UK employees of Hewlett-Packard struggle under the new regime

It has been said in the past that companies merging, and the integration of both sets of employees, can be torture, and so it is according to the staff formerly employed by Autonomy. This software company based in the UK was bought by HP less than 12 months ago, but already the staff are saying that the US company’s bureaucratic procedures are torture.

HP, obviously, have refuted these claims and the CE, Meg Whitman, has said that it is the classic challenges that face an entrepreneurial company that are to blame for the last quarter which was very disappointing for Autonomy. She has also now ditched the outspoken founder of the company, Mike Lynch, a man often lauded in Britain as somewhat of a hero in the UK’s technology sector.

Mr Lynch’s bruises will no doubt be salved by the $800m he has been paid for his stake in the company, but hopefully when he starts funding new ventures with these substantial gains, he will think twice before he signs away his employees futures. Anyone thinking of bidding on another company should look at the scars left by the HP/Autonomy merger and learn valuable lessons about how to combine two entrepreneurial companies under one management.

Before signing on the dotted line, those at Autonomy should have done their research into how HP ran their business, and how it contrasted so dramatically with a company whose very name implies independence. Creativity needs to space to grow and prosper, not be confined to a box, which is the common practice with multi-national companies based in the US.

This debacle firmly belongs under the heading ‘ how to fail at a merger’ and should be documented and kept for future reference. The whole thing smacks of blatant arrogance as, after all, it was the success of Autonomy that caught HP’s interest in the first place, yet they seem to have come in all guns blazing and reversed their fortunes in the worst way possible.