Hewlett Packard – Business Technology Podcast – Ann Livermore, EVP, Technology Solutions Group
Hear more on the concept of Business Technology and how HP helps customers focus on business outcomes.
Tom Field: Hi, and welcome to HP’s executive podcast series in which we’ll discuss trends in business technology. I’m your host, Tom Field, of CIO Magazine, and today we’re joined by Ann Livermore, Executive Vice President Technology Solutions Group with HP. Ann, thank you for joining me today.
Ann Livermore: I’m glad to do this.
TF: Ann, what are your customers telling you that they’re grappling with most today?
AL: Well, most CIOs are telling us that they just have way too much to do. They’ve got a huge list of requests from their business partners, and at the same time they have this overwhelming list of stuff to do, and they’re being asked to all of it with less in terms of the cost. They also talk a lot about just the overall complexity of their environment. And when we step back and ask them, “Okay, so what’s really at the core of this?”, what they’re saying now is that this is about two-thirds of their budgets today. That’s the budget of a CIO that is going just to keeping things running. Only about a third of the budget gets applied to new stuff, new development projects or innovation, and they’d love to be able to flip that ratio and really drive down the cost of operating IT. The other thing they say is they’ve got to figure out how to provide better information for their colleagues around the company so that they can have better access to information and make better decisions. And then the third thing they tend to say is they’ve got a lot of risk they have to manage, whether it’s compliance issues or security issues or just keeping the systems up and available. They’re focused on those sets of things.
TF: Ann, this is a term that we hear a lot now with HP, the term “business technology.” What does “business technology” mean? Is this a new term?
AL: Well, what we’re really trying to convey with “Business Technology” is when you want to really get technology for better business outcomes, you come to HP and work with HP. So it’s all about Technology for Better Business Outcomes. If you look back over 40 years or so of the history of IT, it started out with data processing way back in the 1960s, and it was a real innovation just to figure out how to put information in a form that could be consumed by a computer. The next thing that came along was Management Information Systems. People started talking about that in the ’80s, and that was all about basic stuff like word processing and automating office activities. Then you’ve seen over the last many years a lot of discussion about IT, or Information Technology, and really starting to use technology to deploy applications and automate business processes. And we think now what’s happening is that the world’s shifting to Business Technology. You’ve got 90 percent of everything in a corporation already automated by IT. IT and business are quite intertwined so everything’s about Technology for Better Business Outcomes and taking it to this next step to really make sure that you can use your technology inside a corporation to drive great business outcomes.
TF: So, Ann, if we accept as a given that the customers are grappling with how to use their technology to achieve these better business outcomes, how does HP help them succeed in that regard?
AL: We’ve focused on a couple of key areas. Now, one of the areas is, how do we help them with this problem of being able to drive down how much they’re spending just operating the current stuff they’ve got from an IT perspective? So, how do we create for them a self-managing data center that’s very highly automated? As we look at that, we’ve done a tremendous amount of work to help CIOs automate IT, and that’s using both our software and our services, automating the things that IT operators do, the things that software developers do, the things that CIOs and CTOs do just to manage what they’ve got. Now the other thing we’ve done is to focus very heavily around business information and how we can apply some breakthrough technology we have, along with some software offerings and services offerings, to help companies build an enterprise data warehouse in a different approach from what they’ve been able to do in the past. Or, how do we help them be able to manage all the information that they have in terms of having it, indexing it, archiving it, retrieving it, managing it? So we’ve really focused around those particular areas as great solution areas to help them.
TF: Now traditionally HP has been viewed as a product company. Do you see that HP is shifting its focus to become a solutions company?
AL: Well, we actually want to be both. We think that having great productsâ€”having great servers, storage, PCs, printers, also having great software, great servicesâ€”are all critical components to being able to offer some solutions. So, what you’re going to see is that we’re going to keep pushing like crazy to maintain our leadership around servers, to have great storage products, great software products, great services, and lead in them individually, and yet at the same time, be able to pull them together into some solutions that solve our customers’ most pressing needs. We think that these areas around business information, around automating the management of IT, around building a data center that is much more self-managingâ€”all those are critical solution areas, and we use some of our strong product components as part of the solutions, so it’s really both. You’re going to see us be both a great product company and also a strong solution company in some particular areas that represent huge customer pain points.
TF: So, as part of this focus, HP is now using the tag line, “Technology for Better Business Outcomes.” What do you think that’s going to mean to your customers?
AL: From our customers’ perspective, everything is about the technology they’re going to manage, in terms of what it does to help them from a business perspective. At the top level, it’s all about growth. Growth in terms of being able to understand their customers better and have better customer information management to enable their sales organization. Growth in having faster time to market in terms of what their technology enables them to do. And growth in terms of the way their sales organizations and marketing teams can be more productive. Technology can help enable all those things. Help them with their costs. Things that they can do to be able to drive down their supply chain cost. Things they can do just to be able to drive down IT costs inside their organization. Things that they can do to reduce the costs for HR or other functions in the companyâ€”so there are very close ties between the technology and the cost. And then, the third business outcome is all about helping our customers manage risk, helping them from a compliance perspective where they have to do information retrieval, helping them in terms of security to make sure that only certain people can have access to certain information. Or helping them in terms of availability so that they don’t have critical systems or business processes go down. So, those would all be ways that you can see Technology for Better Business Outcomes.
TF: Now, let’s make this real. Can you offer some examples of how HP’s technology has delivered positive business outcomes like you’ve just outlined?
AL: Well, we’ve got lots and lots of customer examples and also our own examples inside HP for what we’re doing inside our own CIO’s organization, but one customer example would be the University of Utah Healthcare. Their real focus was to try to be able to improve patient care and to drive their growth and, of course, do that at a lower cost. So, they had many business outcomes that they were after. We helped them with a consolidation project of their IT environment. They also chose as part of that to move to a bladed server environment, which is dramatically less costly to operate, and what they saw was a payback in three months. Just think about that in terms of the return on their investment: a payback in three months and a return on investment of 346 percent. That’s a pretty darn attractive equation. So, that would be just one example. We helped another company, Polaris, to really simplify the management, again of their data center, to drive down some of their costs. So, they’ve got around-the-clock monitoring that they can do from one central location, and they’ve been able to reduce the amount of time it takes them to provision a server from four to six hours down to minutes. Just a tremendous savings, and ensuring at the same time 24/7 availability around the globe of their most critical systems. So, there are just two customer examples, and on top of that are just great stories inside HP of what we’re doing for our own IT organization and our company as a result.
TF: Compelling case studies. I’m sure that people will want to know more about those.
AL: Yes, we hope so. And a lot of what we do is to share those referenced stories and then alsouse our own examples in HP. That’s very exciting to people because they know we’re a big complex company and we’re making our own IT organization a showcase of all the technology and solutions that HP has.
TF: Business technology and business outcomes. You’re making them real.
AL: Yes. Absolutely.
TF: Ann, I want to thank you for your time and for your insights today.
AL: Good. I was glad to participate. This is an area HP is really, really serious about and something that we think is going to be really compelling for our customers.
TF: Again, thank you. I want to thank you listeners for tuning in to this podcast. To learn more about how HP is delivering technology for better business outcomes, please visit www.optimizetheoutcome.com
Ann Livermore leads HP’s Technology Solutions Group, a $33 billion-plus business that encompasses storage and servers, software and services. The products and services from this organization serve HP’s business customers of all sizes in more than 170 countries.
Livermore has been involved with HP’s business customers for more than two decades, building customer relationships and information technology solutions to help customers manage and transform their IT environments. Livermore joined HP in 1982 and has held a variety of management positions in marketing, sales, research and development, and business management before being elected a corporate vice president in 1995.
Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Livermore holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. In 1997, Livermore was elected to the board of directors of United Parcel Service. Livermore also serves on the board of advisors at the Stanford Business School. She is based in Palo Alto, California.