HP unifies software support services

Hewlett-Packard introduces a set of services for managing complex software environments

Hewlett-Packard has launched a new set of services that combine software support and professional services into a single unified offering.

"This is a new service offering that [will] provide customers with the ability to have support for their entire solution rather than just the HP products the customer might purchase," said Aileen Allkins, a vice president of global support delivery of HP's software division, during a webcast Tuesday announcing the new offering.

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HP hopes that the offering, called HP Premier Services, will help organizations simplify management of their enterprise systems.

Typically, organizations tend to build systems from a variety of applications and maintain them through a variety of support contracts. They may have multiple versions of a single program, unique customizations, and applications from different vendors interacting with one another.

All this complexity hampers the organization's ability to get the most return for their software investments, HP argues. Obtaining support for such systems can also be problematic, insofar as each software vendor may only offer support for its own products.

"Today, customers generally will only receive post-implementation support for the core product. They lack the ability to get support for the entire solution," Allkins said.

HP promises "a single point of accountability," Allkins said. "We will simplify things for the customer, by providing them with the potential for HP to take ownership for the entire software solution."

HP's offering follows a vendor trend of combining support services and professional consultation services into a single, comprehensive package.

"We are recommending buyers look for vendors that are offering integrated support services," said Elaina Stergiades, an IDC research manager focusing on software support services, during the same webcast.

"One of the overarching issues that face IT managers is the level of complexity in their IT environments," Stergiades said. "Managing support across these heterogenous environments is an increasingly complex task as well. Interrelated products and technologies requires a lot of coordination to support."

While more costly than basic support contracts, such unified support and professional services offerings could potentially ease the process of maintaining complex systems, she said.

HP Premier Services will be offered in four tiers, each with a different level of individual consultation. All customers will get basic online and telephone support as well as access to new releases, patches and upgrades.

In the Premier Response tier, a customer will be paired with an engineer who will learn the customer's environment and offer solutions when problems occur. In the Premier Advisory tier, that engineer can also help with planning for future releases, and advise the customer of new patches and best practices. The Premier Business tier offers a dedicated manager to look after the system, and in the Premier Team Extend tier, HP assumes control of the system in an outsourcing arrangement.

The service offering will primarily support HP's Business Technology Optimization line of software, which includes software for business service management and IT service management. The company can also arrange support for HP hardware and other HP software to be included in the package as well.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's email address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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