Premier 100: Ex-Dell CIO seeks to reshape HP's IT

Randy Mott touts a strong CIO approach

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- The only slapstick in Hewlett Packard Co. CIO Randall “Randy” Mott’s approach to IT is the Three Stooges art on his tie. Although Mott may smile from time to time as he describes the challenges involved in consolidating his company’s internal IT operations, there’s nothing haphazard about his goals: to cut costs and improve operations.

Hewlett Packard Co. CIO Randall “Randy” Mott
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Hewlett Packard Co. CIO Randall “Randy” Mott

Image Credit: Asa Mathat

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Mott wants to reduce the company’s IT spending from about 4% of its annual revenue (approximately $87 billion for the fiscal year that ended in October) to about 1.5% by the end of the 2008 or 2009 fiscal year. He talked about his plans before several hundred attendees at the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders conference today.

In raw numbers, what Mott wants to do is consolidate 85 data centers down to six, as well as take 85 data marts and build one enterprise data warehouse. HP will also move to standardized configurations in its enterprise and plans to cut the number of internal IT projects it typically has under way from about 1,200 to 500.

Mott was hired just about year ago by HP to reshape its IT after having worked at Dell Inc. as that company's CIO since 2000. He also had more than two decades at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where he was served CIO for part of that tenure. It seemed clear that Mott’s experience at those companies has made him a believer in strong leadership.

“When you have a single company, and a single strategy, I think that you need to drive to one CIO with accountability, with responsibility and a strategy of IT,” said Mott. “I think you have to have one IT budget. Until July of this past year, that was not the case at HP ."

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Mott said he believes in moving swiftly and is being helped by a 40% increase in capital spending at HP, bringing the budget to $2.8 billion in its current fiscal year. Although HP doesn’t give exact breakouts on how it spends its capital dollars, a large part is going to IT.

Mott faces pressure that’s a little different from the pressure confronting many other CIOs. HP is making its IT goals public and wants to ultimately use them as a showcase to convince customers that it can achieve similar consolidation and cost savings strategies.

One key area is to improve decision making by centralizing the data, much of which is replicated in various data marts. HP wants a “single version of the truth” -- consistent information to “take people out of the role of gathering information” and instead focus on decision making, said Mott.

“Every question should lead to a decision,” he said.

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