also indicated that just 14% had plans to deploy HP’s Itanium processor, while 16% said they would not. The majority, 51%, said they unsure about their plans, and 20% said the processor was not applicable. 

Novia said he was not surprised by the finding, adding that customers do not necessarily jump on the first release of new architecture.

Patrick Thibodeau writes for Computerworld

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