Q&A: Autonomy CEO Explains Why The HP Deal Made Sense


CRN: Where does Autonomy drive business within HP's existing portfolio?

Autonomy is very storage-hungry -- if you have a piece of audio or video, you're chewing through storage -- so obviously this fits very well with HP's storage business. Understanding this information also requires processing power, so it's a big driver for the server business. Even in areas like PSG [the Personal Systems Group], there is Autonomy technology going into future products.

Another area is the technology used to make printing interactive -- things like visual recognition. So Autonomy technology is being used all over the place [within HP], and what you've got is the ability to really get revenue synergies through leveraging it in certain parts of the business.

It's Autonomy's ability to understand meaning that gives the technology such differentiation. We take that ability and, by changing the interfaces, we do many different applications off it.

You get phenomenal scale with HP. Autonomy doesn't do services, and now we have access to a great services arm, and we get to work with HP's hardware server team. Suddenly there are all sorts of things possible when they weren't possible before. Actually the biggest issue is prioritizing all of those.

CRN: How does Autonomy's technology position HP against its competitors?

The reason why Autonomy was so valuable is it's a unique asset. There's nothing out there that has the ability and scale to understand the meaning of human-friendly information. It's 90 percent of the information that's out there, and it's all the interesting stuff. If you're going to find a fraud, you'll find it in e-mail.

Customers don't live their lives in rows and columns. They don't sense database tables -- they call you up, they Tweet, they come to WorkSite [Autonomy's document and e-mail management solution], and that's all unstructured information. There's been an explosion of video, Voice-over-IP -- this is all about understanding that information. No one else does that. Most of HP's competitors have to license that technology from HP.

PC owners almost certainly have Autonomy inside some of the products on their PCs already. Adobe and Symantec are just two examples of vendors that license Autonomy technology through OEM agreements. The real art form for any good magic is that you don't actually know it's there, and that's the way it is with Autonomy.

CRN: What does Autonomy's cloud computing business look like?

We run one of the world's largest clouds -- we have about 40 petabytes of customer information, which I think makes it the world's largest heterogeneous cloud. It's got all types of information, e-mail and video and audio and documents. And we have a whole set of expertise in running a cloud for our customers.

Cloud is incredibly strong for Autonomy -- about one-third of our business is cloud right now. Customers love it. One interesting thing is that it's no longer the IT buyer that buys cloud. You're seeing the purchases come directly from business units without their own IT.