Top 100: HP puts focus on customer challenges

Strategy helps public sector group find success despite corporate turmoil

Turmoil at the top hasn’t made much measurable impact on the federal contracting business for Hewlett-Packard Co.

After Leo Apotheker’s 11-month tenure ended, in September 2011 former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman assumed the position of president and CEO and soon set a clear strategy for the overall corporation, particularly its PC business.

Those critical decisions have been positive for HP’s business sectors, including the public sector, said Marilyn Crouther, who was named senior vice president and general manager of the U.S. Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services in December, 2011. In fiscal 2011 HP racked up $4.1 billion in prime contract revenue in fiscal 2011 to place at No. 7 on Washington Technology’s Top 100 list.

Whitman recently announced an initiative to cut 27,000 jobs in part through an early retirement program. The savings will be used to fund new technology initiatives.

Highlights of the year include a major win at NASA with a $2.5 billion contract to modernize its entire end-user infrastructure. HP will deliver a full range of personal computing services and devices to more than 60,000 users as a part of NASA’s Agency Consolidated End-User Service (ACES) Program.

“We’ll be able to demonstrate our end-to-end capability from a total HP perspective,” Crouther said. “One of the things we’re most proud of is bringing the depth and breadth of HP to our clients.”

The company was also awarded a four-year, $68.1 million data center services contract by the U.S. Special Operations Command. Under this contract HP will provide enterprisewide data center management support services to allow for cost-effective, rapid response to the dynamic requirements of America’s military emergency response team.

The Army selected HP Enterprise Services for work that could be worth as much as $249 million to provide the Defense Department and other federal agencies with enterprise cloud computing services under the Army Private Cloud contract (APC2).

The company also is leading a team in pursuit of the Navy's Next Generation Enterprise Network contract, a $5 billion follow-on to the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet contract on which HP is the incumbent.

HP is investing in building long-term capabilities to support its government clients’ biggest challenges, including meeting an increasing number of threats to cybersecurity and network data security.

“There are an increasing number of threats on a daily basis,” Crouther said. “They’re almost impossible to anticipate and very difficult in some instances to respond to. Most CIOs would love to move from a service-level agreement to a risk-level agreement. That’s very hard to do because there aren’t any tools out there that will measure the amount of risk.”

Other challenges include budget restraints, the demands of big data and the growth of new cloud and shared-services business models – including addressing the security aspects of maintaining data and applications in the cloud.

“Securing information and assets is absolutely critical,” Crouther said. In 2011 her group launched a converged cloud portfolio to help clients understand what applications they have and their suitability for the cloud.

In addition to cloud and cybersecurity, HP’s public sector group is emphasizing big data information management and analytics, application modernization and rationalization, mobility, health care IT and sustainability and energy reduction.

In support of those efforts, in 2011 the company acquired Autonomy Corp., an addition intended to strengthen HP's data analytics, cloud, and industry and workflow management capabilities. HP also opened a new applications delivery center in Pontiac, Mich., dedicated to applications development and modernization.

“There are not a lot of big changes in how we approach the market,” Crouther said. These market changes have “driven us to focus more on what are the specific client issues and problems and how to help them best. We dove a little deeper to truly understand long-term mission and how to break those longer-term problems into bite-size components.”

About the Author

Lisa Terry is a contributing writer to Washington Technology.

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