Posted on Wednesday 4 August 2010 by Ulster Business

As HP approaches the 35th Anniversary of its establishment on the island of Ireland we speak with Martin Murphy, Managing Director of HP Ireland.

How important is the Northern Ireland market to HP? Norther Ireland continues to play a vital role in the development of HP’s business across the island of Ireland, and this isn’t just from a revenue perspective. Our work locally has enabled us to design and develop new products, services and solutions which are generating new intellectual property for HP. The HP Ireland brand encompasses our work across the island of Ireland, reflected in the fact we are now the largest IT and services provider employing over 4,000 people between Belfast, Galway and Leixlip. In Belfast, we have created high value jobs which focus on consultancy in the public and private sector. We’ve recently invested in our business continuity and recovery site located in Newtownabbey, extending our site to 35,000 sq feet due to growing demand by businesses requiring business continuity facilities. Our expertise and capabilities range from ICT consultancy to a global Centre of Expertise for Cloud Computing Services in product track, trace and authentication – so peoples view of what HP does is continually evolving. How is your business split in terms of private versus public sector? There’s no doubt that HP carries out a high proportion of its work in the public sector. In the last year however we’ve won contracts in the public and private sector worth in excess of £100m, ranging from a £24m extension for the supply of ICT services in support of Classroom 2000 (C2k), a £75m framework agreement with the Department of Health to our ongoing work with companies ranging from Almac, Seagate and Harland and Wolf. Our work with private sector companies like Almac has spanned the last 15 years has delivered significant results with HP’s software being used to reduce the time required to put new drugs through clinical trials meaning drugs for cancer and other illnesses can get to patients faster. What will a reduction in public sector spending mean for HP’s business in Northern Ireland? There surely will be a recalibration in spending within the public sector and spending on ICT services could be hit. But I believe that technology can be part of the solution through creating efficiencies, reducing bureaucracy but still helping to deliver high quality public services. Like all companies working with the public sector, HP will have to continue to show how its products and services create public value. We can certainly point to recent projects with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, such as the TRIMM project where a HP solution ensured a common approach to records management reducing bureaucracy and providing better access to information. How progressive is the Northern Ireland ICT sector and how could it improve? I am very proud of what the ICT sector locally has achieved. During the last five years collaboration between a range of ICT players locally, including HP, has produced a single educational network known as C2k, the world’s largest online learning environment. This solution was designed and delivered through Managed Service partnerships with major private sector partners. I think the focus going forward is to harness this partnership approach across the ICT sector to feed into the development of a digital strategy for the Northern Ireland economy. Is our ICT infrastructure ready for the next generation of ICT development? We can see how the infrastructure has been improved with 100% broadband coverage and the NI Science Park continuing to provide excellent resources and infrastructure. However, there needs to be a greater focus between the private sector and Government in the development of a digital strategy which would provide a programme to develop a digital infrastructure and services for the future success of the local economy. We’ve seen how countries like Estonia which has roughly same population as Northern Ireland have produced companies such as Skype and there is no reason why such companies can’t be created locally. By putting in place the right digital infrastructure Northern Ireland can create and attract companies in new areas such as cloud computing, new media and environmental technologies, providing a new dimension to the private sector and economy locally.

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