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Global CIO: An Open Letter To Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd

HP should leverage CIO Randy Mott's superb achievements and become The Transformation Company, helping CIOs reverse the deadly 80/20 ratio and become drivers of growth.

2. Your R&D Budget Cuts

Hewlett-Packard has long prided itself on innovation. So it was a bit of a jolt to see in this week's financials that R&D spending had been cut 25%. As my erudite colleague Alex Wolfe argues nearby:

It's also important to note that periodic lab revamps are nothing new, as when IBM (NYSE: IBM) Research famously told its scientists that their work had to be more closely connected to actual products. HP spent $3.543 billion in FY2008. So far this fiscal year, the figure is $2.115 billion for the nine months ending July 31, 2009. (This compares to $2.701 billion for the comparable year-earlier period).

A recent article described how HP and some other global corporations are shifting some R&D efforts toward "open innovation" to tap into the big brains of academics and other specialists around the globe for exposure to new ideas and focused collaboration on specific projects. This certainly seems like the sort of dynamic adjunct to HP's existing R&D efforts that The Transformation Company should be pushing.

3. What Is The Mark Hurd Strategy For HP?

On HP's website, the page listing company executives has a photo of you with a link saying, "Read the article: Mark Hurd's Moment." The article is a reprint from a Fortune and it offers a solid picture of you as a highly disciplined manager, a numbers-lover, and an efficiency expert. It also says next to nothing about your vision for the company over the next few years or your strategy for competing with IBM and Cisco and Accenture and Dell and EMC and others.

This strategy stuff might not be your favorite subject, but it's pretty darned indispensable these days to your CIO customers. As they evaluate which IT vendors should become intimately involved business partners, what do you want those CIOs to think about HP and where it's headed?

As an example of what I'm talking about, here's IBM CEO Palmisano addressing a group of institutional investors and financial analysts a few months ago. Agree with him or disagree with him, but there's no question -- none -- what his strategy is for IBM:

"We can do intelligent grids, we can do smart health care IT, we can do road systems and traffic-congestion charting, we can do we can do we can do. We can do the Smart Shanghai for the Shanghai Expo in 2010 -- we can do we can do we can do -- right? -- and that's where a lot of the stimulus is geared, not just on creating jobs to fill potholes and fix bridges. So we've been able to align in that regard and we continue to invest in a lot of those areas to capture those opportunities... .

"So we're not saying it's easier for us than for anybody else -- we're just saying we don't have the dependency that other people have -- that's all. We're not seeing a different world: It is what it is. We just don't have the dependency on it that others have. Therefore we haven't slashed the pay of our people, we haven't cut all their compensation, we haven't furloughed, we haven't we haven't we haven't."

And here, said Palmisano, is one of the primary reasons why CIOs should believe in -- and spend lots of money with and make long commitments to -- IBM:

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