HP: ProLiant delays to continue through August

Hewlett-Packard Co. customers will continue to have difficulties ordering custom configurations of HP’s ProLiant servers though the end of August, company executives told attendees at the HP World conference in Chicago Tuesday. The problems are due to continuing problems with an SAP AG order processing and supply-chain deployment rolled out last month, they said.

HP’s troubles began over the July 4 weekend, when the company rolled out the system designed to unify the Digital Equipment Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., and HP order processing systems the company was left with following its 2002 merger with Compaq, said Mark Gonzalez, vice-president of HP Americas enterprise storage and server sales.

The glitches affected HP’s storage, Unix, and ProLiant products, he said. “It’s systems talking to systems,” Gonzalez said, while declining to explain the specific problems. “It just did not quite work out,” he said.

HP disclosed the problems last week when it announced its quarterly financials, blaming them for a US$400 million revenue shortfall within the company’s Enterprise System Group. HP chief executive officer (CEO) Carly Fiorina fired Peter Blackmore, executive vice-president of HP’s Customer Solutions Group shortly after the problems were disclosed, saying his group’s performance was “unacceptable.”

Company executives at the show this week stressed that the majority of problems with the system had now been ironed out, and that customers should no longer experience the delays when they order storage or Unix systems.

ProLiant ordering is “pretty much back on track with the exception of a couple of complex, configure-to-order type things,” said Gonzalez. “By the end of August, we should be totally squared away, but the worst is behind us,” he said.

HP ships approximately 163,000 ProLiant systems per month, Gonzalez said. The vast majority of those systems are not customer configured and, therefore, not affected by the continuing problems with the system, he said.

The ordering problems were briefly addressed during a panel discussion at HP World Tuesday, when an audience member asked Joe Nadler, director of HP’s business critical systems, America, about the reliability system ship dates provided by the current system.

“When I order 500 blades, you’ll be able to give me good data?” the audience member asked.

“We’ll work on it; give me your card,” Nadler replied.