The US$ 10.4 billion acquisition of UK-based Autonomy by US-based HP has been one of the most discussed events in the industry over the past 18 months. Unfortunately, the discussion has focused largely on allegations of corporate malpractices. Now that the acquisition is now a done deal, we decided to find out what exactly HP is going to do with Autonomy in the coming years and spoke to Autonomy General Manager, Robert Youngjohns.

Autonomy GM and Autonomy

If the name Robert Youngjohns seems familiar, its hardly a surprise. HP lifted him straight out of Microsoft’s sales department where he was Head of Sales for North America, and plonked him down in the manager’s chair of Autonomy, making him senior vice president with HP.

Already, HP was making its intentions clear; Autonomy is a core part of HP and its purpose -- like any company its purpose is to make money.

The first question that springs to mind in this respect is the ongoing problems around the acquisition of Autonomy. Rumors have been circulating the Web for months, suggesting that HP was going to cut its losses and dump Autonomy. Youngjohns was quite emphatic about it:

"There is no truth to that at all… Meg Whitman has reiterated the fact that HP is completely committed to Autonomy and I think the best way to think about it is that its not just about Autonomy as a business, it's also about the value that Autonomy brings to the rest of the HP portfolio…

"And that is something I have been working on very hard for the last six months with the business -- not just to ensure that we are leveraging the advantages of HP in terms of customer and all that, but that we’re also leveraging our technology into other things that HP does, whether it's printers, PCs storage solutions, enterprise services and so on…”

HP, Autonomy Objectives

Since the acquisition, building the business value of its products has been a key goal, and the way to achieve that is integration he says. Until last September, the number of integrations had been very limited and much of the speculation about Autonomy had been based on the fact that no one could really see anything practical from the buy.

But it is this that Youngjohns has been specifically tasked with:

…one of the missions I was given was to sensibly integrate the two…by sensibly, I mean integrate at the right pace and speed so that we get the benefits of integration with HP but that we don't derail the things we are doing.. we've been engaged in doing that and I think we've made a fair amount of progress.."

To do that, three distinct objectives were outlined:

  1. Focus on customer and customer satisfaction. This aims to ensure that Autonomy customers are getting the most out of the license.
  2. Properly developed roadmaps for the products in the family. In parallel to this, Autonomy has built up its R+D investment significantly to ensure the roadmaps and points along the map are met.
  3.  Leverage HP not just in terms of access to markets but also in terms of making sure Autonomy technology is embedded in as many technologies as possible.

IDOL and Autonomy’s Future

And while the Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) server technology is the muscle buried below the products that everyone can see, it is not really what Autonomy is marketing. Most of the income generated by Autonomy is from information governance, backup and recovery products, archiving and compliance enterprise content management, and records management.

Its principal areas of activity though, will not change, and will fall into three principal areas:

  1. Big Data: Solving information management problems contained and associated with big data
  2. Information governance: This is getting the most short term traction, Youngjohns says, as problems around regulations, compliance and the associated issues of discovery and records management quickly become real issues for many verticals.
  3. Web content management: Autonomy will continue to build this, with plans in the pipeline for the addition of real-time analytics. He says to watch out for HP’s Discovery conference in June for some interesting news here.

Information Governance

More generally, Autonomy has a bunch of point products whose direction will change slightly in the medium term: