HP knows about hard times

If I decide I need business advice, there is one seminar I think I'll miss. Interex, the HP users group organising HP World 2001, last week sent me a press release headed, "Top Hewlett-Packard Executives To Speak on How to Thrive in Hard Times at HP World".

The Harley’s been gathering dust since last week, although the emails from motorbike fans continue to flood in. If I sold my inbox to a direct-marketing firm, I could make a fortune.

Practising what you preach

If I decide I need business advice, there is one seminar I think I’ll miss. Interex, the HP users group organising HP World 2001, last week sent me a press release headed, “Top Hewlett-Packard Executives To Speak on How to Thrive in Hard Times at HP World”. Assuming they don’t mean that HP World is going through hard times, can these executives be trusted to give good advice? Are they the same ones who recently slashed the company’s revenue forecasts for its third quarter and laid off 6000 more employees?

If intimidating unwanted employees into resigning would ensure that your company thrives, you might be better off listening to Verizon. A spy tells me that in response to an employee questionnaire that identified lack of training as the biggest problem in the organisation, the network services folks released the following: “Network services group has identified training as a focus area for 2001, in line with its business plans and priorities, to have the right people in the right jobs with the right skills.”

Nothing wrong in that — except that the company cancelled all training the week before it issued the statement. My source: “We are interpreting the doublespeak to mean if you don’t already have the training, you’re in the wrong job.”

Who wants to buy, anyway?

If you’re upgrading a version 10.7 installation of Oracle’s ERP suite to 11i, you’re also probably in the wrong job. The purchasing module can’t interpret data in the older system and new purchases cannot be initiated, I’m told, despite Oracle’s claims to the contrary.

When my source asked for proof that it could be done, in the form of a customer reference, he says he was given only one name: a government agency in Oklahoma that had not implemented that module anyway. The reader has abandoned the conversion until early 2002.

Calling Motorola?

After reading last week’s column, Motorola Messaging Solutions got in touch to say that the non-existent “Contact Us” email address has now been fixed. Second, my thanks to the reader who pointed out that it would have been helpful to publish the Amazon customer service number that has mysteriously vanished from its website. The number is (800) 201 7575.

I hear that Buy.com has gone one better than Amazon: it has removed both the phone number and the email address from its web site.

Just in case anyone is getting worried, I’m not seriously considering selling my inbox. Honest.

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