HP Launches Portal to Sell Its Software Online

By Sean Michael Kerner

Hewlett-Packard is now ramping up a new effort to sell its software online. The new HP Pronq effort is not set to be officially announced until next week, though the site is now live. The Pronq portal currently offers HP's Fortify on Demand security service, Agile Manager, Vertica, Performance Anywhere and Service Anywhere solutions.

"Pronk" is an actual word that is defined as jumping up into the air or moving forward by leaps and bounds, Caroline Tsay, vice president of Web and eCommerce at HP's Software division, told eWEEK. "It's a metaphor for what we're trying to do with Pronq, with the attributes of agility and ease of use," Tsay said.

As to how and why HP chose to start with five offerings to sell on Pronq, Tsay said the initial set has the right price points and offers the ability to try the products before buying them. Over time, other products will be added and both software as a service (SaaS) as well as on-premises solutions will be part of the mix.

The idea of selling software online in 2013 is not new, but with Pronq, HP is trying to differentiate its software offerings and bring more attention to them, Tsay said. While known for PCs, hardware, printers and other products, HP is not necessarily known for software, she added.

Buying trends have also changed in recent years when it comes to enterprise software solutions.

Historically, HP has been targeting large enterprises and the high-level executives within those organizations, Tsay said. With Pronq, the idea is to reach a broader audience that includes people who are now likely to try out software and help influence and make buying decisions.

HP leveraged third-party software to build the Pronq site. Pronq is using the open-source Drupal, a widely deployed content management system that is also used by the White House and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as the front-end technology.

Pronq is an end-to-end platform with multiple components used throughout the stack. For the transaction piece, HP is using technology from Avangate and is leveraging a marketing automation system from Salesforce.com to handle customer leads and sales activities.

While HP has its own public cloud OpenStack-based infrastructure, that infrastructure is not being used for Pronq, which is on a private cloud infrastructure from HP and was built by a team in Israel, Tsay said.

By selling direct with Pronq, HP could be seen as going around its channel partners and its own direct sales force, but that's not what's happening, Tsay said. "We're looking at building out a partner program and really supporting our channel partners in the future," she said "Pronq is a full-fledged e-commerce business and platform that we're trying to build out, and we also see this as being complementary to our sales teams, bringing high quality leads to them."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

This article was originally published on 2013-12-06