HP CIO cutting costs, increasing output

Cutting costs and the number of data marts is Randall Mott's prirority

The only slapstick in Hewlett Packard CIO Randall 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, which are to cut costs and improve operations.

Mott wants to reduce the company’s IT spending from about 4% of its annual revenue — approximately US$87 billion (NZ$135 billion) for the fiscal year to October — to about 1.5% in two to three years’ time.

In raw numbers, what Mott wants to do is consolidate 85 datacentres down to six and turn 85 small data-marts into one enterprise data warehouse. HP will also move to standardised configurations and plans to cut the number of internal IT projects it typically has underway from about 1,200 to 500.

Mott was hired almost a year ago by HP to reshape its IT after having worked at Dell as that company’s CIO for five years. He also has more than two decades’ experience at Wal-Mart, part of it as CIO, which stood him in good stead for the HP CIO role.

“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,” Mott says. “I think you have to have one IT budget. Until July of this past year that was not the case at HP.”

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

Mott faces pressure that’s a little different from that confronting many other CIOs. HP is making its IT goals public and wants to, ultimately, use them as a showcase for customers.

One key area is to improve decision-making by centralising data, much of which is replicated in various different 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, Mott says.

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

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