HP Pumps Up Telco Consulting

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) is putting renewed emphasis on its consulting services for telcos and other service providers, creating a new outfit called Solution Consulting Services (SCS).

HP has been doing this sort of consulting for years, but the company announced today that it wants to put more marketing oomph behind the idea. Carriers want to cut costs while also creating services to fend off any new offerings from the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) or Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

SCS's patents, processes, and business methodologies are being wrapped under the name Cosmos. SCS and Cosmos, in turn, are included in the billions and billions of dollars brought in by HP's Communications, Media, and Entertainment (CME) practice (a $9 billion-a-year unit, to be more precise, that includes HP's OSS products).

Exactly what SCS does can vary. Often, it involves HP applying best-practices mojo to a service provider, bringing it in line with standards such as the enhanced telecom operations map (eTOM) from the TM Forum . More generally, SCS helps a service provider turn lofty plans into real networks and applications.

This kind of consulting is in demand, HP officials claim, because service providers are facing increasingly complex services and infrastructure at a time when users are asking for things to get simpler. Moreover, telecom mergers have led to hybrid networks. It's more difficult than, say, the complexity of building a car. "This is much more dynamic," says Teresa Schlegelmann, director of worldwide solutions consulting for HP's CME.

Traditional competitors in this area are consultancies like Accenture or Capgemini . Increasingly, though, equipment providers are starting to move into this area -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Nokia Networks being prime examples.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is working its way into consulting, too, but mainly for its most prized customers. "They're going to rely on their partners to provide services around the equipment" in most cases, says Curtis Price, an analyst with IDC . "Cisco is still very much focused on technology leadership." All this would seem to set up a new competitive front between HP and equipment providers, but Schlegelmann claims there's not much of a clash yet. "We're taking a top-down approach, down into the applications, and they're working out from the infrastructure up to the application layer," she says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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