HP Taps XML for Integration

By John McCormick Print this article Print

Even before its Compaq mega-merger, HP was quick to adopt XML database products to unite distributed Web applications. But can XML vendors build a market on early adopters?

Think you have integration indigestion?

While Hewlett-Packard corporate tackles its mega-merger with Compaq, smaller groups within HP have been wrestling since well before the merger with hefty integration efforts of their own. Though small by comparison, they're massive by most scales and involve some of the latest Web integration tools on the market.

HP's OpenView business unit, for example, which controls the company's systems management software line, has been working quietly on a huge Web integration effort that is connecting some 30 sites behind a single customer relationship management portal. The move is giving customers the ability to sign on to OpenView Web properties with just one password and allowing the company to collect OpenView customer data more easily. The $81.7 billion computer equipment giant just embarked on a second phase of the project, according to a company involved in the project, which will expand the usability of the sites and push customer data received online into a sales-lead generating system.

For its tools, HP chose XML database products—a move being made by other big-name companies. HP turned to Coherity, a Palo Alto, Calif., company founded by HP expatriates. The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a format that lets developers define elements on a Web page, then allows information from that document to be easily managed and shared across the Web. OpenView managers were not available for comment, but Coherity said it finished the project's first phase in late 2000.

Hewlett-Packard was among the first to embrace XML databases, but others followed suit. In February, for example, Philips Business Communications, a unit of electronics company Royal Philips Electronics, implemented an XML database to give employees real-time access to product information. Some 10% of Fortune 500 companies are now exploring XML database deployments, according to Ted Friedman, a Gartner Inc. analyst.

This article was originally published on 2002-06-11
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