About three weeks into HP's fiscal year 2000, Carly Fiorina got into the spirit of the new millennium with a Comdex/Fall '99 keynote that should be viewed as nothing short of inspirational. Ok, I know Comdex keynotes are mega-marketing opportunities to sell your firm's technology. However, if nothing else, Fiorina displayed the characteristics of the CEO and president she has already demonstrated herself to be in her first 100 days on the job: dynamic, thoughtful and assertive.
Fiorina also left a good taste in Wall Street analyst's mouths the next day by closing out the last quarter of fiscal 1999 with a 10% growth in revenue and by beating their collective earnings estimates by a couple of cents. That's not too bad for the newbie CEO of America's fourteenth largest corporation amidst the frenzy of eye-popping IPOs. But the question remains, will that be enough? If you have any doubts, Fiorina has already established a challenge for HP's fiscal Y2K: 12% to 15% revenue and profit growth.
While paying homage to HP's legendary founders during her keynote, she noted that HP needs to move beyond personalities and even technologies. For Forina, the next millennium is about culture. "A radical culture of ideas" - for companies and for customers. Radical enough to transform a cold, cruel cyberculture into one that is - to coin a phrase - kinder and gentler. For example, The Fortino Group (Pittsburgh, Penna.) claims the average Internet user will misfile 120 pages of information and mislog 33 folders every month; and will spend over two years and nine months lost somewhere in cyberspace.
The warmer and friendlier vision of the 'Net will presumably favor HP and its partners as product and service suppliers. But all cynicism aside, HPÕs vision of "The next E" is taking shape - both inside and outside of HP. Fiorina has already, in her own words, created an "ambidextrous organization - one that is positioned to make smart trade-offs based on a clear view of the big picture." To that end, she reorganized HP to focus on "two big investment bets for growth:" e-services, for which Ann Livermore and Duane Zitzner are now primarily responsible; and digital imaging and digital media spearheaded by Antonio Perez and Carolyn Ticknor.
But executive reorgs are nothing new at HP. So, just what kind of radical HP is Carly Fiorina creating for the 21st century? Well, if her Comdex keynote was any indication, I think you'll find it in this quote:
"The really successful companies -- create synthesis that can marry the best of the old and the new, of the dot-com and the brick and mortar, of the young Turks and the old guard. It's about the art of balance, the art of synthesis."
Fiorina also knows that HP is well-respected for its spirit of collaboration and partnership. "HP, is a better partner, a better collaborator than any other company in the technology information industry today," she boasted. If youÕre an HP partner, you know there's truth in that statement. But if you're going to be a successful partner with HP in the future, you better be ready for some radical ideas. Here's one: Fiorina believes "this the end of the pure product era. It's not that products aren't important. The money, the profit, the revenue, no matter what kind of company you are, no matter what you sell, the money is going to be driven by services."
If you're an HP partner, you should be getting a clue right about now. HP's E-services vision is currently taking root: On December 8, HP released its e-speak source code (available at www.e-speak.hp.com). And if you remember HP executives talking about "pervasive computing" and the "computing utility" then you know that long before Fiorina was named CEO to replace the venerable Lew Platt, HP has been busy putting the e-pieces in place.
Fiorina is busy connecting the e-dots in dot.com: - Profit is in the intersection of e-services, appliances and of infrastructure. Revenue comes from wrapping services around products. And third, it's culture.
Creating Communities With E-service
E-services affords us the opportunity to create communities, for example communities of people who are in need of a service for people who can deliver that service. One example of an e-service at work makes me particularly proud, because it's an example of the Net being now used, not to create IPOs, not to create market cap. It's an example of the Net being used to solve fundamental problems, in this case, hunger.
You have probably heard of America's Second Harvest. They are the largest hunger relief organization in the country today and HP has recently built an e-services portal for them, which we call Resource Link. And what Resource Link does is connect food producers, who in many cases have food spoiling, and other donors to organizations that feed the hungry. So, at Resource Link, one e-service matches donors, or sources with excess food that would otherwise go to waste, with charities that provide it. Then, another e-service, National Transportation Exchange, identifies shipping companies and distribution links so that the food can be distributed at low or no cost.
The first day that Resource Link went live, more than 1 million pounds of food were donated and the program gains momentum every day. I'm honored, truly that HP had the opportunity to work on a project that applied technology to solve such a basic fundamental problem. Hunger is about as basic as you can get.
The e-services came out of HP and HP labs. E-Speak, the technology that created communities between donors and distributors and hungry people that I talked about, came out of of HP Labs. The bulletproof, mission critical, server technology behind Resource Link came from HP. It's a great example of thinking about the intersection [of services, appliances and infrastructure].And maybe if every technology application