Financial investors are cheering HP's decision to split into two smaller companies, one dedicated to PCs and printers and the other to enterprise hardware, software, services and the cloud. For many IT analysts and enterprise CIOs, the breakup is more than about slimming down: It marks the advent of the enterprise IT specialist.
Specialization has reared its head in many facets of our lives. From applying to jobs to getting a kid into college to streaming TV shows to hailing a cab, it's the individual or service or business that offers something uniquely useful -- the specialist -- that frequently wins the day.
HP's split into Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and the PC-focused HP Inc. is more than a separation of consumer and corporate. Recent spinoffs, such as PayPal's emancipation from eBay or Lenovo's purchase of IBM's PC business, as well as the just-announced Symantec split, paint a broader picture: Enterprise IT companies are realizing that in the new digital market, enterprises and consumers favor social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies, but not necessarily of the same flavor.
SearchCIO expert Niel Nickolaisen, CTO at O.C. Tanner Co., put it this way in our story this week on how IT executives view the HP news:
"You might be able to remain competitive as a generalist, but I think it will be increasingly difficult as you compete with specialists. You can always acquire small specialists and add them to your stack, but you still function as a generalist," he said.
Mammoth companies with single stacks of "woefully outdated" products are struggling to compete with smaller, nimbler and more specialized rivals -- and, more important, they are failing to meet the evolving needs of their corporate customers.
By spinning off its enterprise-focused business into a distinct company, Nickolaisen argues, HP will be able to concentrate investments into that area and more effectively drive its innovation -- and thus become a competitive leader in multiple markets.
I guess we'll see.
CIO news roundup for week of Oct. 6
And more of the latest in technology news:
- Samsung capitulates: As sales of its Galaxy handsets slow, and as it battles Apple's larger-screened iPhones and emerging competition from local rivals, the Korean company announced Tuesday that it estimates its Q3 profits will be the lowest in three years.
- Dirty laundry aired: Mozilla has discovered vulnerabilities in all versions of its Bugzilla bug-tracking tool. The weakness gives hackers access to information about unpatched security bugs that are usually only accessible to insiders with high-security privileges. Mozilla has been working on providing patches.
- On the heels of the massive JPMorgan Chase data breach, AT&T informed its customers that an employee had gained access to their social security numbers, driver's license numbers and data on purchased services. The employee has since departed the company, it said.
- A Stanford computer science student has discovered a hidden money-transfer feature in Facebook's Messenger app, a service the company plans to launch soon. The feature allows users to attach cash payments to their messages.
- The rising robot workforce isn't necessarily welcome news for many workers -- unless they take over jobs humans would give up in a heartbeat, such as whistleblowing.
Will IT benefit from HP's refocused PC approach? Plus, find out more about HP's gamble to compete with IBM and learn its impact on channel partners. Finally, read more on the CIOs' reactions to HP's breakup.