HP buys two companies to bolster services

Hewlett-Packard Co. has acquired two companies to boost its staff and offerings in the area of IT service management.

HP acquired IT Infrastructure Management LLC in Dallas, which does business as ManageOne, and CEC Europe Service Management Ltd. in London, so that it can strengthen its ability to train clients on how to best manage their IT resources, HP announced Thursday.

The acquisitions, whose financial terms weren’t disclosed, were finalized last week, said Brian Brouillette, vice-president of education services at HP Services. ManageOne and CEC Europe Service Management will become part of HP Service’s customer support unit, he said.

The concept of training IT professionals in proven best practices for management of their companies’ IT operations isn’t new, but interest in it has increased significantly over the past 12 months, said Robert McNeill, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

In particular, there is rising interest in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a methodology which was developed by the U.K. government and provides a documented set of best practices for the delivery and support of IT services, McNeill said.

“With these two acquisitions, HP is buying a deep level of expertise, in particular in the U.K. and U.S. markets, to go in and train end user organizations on ITIL,” he said.

By doing this, HP is further strengthening its position in this area of IT service management, in which it’s viewed as a leader among large IT services vendors, such as IBM Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS). “HP has the longest history in ITIL,” McNeill said.

IT departments are increasingly interested in the topic of managing IT resources because they are under pressure from top executives to make sure that money spent on IT directly supports business initiatives, McNeill said.

The ManageOne Web site defines IT service management as a set of 10 core processes that are essential to maintaining high levels of IT service quality within a company. ManageOne breaks the 10 processes into two areas: Service delivery, which includes management of service levels, costs, capacity, availability and contingency, and Support processes, such as help desk, software control and distribution and management of changes, configurations and problems. ManageOne provides courses and workshops to IT professionals interested in learning about this methodology.

CEC Europe offers consulting and training in similar areas as ManageOne, such as managing IT services, recruitment, projects and changes in business and IT.

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