CRN Interview: Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard's CEO shares her goals for the freshly reinvented and reinvigorated company.

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By  Colin Browne Published  November 27, 2000

Hewlett-Packard's CEO shares her goals for the freshly reinvented and reinvigorated company.

How does HP determine what portions of the Superdome Unix server line it’s going to sell direct and market direct with its consultants vs. what it does with other large integrators and some of the smaller players?

I’m not going to speculate on how it’s going to be if we acquire PricewaterhouseCoopers [PWC]. But what I will tell you is that with our current business, we have more and more of our own consulting capability.

We now have about 6,000 consultants. We have more and more of our own consulting capability working up front at the very beginning stages of a customer engagement for all of the solutions orientation that you just described because of the transformational capabilities [of the technology]. . . .

We have very strong relationships with, really, all of the consulting partners. If you look at all of those companies, they have bounty relationships with technology providers today.

Why do they do that? Because they have trouble keeping up with the technology; customers don’t want to be their guinea pig; and customers say, ‘Well, look, this business process redesign is great, but how the hell am I going to get it done?’

So the market is forcing closer and closer linkage between the up-front planning and the technology implementation.

What is the aim of your consulting group? Is it to be a profit-generating organisation?

Absolutely, yes. We believe that if you can’t make money in a business and you can’t grow it at least at an industry rate, you shouldn’t be in the business.

Do you have a formal programme for working with the e-business integrators of the world? What is your strategy there? How close are the linkages?

I would say the linkages between those kinds of companies and HP are very much stronger than they were a year ago. They’ve been involved in our ‘garage’ [incubator] programmes.

We’ve worked more and more closely with them as we’ve moved more aggressively into the low end and dot-com space.

Before you came in, it wasn’t really clear to who HP’s competitors were. What I’m seeing right now is that HP has completely focused on Sun and IBM.

Yes, I believe we have a sharper competitive focus, but I think it would be a mistake to say that all of HP is focused on Sun. We have a huge printing and imaging business. It’s a really great business.

And you talk about a business that can help us move into new industries and transform industries: The publishing industry is ripe for transformation and disintermediation. Digital imaging . . . all of those things, we have a huge franchise there.

So we’re really focused on Lexmark and Xerox in that space. We’re really focused on Dell and Compaq in the PC space. But, yes, in the Unix space, we’re very focused on Sun and IBM, and the reason we are goes back to my belief that if you’re going to be in business, you’ve got to play to win.

If we’re going to be in the Unix business, we’ve got to play to win, and that means we’ve got to know what it’s going to take to beat Sun and IBM.

Where do service providers stand on your priority customer list?

Right at the top. If you think about what we believe in terms of e-services, information appliances and always-on Internet infrastructure moving to the ‘computer utility future’—the ISPs, the ASPs and the XSPs—they are both a vital partner and customer in that new landscape and in that strategy.

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