Thursday, July 14, 2011

Randy Mott and HP

There a ton of comments out there about the Information Week article on and about Randy Mott.  I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times and to work with some of his key people a lot more.  There is not doubt in my mind that HP needed to do something to fix its IT cost structure but it isn't clear to me or anyone that I know of that what Randy did made HP better.  In all the comments I have seen no one has come to his aid.

What is clear to me is that what HP was selling about the work he was doing and the processes he was following were more vapor than anything.  For an example, Randy said and his people said he had a playbook; that similar to football coaches (their analogy) he knew what he wanted to do each day of the week.  Since I was helping to lay out a transformation at FedEx and we were great business partners, I asked to see his playbook just for ideas. 

I never got it.  First I was told HP was going to commercialize it for their consulting business.  But as I pressed over several weeks it because clear that it wasn't a matter of taking something and cleaning it up for customer consumption but that it didn't actually exist.

Sort of the same story with the push to move all business units to common systems.  The story told and retold was that a single system was selected and all business units had to adopt it.  The truth, according to several engineers, was that a lot of modifications were made to the selected system because that system lacked functionality or was a very different business process.  The engineers were fighting hard behind the scenes to help their business partners.

I hope the business didn't forget them now that Randy and Mark Hurd are gone.