RealTime IT News

HP, 2 Japanese Firms Launch E-Solutions JV

With Japan's domestic markets becoming increasingly deregulated and the Internet making a reality of "borderless enterprise," more and more companies here are looking to advanced information technology (IT) to help them gain a competitive edge.

The rapid pace of change and growing complexity of hardware and software is reinforcing the traditional Japanese preference for purchasing an integrated solution from a single vendor rather than putting together a "build-your-own" IT system with components from multiple suppliers.

To better meet the dual demands from corporate customers for minimum technological risk and maximum speed of implementation, Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) last week announced it is joining with two Japanese partners to launch a new electronic business solutions joint venture.

HP is teaming up with Hitachi Software Engineering Co and Marubeni Corp to form Hewlett-Packard Solutions Delivery (HPSD).

The new company, which will develop and deliver full-service Internet technology solutions, begins operations on April 1.

HP owns a majority (51 percent) stake of HPSD. Hitachi Software and Marubeni hold 34 percent and 15 percent shares, respectively.

Hewlett-Packard Solutions Delivery will work closely with Hewlett-Packard Japan, a 75:25 joint venture of HP and Yokogawa Electric Corp.

The company's 100-member staff is being recruited primarily from HP Japan and Hitachi Software. The first year's sales target has been set at 10 billion yen ($83.3 million).

"The aim is to offer a level of service that cannot be achieved otherwise, by combining Marubeni's extensive sales channels and Hitachi Software's software technology expertise with Hewlett-Packard products," said Masao Terazawa, president of HP Japan.

Marubeni, one of Japan's top trading firms, is a key supplier of PCs, peripherals, and packaged software to the distribution and consumer markets. Hitachi Software is a leading global developer of specialized and customized software and a provider of systems development and integration services.

The three partners believe they can generate more business in Japan's expanding Internet technology and systems integration (SI) markets through the tie-up than each could develop alone.

"The Internet provides Japan with immense opportunity," said president Tsutomu Sato of Hitachi Software. "Hewlett-Packard Solutions Delivery [can] provide a total solution."

Kazuo Okada, previously regional manager for HP Japan's Software Engineering Operations, assumes the role as president of HPSD.

According to Okada, "The old system of so-called 'box sales' of computer hardware. . .is no longer popular."

Success in today's SI marketplace, he said, requires "consultation expertise combined with technological strength and marketing breadth, something that can only be attained through cooperative partnerships."

HPSD will provide Japanese corporations with integrated electronic business/electronic commerce solutions in such areas as SCM (supply chain management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), data warehousing, and SFA (sales force automation).