Archive for November, 2008

Follow up to the HP pricing issue

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

The first thing that I would say about HP’s pricing is not just that it is unbelievably high, but that it is unbelievably complicated. I used to work for a CEO once that told me that “pricing had to be complicated so that customers did not understand it and therefore could not get the best deal”.

We, at Nimsoft, take the opposite approach…..count the number of servers, divide them into app servers, MS servers and file/print servers and, voila…..that’s the pricing. Easy to do business with is an understatement. Opex? Fine. Capex? Fine. We’ll work with you the way that YOUR business needs us to.

I have had a chance to talk to many both ex and current HP Software employees, and I’m still trying to find the person that actually understands their pricing (apparently there are at least 2 people worldwide that can explain the HP pricelist).

Nice headline from Joe over at MSPMentor…..

HP?s Double Migraine: Nimsoft and GroundWork Open Source
Posted November 25th, 2008 by Joe Panettieri

So funny….

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

On CNET yesterday….
HP tries to hide its pricing from customers and open-source competitors
Posted by Matt Asay

On October 13, 2008, Hewlett-Packard (HP) sent a complaint to an open-source competitor, GroundWork, asking GroundWork to stop revealing HP’s “confidential” pricing. I have posted the letter below. What HP isn’t correcting is GroundWork’s contention that HP’s IT monitoring software is considerably more expensive than that of its open-source competition.

Does HP think its pricing is really a secret? It’s publicly available at GSA Advantage (albeit most GSA pricing actually reflects discounting of roughly 10 percent). Guess what? HP software costs a lot of money. Is anyone surprised?

GroundWork has been highlighting its cost advantages over HP’s Operations Manager and Network Node Manager offerings for some time, declaring an 82-percent cost advantage over HP’s products. This isn’t news.

So why is HP sending letters to GroundWork (and InformationWeek, which hosted a webinar on the subject), demanding that its pricing be buried? According to a source familiar with the matter, it was apparently GroundWork’s live webcast (registration here) on September 30, 2008, which roughly a dozen HP employees attended, that seriously rankled HP.

Why? Perhaps because the data presented starkly reveals just how pricey software like HP’s can be.

As noted above, HP does not claim the pricing GroundWork revealed is wrong. It simply seeks to prevent disclosure of pricing, as well as attempts to police HP’s own network of customers, partners and even employees. From the letter sent to GroundWork and InformationWeek:

During [the webinar] you referenced the Hewlett-Packard Company’s (“HP”) pricing and listed in your slide set the “HP Software BTO Pricing Guide, 2008″ as the source of such information. HP’s Pricing Guide is confidential information, is marked as such, and is not publicly available. Access to HP pricing information is limited to parties under confidentiality obligations to HP.

Fine. There are very valid reasons for maintaining such confidentiality provisions, but the fact of the matter is that GroundWork could easily have pulled the pricing information from the GSA Advantage website (and probably should have). The problem isn’t the pricing information. It’s that HP doesn’t want its high prices used against it.

Is HP afraid of transparency? Presumably it can justify those high prices, so why is it worried? Here’s the letter in its entirety. You be the judge.

<%image(20081126-hp_letter_610x786.jpg|610|786|Copy of the letter)%>


Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Some quick Nimsoft updates for everyone….

The quarter is progressing well. The economy is of course a little scary but so far we’re seeing business doing very well. A down economy is not necessarily a bad thing for Nimsoft given our focus on cost savings and value.

I took a look this week at our largest ten prospects this quarter, and 5 out of the 10 are big-4 replacement opportunities with 4 being HP replacements and 1 an IBM replacement.

HP have clearly taken the mantle as our #1 replaced vendor – customers tell us that they are very unhappy with the complexity of the product, their support is absolutely abysmal and customers are no longer willing to spend the kind of $$ on software and services.

Our new VP Sales is doing really well. Our “dream team” of two of the most senior Mercury Interactive sales leaders should position us really well for the future.

I’m on the road all next week (I don’t get thanksgiving), New York for a meeting with a large customer then London, Brussels and Amsterdam. I am meeting with 13 potential customers next week – that European sales team has me busy. But….there is nothing I’d rather be doing business wise than sitting in front of customers.

Special bonus for me, I get to spend Friday night back with my parents in England before returning to California next weekend.

I’ll blog from the road, would love to talk a little more about our Business Service Management plans for early in the New Year, our Cloud Computing plans (which we have a tremendous offering for) and a number of other things that are up our sleeves.

Off to try and find a birthday present for my lady now……she doesn’t understand the word “recession” :)

UK Financial Services institution aligns IT with the business

Friday, November 7th, 2008

This was in Computer Weekly this week in the UK (for the US, Building Society = Savings and Loans)

Case Study: Nottingham Building Society strengthens IT and business links

Cath Jennings
12:15 05 Nov 2008

Nottingham Building Society is in the process of adopting a business-oriented approach to service level management, which will link the performance of IT systems and services directly to business activities.

The decision to move in this direction was taken by IT director Jack Cutts, who was taken on by the firm about two-and-a-half years ago to update its core mortgage systems.

Initial work involved stabilising existing systems before undertaking a complete IT infrastructure refresh, which included introducing systems management products for the first time.

“There was no monitoring in the organisation at all, so the only time we knew there was an issue was when users or customers told us. But we’ve got finite resources to spend on IT and we wanted to move the balance away from support-and-fix to adding value. So we felt that the more proactive we could be about things, the more effective that shift would be,” Cutts says.

As a result the building society, which employs more than 500 staff, rolled out service level management (SLM) applications from Nimsoft and built a graphical dashboard to pictorially represent 12 monitoring areas, one of which included the firms 32 branches.

The next stage in the process, however, will be to introduce business-driven service level agreements (SLAs) based on asking senior business managers 10 key questions about how they wish their IT services to be delivered. Topics will include ‘are the right systems available when you need them to be?’ and ‘are support staff courteous?’.

Cutts explains the rationale, “If I ask the head of marketing, for example, are you happy with your systems being available 99.99 per cent of the time, they’ll probably say ‘yes’. But if I say ‘so it’s OK if I take the system down every 13 days for an hour at 12pm?’, they’re not likely to be so happy.”

The problem with SLAs in this context, he says, is that they “sometimes drive the wrong behaviours and if they’re too top level, they could be causing customer dissatisfaction.” This is not least because “if you ask the business what level of availability they want, they won’t necessarily understand the question. So you can pick something that makes you look successful, but that takes away trust”.

Moreover, he adds, while “you can create statistics to prove anything, it doesn’t mean you’re providing a good service or that the customer thinks you’re doing a good job”. As a result, the questions are intended to act as a discussion point to enable “each department to create their own way of assessing whether we are doing a good job”.

“We have numbers around things like availability to help them make the call, but sometimes it’s the softer stuff that you don’t get to hear about. So if we’re getting six out of 10 from one department, we can ask them what their issues are and drive up the SLAs as they become more focused and targeted,” Cutts explains.

The openness of the discussion process, he believes, will, in turn, help to create better relationships between the business and IT. “If they’re consistently giving you a low mark, they have to justify that, but if they mark us 10 out of 10 each time, they can’t really complain. But it’s not about a numbers game, it’s about making things better,” he says.

Cutts warns, however, that it is only possible to adopt such an approach if the IT department is providing a good basic service and has suitable monitoring tools in place. He also believes that the IT team needs to be provided with incentives to carry through on any changes.

“I’m putting SLA performance into my personal objectives and that of my team because if they’re not linked in, there’s no reason to engage. It shows my real commitment to this approach as I don’t feel that you can do this kind of thing half-heartedly,” he concludes.

Managing the cloud with Nimsoft

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Great blog from one of our customers..

24th in the Valley

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

We won an award the other night…Delloite Fastest Growing companies in Silicon Valley – we were 24th.

We also won the San Francisco Business Times award for fastest growing companies in the Bay Area.

Maybe marketing is going to press release these, not sure yet.

New people

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Really happy that we’ve got our new VP Sales on board for the Americas. Dixon joins us from HP Software, where he ended up as part of the acquisition of Mercury. It’s the Mercury experience that we really like with Dixon as that was a dynamic, fast moving, rapidly growing company. Our customers can expect to be talking to him very soon – he’s a huge customer advocate and loves getting involved.

Ran a $600m sales operation at HP, so hopefully he can scale to our needs for a few years :)

I couldn’t be happier with Dixon.

As anyone that knows me knows, I have made some bad hires in the past. All I can tell the folks that work for Nimsoft is that I’m human, I make mistakes, but I recognize them quickly and fix them!

Welcome Dixon….time to make some noise.

Q3 results

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Sorry for the delay, but these are finally out today (getting organized after the Goldman investment takes a little time).

Another outstanding set of results, led by very strong managed service provider revenue.

40 brand new logo customers (equaling the record set last quarter), and overall 30% new order growth (we had a very strong comparable in Q3 2007, with 2 of our largest ever contracts closed).

Best of everything though was the subscription revenue, more than doubling year on year. This is the revenue that is primarily driven by MSPs and shows the amazing growth of our MSP business.

We are now up to 720-730 customers worldwide and are looking forward to continuing the momentum.