Can HP Survive? Do They Have The Secret CIO “Juice”?

Mark Hurd Has Done Wonders At HP - Now Can He Find Enough Innovation?
Mark Hurd Has Done Wonders At HP – Now Can He Find Enough Innovation?

HP’s CIO Randy Mott has done some fantastic things in helping to turn the company around. However, now things are starting to get tricky and it’s not clear that the company is going to be able to continue to be successful. Everyone seems to think that what they need is a shot of that “innovation juice” and it’s not clear that Randy’s going to be able to deliver it…

What HP Did Right

Ok, so let’s admit it – HP had lost their way under Carly Fiorina’s guidance. They brought in Mark Hurd as CEO (who then brought in Randy Mott as CIO) to turn things around. Hat’s off to Mark – he’s done a great job.

Ashlee Vance over at the New York Times had a chance to talk with Hurd awhile back and he revealed that he sees HP in terms of four “quadrants“. These quadrants include operations, products, business & technology trends, and competitors.

Clearly Hurd has an analytical outlook on life – many people have remarked on just how good he is with balance sheets and dealing with numbers in general. It turns out that this is both good and bad.

The Problem That HP Has Now

HP has done a fantastic job of cutting staff, reducing costs, and negotiating great deals on parts. Having achieved just about all of the benefits that one can get from doing these types of actions, the question that comes up is “what next?”.

Shareholders like growth and in the immediate past, HP’s been growing by cutting. Now that that’s all done, how will it maintain its growth? This is where that pesky thing called innovation comes in…

Old Solutions Won’t Work!

HP used to be able to count on the famous HP labs to come up with new product ideas that would show them the way forward. However, in the current era of budget cutting and project justifications, HP has shrunk the number of projects that their labs are working on from 130 down to about 50. That may not be enough to have enough of those “eureka” moments where breakthroughs happen.

Next Steps For HP

The trick here is to find a way to recapture that “juice” that a technology company like HP needs to have in order to survive. This is exactly where CIO Randy Mott should step in.

As CIO of HP, Randy is in a unique position to help Hurd out. Since HP sells information technology products and services, their very own CIO is the person who can help them evaluate which ideas they need to run with.

Yes, yes – both Hurd and Mott like to run a tight ship with metrics ruling the day. I believe that that time has come and (partially) gone. Now is the time for Mott to throw open the doors to his IT department and start up some trial projects and initiatives. HP is so large that they could easily run multiple evaluations in parallel.

Final Thoughts

HP has made a remarkable comeback from the brink of despair. However, as they try to move forward, innovation and clever sparks of imagination are what’s going to be needed. HP’s CIO Randy Mott has the resources and the talent in his shop that would allow HP to use itself as a testing ground for encouraging its employees to make suggestions and have them tried out. Let’s see if they make the most of this opportunity…

Questions For You

Has your IT department lost its spark of creativity due to relentless efforts to drive costs out of your organization? Do you think that just having a highly efficient organization is all that is needed or does innovation also play a role? What do you think HP could do in order to re-awaken its innovation engine? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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Coming Up Next Time

What would you say is the biggest challenge that CIOs are facing today? All that today’s CIOs seem to get a chance to talk about is costs. What’s missing here is a way for CIOs to communicate in a company-wide manner just how much value the investments that the company is making in IT are returning – the revenue of IT if you will…

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