November 29, 2007 5:50 AM PST

HP aims to automate routine IT operations

Hewlett-Packard this week rolled out new tools designed to automate routine updates of software and antivirus applications that would otherwise consume expensive staff time.

The HP Automated Operations 1.0 set of products was launched at the HP Software Universe conference in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The company hopes that the suite will help organizations automate many everyday tasks typically handled by IT managers, as well as many ad-hoc tasks such as producing routine reports and responding to common inqueries.

The products are part of what HP calls a "strategic focus" built around six key objectives for its software division. These products are intended to create "better business efficiencies by driving costs (down)," according to Tom Hogan, head of software for the company and the man charged with driving the strategy.

The other objectives of the strategy are: achieving better alignment with businesses' needs, increasing innovation, improving service and delivering results more quickly, trimming costs by streamlining IT operations, and reducing risk.

HP Automated Operations 1.0 software suite is itself split into three main applications: IT Service Management, Business Service Management, and Business Service Automation. The suite is the fruit of HP's aggressive acquisition strategy and comprises various components from HP OpenView, Peregrine, Mercury Interactive, and Opsware.

HP's Business Service Automation software is a single platform intended to automate all IT processes and to help drive change across applications, servers, networks, storage, and clients. The platform also provides a central configuration management database (CMDB) for reporting, which HP says will also reduce the cost and risk of change while providing audit and compliance capabilities.

HP has enhanced its IT Service Management software and added related services that offer best practices through blueprints, training, and assessments. The software is designed to help companies define, deliver, and manage business services across their life cycle.

"We have been aggressively expanding our software portfolio in the last two years to broaden and deepen our capabilities, to help customers improve their top and bottom lines," said Hogan.

Partly because of its acquisitions, HP has grown the software side of its business to a current value of $42 billion, and it is now the sixth-largest software business in the world.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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