Hewlett Packard is introducing a range of new services and products intended to help accelerate business growth, lower costs and increase operational efficiency.

The new services focus on business intelligence, datacentres and overall IT management, coupled with reference architectures for ready-to-deploy offerings for Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle and SAP.

The intent, according to Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester Research, is part of a shift by HP away from selling products to providing technology solutions to solving business problems. HP also wants to standardise and pre-package its offerings to improve customer efficiency, he said.

The move is part of the strategy outlined by HP in 2003 with its Adaptive Enterprise concept with its Darwin Reference Architecture.

Since then the aim has been to improve IT systems through simplification, standardisation and modularity.

This week’s announcement takes this approach to areas such as business intelligence, where HP is offering technologies and services to help integrate silos of information in a company.

Among the new services are its "HP Adaptive Infrastructure Maturity Model," which is intended to help customers assess their datacentres by measuring operational efficiency, quality of service and speed of change based on industry benchmarks and data HP has acquired from other companies.

HP is also offering management services to incorporate the best practices embodied in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

A major update, version three, is due next month. The company said in January. Deborah Nelson, HP's senior vice president of marketing and alliances, said the new products reflected the current needs of business. At the same time she warned traditional IT managers that they risked losing influence in their organisations.

Most IT managers are out of the loop on the really big strategic decisions made by their companies, even if technology is central to just about everything their firm does, she said.

Many users continue to see IT as a cost centre and are measuring IT with methods that do not provide a true picture of its contribution, such as server uptime, said Nelson.

This is reflected in the role chief information officers have in their organisation. Only a third of the chief information officers HP has surveyed have a role in strategic decision-making, which reflects the failure of most companies to see technology as key to competitive advantage.

"We believe that IT as we know it is really over," said Nelson, adding that IT has to enter a new phase - what HP is calling "business technology."