Remember EDS? They're the company that Ross Perot founded in 1962 and was acquired by General Motors and finally by HP. Perot founded EDS on the premise that IBM and others weren't providing the types of consulting services along with the sales of computer the new world of electronic data systems required.
Today the EDS brand and legacy are a nondescript "Services" drop down between "Solutions" and "Servers" and mentioned in same breadth as Ink, Toner and Printers. Possibly not the worst fate to be in the same category that nearly personifies HP today. In 2011 28% of HP's $127B came from Services. Seems a little disproportional to where they sit on the website but maybe I am reading too much into it.
HP seems to be struggling with what type of company it wants to be. It's not clear if they are a Consumer Product, Enterprise or the R&D company they once were. From the website, the Corporate Objectives and Shared Values are noble and worthy but tell us nothing about their market drivers.
The company has recently had its set backs and very public turnovers in their CEOs. Meg Whitman is the latest to don the mantle of CEO but what is the direction she's steering the company? Her most recent moves are steered at creating more cash. Managing costs and raising shareholder value are certainly part and parcel of the CEO mission. However, where is Meg taking the company? Set up to be sold off? Maybe to Oracle? What is HP going to leave as its legacy?
My suggestion, transform into a world class services company. The time and market is right. Revive the EDS brand. Arguably EDS is the company that started BPO and outsourcing in the IT industry in the US. EDS had the first set of Medicare contracts back in 1969.
Both the HP and EDS brands still have cache within the enterprise and government sections. In an election year where many executives are beginning to test the value they are getting from outsourcing, these brands have history and credibility to trade on (for a time). They held the relevance and values that corporations will be able to flock to. Potentially they could become a mobilizing platform that politicians could gravitate towards.
IT services related to BPO, Outsourcing and Integration continue to grow. A company that provides turnkey IT services coupled with hardware is a force to be reckoned with. With the rise of cloud computing in both public and the enterprise setting CIOs and other executives are less brand-loyal to hardware as long as the lights are on, so to speak. Service should take the driver's seat as part of packaged offerings. The key is getting the right talent to adequately manage and deliver the contracted work. HP's consumer brand strength could run independently and perhaps they should think about getting out of the PC market. Use the cash to fund growth and acquisitions into building local centers and top talent.
Should HP return to Perot's original EDS vision to provide the rigor and military precision to a results hungry and risk averse population of executives?