PALO ALTO, Calif. (
) -- The stakes are high for
(HPQ - Get Report)
CEO Leo Apotheker, who will reveal his long-term strategy for the tech giant next week. With HP's shares down almost 19% over the last 12 months, the new CEO must conjure up a road map capable of
lifting the company's stock
Up first, predict analysts: software as the next big item on
to-do list. Software sales accounted for just 2% of HP's overall first-quarter revenue, compared to 25% at rival IBM, during its most recent quarterly report.
"At this point, HP's largest challenges relate to enterprise software, a point underlined by Apotheker's original hiring and the company's
(ORCL - Get Report)
," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT research, in an email to
. "Despite the financial benefits HP enjoyed under Mark Hurd, he left the company high and dry so far as business software assets are concerned, [so] on March 14, I would expect Apotheker to outline a workable plan for repairing those shortcomings."
More specifically, King said that Apotheker may unveil new solutions involving integrated hardware and software. The tech giant has already made moves into this space, recently
ramping up its partnership
(MSFT - Get Report)
pre-packaged bundles of hardware and software
aimed at corporate customers looking to analyze their data.
Apotheker has also promised a major focus on
cloud computing and connectivity
"I believe that Apotheker has a software vision that will circle around cloud," said Jessica Breen, an analyst at Technology Business Research (TBR), in an email to
. "I expect that there will be a heavy emphasis on refreshing the software after lackluster performance."
There has also been speculation that Apotheker will bolster HP's OpenView systems management product, to better compete with
IBM's Tivoli offering