HP Taps Former Microsoft Top Exec to Run Autonomy Unit
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) named Robert Youngjohns, an IT veteran with 30-plus years of experience sporting some big names in his background including Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Sun Microsystems and IBM (NYSE: IBM), as senior vice president and general manager of its troubled Autonomy and Information Management business unit.
HP bought the U.K.-based Autonomy, a data management software specialist, for $10.3 billion in October 2011 and immediately labeled it as the hub of the company’s conversion to a provider of enterprise software to big business. By its own admission HP has yet to make the equation work, and Meg Whitman, HP chief executive, recently acknowledged that Autonomy “still requires a great deal of attention, and we’ve been aggressively working on that business.”
Autonomy has been rudderless at the top since last May when HP fired Mike Lynch, Autonomy chief executive and co-founder, following a disappointing revenue performance. Bill Veghte, HP chief operating officer, has been running the unit in the interim.
A big part of Youngjohns’ job will be to piece together the integration of the Autonomy/IM business into HP Software, no small or easy task. Autonomy brings HP not only information management software but also analytics capabilities that, leveraged properly, can reap it benefits similar to what IBM has done in promoting the business value inherent in drawing insights from unstructured information.
The question, so far, however, is to what degree Autonomy will be available to HP channel partners, who have complained loudly that they have largely been shut off from the Autonomy products. While HP has suggested for some time Autonomy will be added to the PartnerOne and AllianceOne programs, nothing has happened.
Earlier this summer, HP installed Stephen Reny, Autonomy senior vice president, Market Development, to build a stronger channel presence for the unit, but movement in that direction is said to be painstaking slow with the vendor wanting to be certain its channel is qualified to handle the Autonomy portfolio.
HP would do well to look to IBM’s lead not only concerning certifying the channel base to sell data management and analytics but also involving partners in the sales process. IBM, even while retaining a great deal of its analytics business for itself, has, nonetheless, made hay promoting channel partners’ inclusion in analytics-based sales.
Meanwhile, HP said that Terry Richardson, U.S. Storage Channel Sales vice president, will step up to head channel sales for HP’s Enterprise Group, which includes cloud computing, converged infrastructure, servers, storage and networking.