HP’s Q1 shows slow, steady progress

HP CEO Meg Whitman

HP CEO Meg Whitman

Hewlett-Packard Co. is clinging onto whatever momentum helped it limp over the goal line last year, wrapping up its first quarter of 2014 on Thursday with another mixed bag of results that will satisfy analysts and investors and keep CEO Meg Whitman’s turnaround on track for a while longer.

HP’s Q1 revenues came in at $28.2 billion, down 1 percent from the year-ago quarter and off a bit from last quarter. That makes 10 straight quarters of top-line revenue declines measure year-over-year.

Despite the drop, the results beat analyst expectations, and HP did manage a quarterly profit of $1.43 billion flat from the last quarter but a 16 percent rise over last year when the company was just starting to recover from multi-billion dollar losses.

HP is also getting its cash flow issues sorted out, generating $3.0 billion in cash from operations Q1, up 17 percent from last year. The company ended the quarter with $16.4 billion in cash on hand.

“HP is in a stronger position today than we’ve been in quite some time,” said CEO Whitman. “The progress we’re making is reflected in growth across several parts of our portfolio, the growing strength of our balance sheet, and the strong support we’re receiving from customers and channel partners. Innovation is igniting our comeback, and at a time when many of our competitors are confronting new challenges, two years of turnaround work is setting us up for an exciting future.”

Exciting it may well be, but probably not easy. The growth across parts of the portfolio Whitman alluded to — commercial revenues in the Personal Systems group were up 8 percent, for example, and notebook sales climbed 5 percent —  was matched with some less encouraging slips in the areas many channel partners rely on as core parts of their HP practices.

In the Enterprise Group, revenue was flat year-over-year. While industry-standard server sales bumped up 6 percent, storage came in unchanged and the high-value Business Critical Systems revenues were down a whopping 25 percent. Networking sales rose 4 percent while Technology Services fell 4 percent.

Printing was a give-and-take affair with revenues down a scant 2 percent, despite total hardware and commercial unit sales that ticked up slightly. Printing supplies revenue was off 3 percent.

Things were even tougher in Enterprise Services where revenues were down 7 percent.  Application and Business Services revenue dropped 4 percent and Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing sales declined 9 percent.

In software, where HP has put an increasing amount of is effort, the numbers remain lackluster. Software sales were down 4 percent year over year, with support losing 2 percent, licensing dropping 6 percent, professional services skidding 12 percent. That comes after a Q4 that saw a 24 percent plummet in software license revenue and a 13 percent drop in related professional services. The lone bright spot was software-as-a-service revenue which inched up 6 percent in Q1.

This article originally appeared on Channelnomics.com.