IT giants to launch new services for Irish SMEs

20 May 2003

Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft and Cisco are understood to be close to launching a new range of computing services aimed at small firms in Ireland.

Based around a utility computing model, whereby customers pay to use software and processing power from a third party provider, it’s understood that HP will host some the services at its 60,000sq ft data centre in Citywest, previously owned by Metromedia and re-opened last month by HP.

“We have models that allow for a sharing of infrastructure, operation and applications,” says Tom Carson, HP’s country manager for services. “We are working with Cisco and Microsoft on ideas and a solution set aimed squarely at the SME segment.”

Joe Macri, country manager for Microsoft Ireland, was less forthcoming: “Yes, we are working on initiatives and have things in the oven about delivering better services to SMEs. No I wouldn’t care to put a date on it.”

According to Carson, features of the service would include storage on demand complemented with a group of user sharing applications.

HP has made no secret of its commitment to the concept of pay-as-you go utility computing and sees its OpenView software platform as a crucial building block towards the model of shared resources over a dedicated, managed network.

At the start of May, HP, Microsoft and Cisco were among a number of IT vendors that announced the formation of the first European Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Vendor Forum with the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The group pledged to dedicate money and resources to creating simple, cross-business solutions with the aim of delivering increased value to SME customers.

To meet the challenge of making SMEs pay as a client base, the companies are working together to co-develop go-to-market strategies and channel programmes to help forum members become more efficient, while better serving customers and partners.

By Ian Campbell