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.

Bob Evans, Contributor

August 19, 2009

4 Min Read

"Now look: we got it all. Why? Since nobody's asking us why---[but they do ask] 'No one expects you to [make projections], so why would you do it?' Because you need to keep things in perspective: We are not like the other companies in the IT industry. We're not. We've completely transformed the IBM company. We're not."

Having transformed itself, IBM has begun doing the same for its customers. But as good as IBM is, you've got an asset that IBM doesn't have: your CIO and EVP Randy Mott. Because with Mott, if I may borrow a Palmisano-ism, HP is not like the other companies in the IT industry. Let me explain why.

4. EVP and CIO Randy Mott

Mark, about the closest that Fortune article ever gets to discussing strategy is this passage about a meeting you had with customers before the NBA All-Star game:

Hurd is showing them how to reinvent themselves the HP way. He explains to this group of executives, from giants like American Express and DirecTV to local small-fry like direct-mail printer, a buyer of HP's graphic printing presses, that HP has slashed the software applications it uses companywide from 6,000 to 1,500. It consolidated its data centers…from 85 to 6. HP's own IT department from 19,000 people to 8,000 -- all so the company could hire more salespeople. Hurd is preaching to the IT-manager choir. HP's guests would be heroes if they too could slim down their organizations.

Heroes -- indeed! But that article misses the real point of what you and Randy Mott achieved with your internal IT overhaul: the real payoff was profoundly revitalizing HP by making it possible to shift money from unproductive internal stuff to bringing aboard new salespeople, while also cutting hundreds of millions from administration, facilities, utility bills, security, and more. It also helped Mott fulfill your assignment of generating not just more information, but better information. 'Slimming down' doesn't begin to describe the impact.

Now take that room of a dozen or so CIOs at the All-Star game and extrapolate their concerns, challenges, nightmares, wishes, frustrations, and hopes to every CIO in every business in every industry in the world, and you've got what must surely become the #1 CIO priority for the next few years: reverse the intractable 80/20 ratio so that your customers can begin devoting only 20% instead of 80% of their budgets to maintenance and internal operations, while liberating millions or tens of millions (and even hundreds of millions in some cases) to be used for such heroic endeavors as hiring more salespeople or aggressively launching growth-oriented business-technology projects that engage and embrace customers and create new opportunities and let those CIOs help remake their companies in the image of what their customers want and need them to be instead of just perpetuating what they've always been.

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Those transformations can happen with the help of The Transformation Company because no one in the world has ever done it better, faster, or more productively than your CIO Randy Mott. But of course you know all about him because you were the one who was smart enough to hire him away from Dell because you knew what he'd done there and at Wal-Mart was exactly what HP needed -- desperately -- for you to begin turning it into a growth company again.

And I'm telling you, Mark, you've got a world full of CIOs who recognize with great urgency that they simply cannot remove the CEO's heel from their neck and begin pursuing growth opportunities until they attack the 80/20 monster and lower the cost of infrastructure.

Show 'em the way, Mark. Help CIOs around the world kill the 80/20 beast that is spoiling their dreams and aspirations. Make those CIOs heroes. Become The Transformation Company.

All the best,
Bob Evans

About the Author(s)

Bob Evans


Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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