Hewlett Packard (HP) has said that it expects its services division to compete with IBM Global Services for big contracts if the merger with Compaq goes ahead.
But Steven Smith, business operations director for HP Consulting in Europe, Middle East & Africa, said that a merged company will still face a huge task convincing users.
"It is the issue of getting broader recognition. There is a big gap [between HP and IBM Global Services] but the merger will see a change in the way HP is seen in the market in terms of scale," he explained. "But we'll be on a lot more invitations than we would as two separate companies."
Analysts, however, remain unconvinced that a merged HP/Compaq services arm can really compete in the high-end enterprise market.
Mitul Mehta, managing director at analyst TekPlus, maintained that bringing Compaq on board will not necessarily fill those gaps in HP's services offering.
"The biggest gaps are at the high-end business consulting, and some gaps around specialised outsourcing deals. It has a focus on certain verticals but, beyond these, it is lacking," he said. "Going forward a few of these gaps will be filled by Compaq, but I don't see the high-end gaps being filled at all."
The channel is also in a position to benefit from the merger, according to Mehta.
"It will take a couple of years and there will be consolidation with the usual crying and shouting. But HP will have to push a lot of fulfilment through the channel and there will be a lot of opportunities for those that survive," he said.
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