Good morning and welcome to the new workweek, Data Sheet readers. It’s official: Hewlett-Packard will split into two separate companies by the end of fiscal year 2015. CEO Chairman and CEO Meg Whitman bills the move as the final phase of her five-year turnaround plan. Read on for early details. Plus, does data analytics really have to be hard? Startup Alteryx is getting another $60 million to simplify business intelligence.
Are two HPs better than one? Returning to a plan first considered and shelved three years ago, Hewlett-Packard officially plans to break into two separate companies by Halloween 2015 (the official end of its 2015 fiscal year).
HP Enterprise, to be run by current Chairman and CEO Meg Whitman, will include enterprise servers, networking gear, software and cloud computing technologies. HP’s lead independent director, Pat Russo, will become chairman. HP Inc. will get the desktop, notebook, tablet and printer product portfolios; it will be led by Dion Weisler, the former Lenovo and Acer executive who joined two years ago. Whitman will serve as non-executive chairman of that company.
After the tax-free transaction, existing shareholders will own shares in both companies. HP reiterated its earnings guidance for fiscal year 2014, anticipating a profit between $3.70 and $3.74 per share (in line with analyst expectations). Its outlook for 2015 is $3.83 and $4.03 per share. Its analyst meeting planned for Wednesday is being rescheduled, although they’re being briefed this morning.
In her statement about the plan, Whitman positions the breakup plan as the next phase of the company’s turnaround:
“It will provide each new company with the independence, focus, financial resources and flexibility they need to adapt quickly to market and customer dynamics, while generating long-term value for shareholders. In short, by transitioning now from one HP to two new companies, created out of our successful turnaround efforts, we will be in an even better position to compete in the market, support our customers and partners, and deliver maximum value to our shareholders.”
What she doesn’t mention is that this idea was floated three years ago. So the timing begs the question: were the recent rumored merger talks with EMC a catalyst? Another note: the split-up plan will force another 5,000 job cuts, bringing the total to approximately 55,000 by the end of FY2015.
The breakup plan has already received one notable thumbs-up, via a statement issued by Relational Investors’ founder and former HP Chairman Ralph Whitworth (who retired in July because of health issues):
“HP’s board and management have made a brilliant value-enhancing move at the perfect time in the turnaround. Today’s announcement sets out bold, logical and highly compelling steps that will align the company’s assets within more strategically and operationally focused corporate structures. … The new companies will be better positioned to address today’s light-speed marketing dynamics and customer needs, and with distinct and compelling financial profiles and strong leadership teams, accelerate growth and value creation.”
That remains to be seen, but it sure gives other high-tech companies plenty to think about especially Lenovo (which just did the exact opposite thing by adding servers to its expansive mobile technology portfolio) and EMC (which has been contemplating various reorganization and mergers options).
STATS & SPECS
Should you hire a chief digital officer? Benetton, L’Oreal and McDonald’s are just three of the dozens of companies that have created high-level executive positions in the past year dedicated to digital technology strategy. Among facets of the job: bridging multi-channel customer service organizations and presiding over the creation of world-class mobile applications. Although the number of people who hold this title is relatively small compared with the number of chief information officers, it could double to reach 1,500 this year. ZDNet
STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS
Two-year-old storage player Reduxio adds $15 million. Founded by former Dell, EMC, IBM and NetApp executives and engineers, its technology combines solid state and high-capacity magnetic drives. It’s meant for managing data that lives across cloud applications, virtualized servers and more traditional IT equipment. Seagate Technology led the Series B round, which also includes Jerusalem Venture Partners, Carmel Ventures and Intel Capital. (Reduxio previously raised $12 million.)
Lever gets $10 million to reinvent recruiting. Co-founded by alumni from Google and Zynga, it helps companies like Box, Foursquare and Lyft find and hire new talent that better fits a company’s corporate culture, by making both managers and existing employees part of the process. The Series A round is from Matrix Partners.
Another $15 million for Appboy’s mobile marketing formula. The company’s technology helps the likes of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters personalize and manage messages send to people visiting their websites with smartphones or tablets. The new round is led by InterWest Partners, the initial backer for marketing automation darling Marketo.
Another day, another analytics funding round
Alteryx—one of the myriad startups trying to move business intelligence technology out of the hands of IT departments and into the hands of people in marketing, sales, finance and other line-of-business roles—is getting another $60 million this week from Insight Venture Partners plus existing backers SAP Ventures and Toba Capital.
The new money is earmarked for establishing additional sales relationships, expanding its international presence and adding features targeted at the millions of data analysts who work outside corporate IT departments and aren’t likely to hold doctorate degrees in quantitative analysis. The company previously raised $18 million.
Alteryx’s technology is already used by 600-plus companies, including Best Buy, Chipotle, Dunkin’ Donuts, Ford, Ingeroll Rand, Kroger, Levi’s, McDonald’s, Verizon and Unilever. “Empowering analysts to use all the data available to them, while also making it easy for data analysts to produce advanced analytics is enabling Alteryx to expand its total addressable market through increased user adoption and greater demand for its product,” says Insight Venture co-founder Jeff Horing, who will represent his firm on the Alteryx board.
The Alteryx technology lets business analysts organize disparate data sources needed for insight into a particular business question, such as historical transactions or social media activity. That information can then be blended to generate predictive reports or insights, such as whether funding a new marketing campaign is worth it based on previous results. “We address day-to-day decisions that push the business forward,” says Alteryx president and COO George Mathew.
On paper, Alteryx competes with more complicated technologies from the likes of SAS or TIBCO. But it usually takes just weeks to get the technology up and running, rather than the months it can take with legacy products, Mathew says. The pricing is pretty straightforward: $4,000 per user, per year.
There’s plenty of competition in the business intelligence and analytics software market, which IDC expects to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7% through 2017. There’s some formidable competition, including the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, SAS and Teradata.
To advance its chances of success, Alteryx has forged partnerships with other notable upstarts including Cloudera, Qlik Technologies and Tableau Software. But all of those companies are about to face what is likely to become a formidable new foe: Salesforce, which is widely expected to introduce an updated analytics platform next week at its Dreamforce conference.
ONE MORE THING ...
True test for driverless cars: Busy urban streets. It’s relatively simply to program automated vehicles for highway driving—think of it as a more sophisticated level of cruise control. Dealing with pedestrian obstacles, busy intersections and other unplanned distractions on city streets is another matter entirely. A new simulated town in Ann Arbon, Mich., will help by letting automakers test urban scenarios for automated vehicles before putting them on public streets. Wired
Dreamforce: 1,400 sessions about the largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)
Strata/Hadoop World: Big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)
QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Oct. 21 – 23, San Jose, Calif.)
IBM Insight 2014: Big data and analytics. (Oct. 26 – Oct. 30, Las Vegas)
TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28- 30, Miami Beach)
AWS re:Invent: The latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)
Gartner Data Center Conference: Ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)