Why the HP Layoffs Matter to You

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HP announced that 27,000 people will have their positions eliminated as the company restructures to focus on key business areas. That is a reduction of 7.7% based upon the nearly 350,000 employees that HP employs based upon their 2011 financials.

You might be wondering why this matters to you as an IT professional who may or may not use HP products, and the reason is not because of the size of the reduction but because of why the reductions will are taking place. HP is focusing on “cloud, big data, and security” according to their press release.

Now I have not been able to learn more about what divisions specifically are being impacted by these layoffs, but what do cloud, big data, and security all have in common nowadays? They are essentially software products (check out what analyst Rob Enderle was quoted as saying in this interview).

Cloud services require software to enable end user access and interaction, as well as software to actually provide the service with no matter what hardware is used. Big data today is less about disks, shelves, and controllers and more about data mining, virtualization of storage, and efficiency through monitoring of the metadata generated by the data itself. Security is focused on pattern recognition, analysis, and monitoring which only robust software can handle with the sheer amount of data being transferred over today’s modern networks.

Whether HP succeeds or fails with this restructuring is not the point. The point is that HP is now in competition with both hardware and software vendors at an entirely different level. Couple this with other events like Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility to make exclusive hardware for Google software solutions, and of course the Chromebook and it seems that the worlds of software and hardware vendors are merging. Why not? Apple has been doing it for years.

I am not suggesting that this is all going to happen over night, but it tells me that as an IT professional I need to adjust the way I look at the vendors that I rely on for products. We are moving into the age of appliances (physical and virtual) for the world of IT. Some would say that we have already been there for a long time, but something about this HP restructuring suggest to me that we “ain’t seen nothing yet!”

So how are you planning to adapt in order to remain a relevant IT professional in the new world of “mixware” vendors? That might be the secret to whether or not you thrive in the ever changing world of IT.

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