Tuesday, March 04, 2008

HP bows out of the identity game

According to the Burton Group, HP has decided to no longer actively sell their Enterprise Identity Management products (HP Identity Center).

They've never really been in the Enterprise Identity Management game. All they succeeded in doing over the years was to acquire a bunch of companies and then packaged them under the same marketing banner. The problem was they didn't know what to do with them from both a sales and strategic standpoint. It seemed like they were just "keeping up with the Joneses" because their main rivals (IBM, CA and to a certain extent BMC) all had Identity Management solution suites to go along with their systems management strengths.

Certainly back when I used to do this (for IBM) in Australia, HP was a non-factor. I'd only ever run into Oracle, Sun and sometimes CA. The reaction to HP was usually: "They do security? I thought they just sold servers". That was certainly the problem IBM had for a while, but they managed to get it right by sending the right marketing messages out there, making the right investments, getting their strategies more or less right (and executing them) and hiring the right people to drive the initiatives (both for Software Group and Security). HP did not. The past year I've spent working in the UK and across Europe with many organisations has further convinced me of this. HP are a non-factor in Identity Management across Europe, and in light of this latest development it seems that was the case with the rest of the world as well.

HP will not be going with the "end-of-life" option with its products at this stage. But they will not be actively pursuing new sales. Read the post yourself if you want the nitty gritty details. I'm not going to regurgitate them.

I will say one thing. If you have HP's Identity Software, what were you thinking?!

I'm sure the other vendors will come knocking on your door offering to rip out HP and put in their solution. Word of warning on this point. Don't rush into anything. Sure, I'd stop what you're doing with the HP solution and start thinking about a migration plan. But let this be a positive. It gives you a chance to re-evaluate the situation and your Identity and Access Management strategy. If you were anywhere along the path of putting the HP solution in, there will surely be lessons to take from the experience. Use these lessons to figure out what you need, what you don't need, and what your priorities are.

Hint: You don't need the big consulting firms. If you were actively involved with the project, you know what needs to be done and you have a lot of this knowledge already. If you did not, here's your chance to take the initiative back and own the project. Successful projects are driven from within because a big part of it is acceptance of cultural and procedural changes. Get whatever help you need from external consultants to fill in the gaps...but don't go paying a big consulting giant to re-architect your whole solution around another vendor's products. It's not about the technology anymore - at least not if you are comparing solutions from the big suite vendors.

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