Mike Davis, senior analyst, Information Management, Ovum
AUSTRALIA: From a business perspective there were dozens of reasons for HP to acquire Autonomy. The question for HP investors and its customers is “were there 11.5 billion (dollars)?”
Autonomy has long been regarded as the ‘king of search’ for the enterprise, particularly since it acquired its ‘larger’ rival Verity in 2005. But in recent years it has expanded, through both adept positioning and the strategic acquisition of ‘best of breed’ solutions, and its range of technologies have consequently migrated it into the eDiscovery, and enterprise content management (ECM) arenas, to the extent that Ovum was considering it as the UK’s ‘Oracle’.
Buying Autonomy moves HP into the ‘big league’ of enterprise software vendors alongside IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP (notably the current HP CEO comes from the latter). There are strategic synergies with the earlier acquisitions (not least the BI specialist Vertica), and given previous HP and Autonomy purchases, customers of both companies should regard this move as more of an opportunity than a risk.