Baum plotted a timeline from 2000 to the present showing HP's acquisitions in five major categories:
- Enterprise Infrastructure
- Personal Systems
- Imaging and Printing
Two of their really big buys were EDS and Compaq, providing HP with more corporate services capabilities and hardware platforms. Many of its recent software acquisitions deal with corporate IT application management. Let's also not forget that last year HP acquired the struggling handheld maker Palm.
Could HP get into more corporate computer applications? Baum suggests that HP might acquire the ERP giant SAP. Now that would be a really big purchase.
Like EDS, SAP is a large services organization (accounting for around 21% of its total $12.5 billion euro revenues in 2010). Of course, buying SAP would also propel HP into the hot Business Intelligence software space since SAP had earlier acquired Business Objects (which had acquired Crystal Reports and others).
Baum also recommends some other choices from the BI vendor menu.
Take SAS for example. Owner Jim Goodnight has been going strong since starting this software company based on a college project. Now that he is about 70 years old, he might want to celebrate his amazing success and retire. HP could offer Jim a few billion dollars as a retirement gift and SAS would be a great analytical tool for HP.
A similar situation exists at Information Builders. In business since the mid-1970s, Gerry Cohen might also be interested in winding down his time in the software industry. Gerry's WebFOCUS is a good fit for HP's platforms all the way down to the Palm handheld. With WebFOCUS, HP might even have a play for mobile BI.
Baum also suggests that HP might acquire MicroStrategy, one of the few remaining pure-play BI software vendors. Because MicroStrategy does a great job with very large database systems such as Teradata, HP might want to consider acquiring both as complementary BI offerings. MicroStrategy is also one of the emerging leaders in the mobile BI space, which could be of value combined with Palm handhelds.
Baum goes on to list all sorts of different purchases for HP. He says:
With all of these components, HP becomes the only firm that can supply end to end enterprise IT, including hardware and software, either on premises or under the Infrastructure as a Service model. HP could supply all of the IT hardware, including smart phones, handhelds, desktops, workstations, and servers. The expanded BTO offerings allow complete control and situational awareness of the enterprise’s computing and communications systems. The enterprise business software would track, well, all of the business stuff. HP can leverage its existing business continuity sites to jump start an Infrastructure as a Service offering. Adobe technology would allow enterprises to encapsulate business processes within documents and 10gen would store it all. Autodesk, Hermes, and Corel would drop directly into their respective business units.
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