Following news that Hewlett-Packard plans to split its business in two, one focused on PCs and printers, the other on enterprise hardware and services, Forrester Research analysts believe the "pressure in on" the tech giant to keep pace with industry change.

"The age of the customer is changing a lot of things in the tech industry," says Peter Burris, vice president and research director, Forrester.

"Especially for companies like HP that feature an enormous portfolio traditionally focused on hardware and maintenance services."

As a result Burris believes the "pressure is on" to shift the focus to software and related business technology services, which is where customers, investors, and partners see greater opportunity and value.

"No-one digitally disrupts by building multi-billion dollar processor fabs anymore," he adds. "What companies need to do is differentiate on software that improves business technology."

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According to Glenn O'Donnel, vice president and research director, Forrester, customers have had a "love-hate relationship with HP software for eons."

"There are great ideas there, but a failure to execute," he claims. "However, there is hope. The Autonomy acquisition is starting to give the software portfolio value - slowly. It was a leader in Forrester's Private Cloud Wave."

"Still, many stalwarts of the software unit have languished, including its once premier operations and application performance families. HP needs to fix its software business or it is toast.

"Too much of this unit is still aimed at an IT agenda, rather than the business technology (BT) Agenda. It needs both. It lacks products that are appealing to the business side."

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While acknowledging that HP's data centre hardware is excellent and the software to drive it good, O'Donnel believes there remain still somewhat fragmented and convoluted.

"Hardware is important, but without the software and attention to a broader technology ecosystem, hardware alone is not going to win," he adds.