Ramon F. Baez has been Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer at Hewlett-Packard Company since August 20, 2012.Mr. Baez served as the Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Services of Kimberly-Clark Corp
Ramon F. Baez has been Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer at Hewlett-Packard Company since August 20, 2012. Mr. Baez served as the Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Services of Kimberly-Clark Corp. since February 15, 2007. Mr. Baez was responsible for leading Kimberly-Clark's enterprise wide information systems initiatives to support its future growth and to maximize the return on its information technology investments. He started career at Northrop Grumman Corporation. Over the course of 25 years at the defense and aerospace leader, he assumed increasing responsibility for information services and data management. He served as Chief Information Officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. He was responsible for coordinating and directing worldwide information systems. He served as Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology of Honeywell International Automation and Control Solutions group, where he led Global IT Organization of this diversified industrial, service and solutions company. He serves as a Member of National Advisory Board at HMG Strategy, LLC. Mr. Baez holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from University of La Verne in California.
(00:04) Hello, welcome to episode number 35 of CXOTalk. I am Michael Krigsman and here always with my co-host, the introspective and exuberant , yet none of the less the outgoing and quiet, Mr. Vala Afshar. How are you?
(00:28) I’m doing well
(00:30) And we have a fantastic guest today, Ramon Baez, who is the CIO of Hewlett-Packard, hi Ramon.
(00:38) Hey hi Michael, hi Vala. How are you today?
(00:40) Doing well thank you.
(00:41) We’re doing great. Vala, I’m very excited about today’s show.
(00:45) We have an extraordinary CIO from an extraordinary company as our guest and I’m super excited Michael, super.
(00:51) A really large company to, Ramon, let’s start by asking you to tell us briefly about your background.
(01:00) Sure I’d be happy to. You know I started my career at a company called Northrop Grumman and actually it was Northrop and then it became Northrop Grumman in the 90’s and I spent 25 years there.
(01:11) I started as a trainee and moved into the CIO ranks, but a lot of people don’t know I worked on the B2 bomber program – the Stealth bomber for 15 years. Frankly that’s where I learned a lot of my program management discipline and the way you manage IT well and so forth.
(01:32) But I didn’t have a global role. It was a domestic role and I really wanted to do more. So I went to go and work for a company called Honeywell and I was at Honeywell for about three and a half years and that’s really where I got my global experience, where I spent a lot of time in Europe and spent a lot of time in Asia, and dealing with the global team.
(01:53) And then I moved over to Fisher Scientific, which then became Thermo Fisher Scientific, but then I wanted to do more. I wanted to continue being part of a larger company, so I worked for Kimberley-Clark for five and a half years and it was based in Dallas and it was a tremendous experience.
(02:13) Then I got a phone call that said would you like to come to HP and I said who wouldn’t, so here I am and I’ve been here now for little over a year.
(02:24) You recently in a Wall Street Journal post talked about how your goal was to introduce and accelerate velocity and agility, and flexibility. And also integrate the IT organization into the development processes and the entire HP ecosystem. Talk a little bit about your role as the CIO at HP and how you plan to increase velocity and flexibility, which is all CXOTalk shows are looking to achieve.
(02:55) Yeah Vala, great question. You know it’s easier said than done right. To me it’s more about a mindset. And what that mindset means is how do you get everyone focused on doing the right thing that has a direct impact to topline as well as effectiveness and efficiency. And then having that open two-way conversation from Meg, from John Henshaw, myself and the rest of the executive Council to really understand what obstacles that we can break down so that people can be all that they can be – as the Marines used to say. Be all they can be here at Hewlett-Packard.
(03:43)So it can truly have that impact on the company in a very rapid response. You know Vala, we are going through a turnaround and when you’re in a turnaround you must do it quickly. Time is of the essence, so you have to have that sense of urgency.
(04:04)And again, that is easier said than done. How do you instill that sense of urgency throughout the organisation, without getting everyone nervous all the time or breaking things too much, or causing too much disruption than good. So it’s a banshee have to go do.
(04:20) But the bottom line is, when you work for and have a good leadership team and you communicate, communicate, and communicate – and I’m not talking about just sending emails. I’m actually saying, doing things like this, or meeting people face-to-face all over the globe, but getting them excited about what we’re doing. And when people are feeling really good about what they do, they really do it quickly and they do it well.
(04:48) What you’re describing to some degree is every company going through the change has to do that, but you’re talking about a level of change but at a scale, that very few companies on the face of the planet have. I would think that creates some very nightmarish challenges.
(05:12)Well it’s like anything you have to really figure out what are the problems that you are trying to solve. What are the biggest problems you’re trying to solve, and I love the way Meg said it, ‘you know it’s not just anecdotal problems, but you have the data to back up the problems.’ So if you clearly understand that we’re having an issue with a particular partner or a particular customer, let’s learn from that problem and let’s fix it. But then go and determine, but we have that issue anywhere else.
(05:39)And then we projectize it in a way that we can make it happen more quickly. But what can happen Michael is you can become very unfocused on things that seem critical but aren’t and you do not move the needle.
(05:50) And so what our job is as leaders are really to stay very very focused on what does move that needle. You know, I’ve gone through this with other companies. Once you are very focused on what those things are, that vital few and then you start seeing it how it has an impact.
(06:16) And again, our focus is, how do we were better with our customers than how do our customers have to work better with us, so that we can continue to grow and then getting excited about Hewlett-Packard again, that is exactly what we have to do go do.
(06:30) And so from a technology perspective, our job is to determine, okay what are the technologies, these deployments that we have to do better to enable those fixes, those corrections as quick as possible.
(06:44)And the good news is that we get feedback immediately.
(06:48) so can you give us a sense of scale, the size of employees and partners and customers that you’re trying to serve. And how does IT bring and harmonize the different needs of the various stakeholders, both from looking from the outside in. And then also stakeholders and customers that you’re trying to serve within the HP ecosystem.
(07:13) Yeah, so we have hundreds and thousands of customers and partners around the world right, so you can see how that can be overbearing. But it’s like anything else, you’ve got the 80/20 role.
(07:25)So if you really understand the 20% of those customers that impact be 80% of our overall revenue, and be very very focused on them, you’ll have a positive effect on the rest of them.
(07:38) If you think about the size and scale of our company, you know last year our revenue was over $120 billion in revenue, and we reported a number of 300,000 employees, that work at Hewlett-Packard around the globe. And not to mention the contractors that work for us. So our scale is rather large.
(08:03) And so with the IT organization has to do, and frankly this problem is not just our problem, we only can get more demand than really what we can provide. So our job – how do you prioritize the true projects that create that value that we have to enable whatever processes, whatever solutions and so on.
(08:27)So what we had to is that we did restructure our leadership team from an IT perspective the middle of last year. Where we have really strong Chief Information Officers that are in bedded into the teams of the businesses.
(08:46) And we really needed to have this better rated model, so what I mean by that is the BUCIO’s are in bedded with the leadership team, but we have a centralized delivery model that is a very large scale. Whether it’s application development, you know the whole application and development of maintenance, how we do infrastructure and support and so on.
(09:10) So the good news is that is very centralized and we proved our processes over the last year or so, so we can deliver quicker because we are always constantly looking at how can we become faster and deploying capabilities. But the way we organize with ourselves with the leadership team, we know it’s most important for those businesses, all those functions that we serve. And we make sure we stay very focused on that, and those are the measures that we keep track of, of on times delivery and did we really deliver a quality product. And we get feedback immediately.
(09:48) And our projects aren’t these big three-year monolithic things. We’re deploying capability on a quarterly basis across the whole company. And the feedback from our business leaders and functional leaders, and the people throughout the organization, is extremely positive.
(10:07) So presumably then, the role of the CIOs embedded across the company and different parts of the business, is to enable closer ties between these business units or functions – I’m assuming such as marketing for example with IT, and to ensure that IT is being most responsive to each of those units narrows specific needs.
(10:37) Correct, so whether it’s marketing, finance, HR, supply chain, the way we’re organized here, our largest business are printing to personal services business, we have our enterprise group, our enterprise services, and our software businesses.
(10:53)So we actually have the BUCIO’s – we are all about one team, right. So we are one leadership team, but we have these folks embedded with their leadership team so we have line of sight to what their strategies are and their pain points, so we can help them resolve those problems rapidly. And that’s how you get quick, if everything goes to the centre, and there’s one person saying, okay this is what we’re going to go do, you know, we’re only going to do these things. I’ll tell you what, we will fail.
(11:27) That’s not our approach, our approaches is to divide up the workload in a way that we can move very very quickly and have a phenomenal impact – not only on me company, but on the experience that our customers are having with us.
(11:47) Is there a commonality in terms of this hub and spoke structure whereby for example you have common balance performance scorecards, where your measuring success in a uniform manner across different BU’s or do they all have agile development processes in terms of how they deliver products and services. Where is that govern define, at the centre or by the BU’s?
(12:12) Yeah, Vala what we do, we have a leader over our global programme management office. And that leader is responsible not only for what we do for the software development life-cycle, whether it’s agile or waterfall, or some of my leaders like to call it agile-fall, right and so they have that standard process.
(12:34) Then we also have the way we do project management, the way that we do continuous improvement, our portfolio management. So that comes in and we prioritize the quarterly based on value, and based on what our affordability numbers are and so on.
(12:50) So, yet we do have that centralized, but then when it gets to the BUCIO, there are sometimes different metrics, like for example, we get measured in services, is very different than we get measured in our enterprise group.
(13:07) Right, so you have to allow for that flexibility. And if we don’t allow that flexibility, then all four businesses can’t perform at the level and the speed that they need to perform.
(13:38) There must be an incredible level of collaboration within HP to be able to deliver to agile, flexible, high velocity environment, what type of tools do you use above and beyond email and standard face-to-face meetings to have that level of synergy and collaboration to drive your objectives.
(14:01)Well before you talk about tools you’ve got to talk about people. It’s about leadership right. The tools are great, but if you don’t have leaders that work well together, and so when we pulled this team together, our team is relatively new.
(14:17)Everyone on my team has been in their role for 18 months or less. All of them, very strong leaders. And what I needed to do as the leader of this team, do I want a bunch of track stars? Or, do I want the San Francisco 49ers
(14:38) Or the new England Patriots.
(14:41) There you go. I lived in the north-east for a little while.
(14:49)So the point is I needed a team that would work really strong leading their team, but I also needed a team that would work together. Right, so I will tell you, being in this role, I have never seen a team go through performing, storming, norming, and then performing phases like I have.
(15:14)This was amazing, and every time we get together, they surprise me even more how powerful that is. So it starts off with leadership. The leadership team is working phenomenally together.
(15:25) Now, in regards to processes and tools, we use our PPM tool that is a HP product to do portfolio management and planning across all of our organisation. And I’ll tell you, that has been a godsend for us. That really lays out, you know it takes a very complex situation and simplifies on what we’re going to do. And then we take that tool and carve it out, so we can be very very specific of what we’re doing in investment areas within the businesses.
(15:58) Right, I mean, these businesses in their own right can be very very large companies. Right, so we have to be able to slice and dice this information in a way that digestible for the leadership teams within the businesses to understand, okay this is the capability, we’re going to be delivering at this point in time. Because it’s not about just IT doing the work, we’ve got to be able to collaborate with the functions and businesses so we all have to move at the same speed.
(16:28) What about the relationship between marketing and IT? In many organizations it is a relationship that is fraught with frustration and difficulty on both sides, and what is HP’s scales due to that relationship, and how do you manage it?
(16:48) Yeah, so you know we just went through a bit of a reorganization just in the last few months of our marketing organization, and I love what’s taken place because we becoming more and more efficient about how we deliver market services overall.
(17:06)And what we’ve done on the IT side, we’ve put a leader over IT interfacing with our marketing organization that has a marketing background. So not only does he have an information technology background but he also has worked in marketing in other companies. So he’s been in the role now for about 13/14 month.
(17:29)So now you have an individual that understands the processes, understand what’s best in class in products and services that we can use in marketing, and our marketing team absolutely loves this person.
(17:43) And once you have that kind of relationship it all starts coming together nicely – and of course you have got to execute right. And so what happens in the world of IT sometimes old messages are still hard done-wise.
(17:56) What I mean by that is maybe in the past IT didn’t deliver as fast, and now what they’re seeing is a different approach where we’re very very customer focused, and we’re very very focused on delivery and executing, either on schedule or ahead of schedule. And we love to sometimes over deliver. In other words, hey by the way, we said we were going to give you this, but we noticed we can make all these other things happen in this particular timeframe.
(18:29)So that’s the relationship we have with marketing right now and it’s actually not a frustrating relationship at all. It’s actually very very good.
(18:37) I have read that in your previous company, you and the CMO had work together to build a digital center of excellence. Can you talk a little bit about that and where you see perhaps some of that incorporated in HP’s future?
(18:55) Yeah, so the whole idea was that at my prior company is what they were very focused on was, how do we get the digital assets that are incredibly important in the marketing side, and how do we get the technology teams to work better together.
(19:13)And so working with my colleagues there, we said why don’t we create this thing called the digital center of excellence. And really what it did was brought the teams together, instead of worrying about turf, worrying about who is responsible for what and why don’t we just work together to make these things happen and make them happen quicker. So the bottom line was for us in that particular role was we were trying to do things that the company has ever done before is a speed that was never done.
(19:42) And also because social media was becoming a big deal, we needed to be able to work close from an infrastructure or from an IT solutions provider perspective, along with the really smart guys and creative folks in marketing and we needed to partner.
(20:02)So we didn’t create a DCO here because we really didn’t need to. Because I believe HP has been very very progressive in this area. What we had to make sure that we had was the right leadership working well together. So it’s more about right now process and improvement, and removing some of the duplication so we become much more effective and getting the best bang for our marketing dollar.
(20:29) And the beauty of it is we are working together with our six Sigma teams – our lean six Sigma teams, as well as the marketing teams and then of course the IT enablement part of it. And that is actually a very winning combination.
(20:45) I have a question from Frank Scavo on Twitter, and Frank says that in 2008 the Wall Street Journal reported that HP was on track to reduce IT spending to less than 2% of revenue, is that still the case?
(21:03) Yeah, absolutely I can’t give you exactly the numbers because we’re in our quiet period now so I’m not privileged to do that, but we have managed our IT cost extremely well.
(21:15) I think the difference for us if you think about 2008 to where we are today, we’re not all are managing the cost well, we’re also doing a tremendous job providing the capabilities that the business needs. And what I mean by that is there was a mandate that we had in the organisation in the last 6/7 years to really drive down IT cost, and that was a huge metric for everybody.
(21:39) But to me the true metrics should be, are we making the company better company? And we need to have performance metrics that actually articulate that. And so when I think of true innovation, true innovation or innovation is not just something that comes out of IT. That’s just activity.
(21:59)To me, true innovation is when we are able to create value for the company. In other words, one we’re doing sales process transformation, are we able to get the right tools to our sales folks to better serve our customers, and those sales folks thrilled about the tools we gave them? Not that it was the lowest cost tool, but it was the best tool to do the job so our customers had a better experience with us.
(22:34) And so the metrics have changed in a sense we’re still managing cost very very well. But the metrics are changing, are we making our business is better, whether it’s a supply chain or whether it’s HR, whether it’s finance and so on. And that’s what I love about what Meg wanted me to come to do here at HP, was you know, when she told me on the onset, Ramon, we have an increased innovation budget for you because it’s important that we get this done. And that’s what we did starting a year and a half ago and we’re still driving that forward.
(23:09) Speaking of tools and I love the fact that you are a social CIO, so you’re active on Facebook, you’re active on Twitter, and you’re the CIO of one of the largest companies on Earth. So what advice do you give to other executives, especially CIOs, who talk about not having enough time to engage and they don’t believe in social media, and anybody can do this and do it well and you’ve demonstrated that. We’d love to hear your advice on why you started, and why you’re active and why you believe it’s important.
(23:45) Well let me break them up, you know I’m definitely on Facebook and LinkedIn and then Twitter. So LinkedIn was probably the very first social network that I connected with, and I didn’t really even understand it. Somebody sent me an invite, I connected, and all of a sudden I’m on LinkedIn. That happened 10 years ago, so it was kind of interesting.
(24:09)The value of being on LinkedIn are people can reach out to me across industries and they can communicate if things are going well or things are not going well. Or, if I can help a colleague with an opportunity out there I try to do that, come you know if I’m able to. But again time is of a constraint, but that’s how I use LinkedIn and I love to be connected with my business colleagues and that’s how I use LinkedIn.
(24:35) Facebook, was more about my wife and I wanting to be connected with our kids. One day she said, Ramon, I want to be on this thing called MySpace. I said, MySpace, I go honey, MySpace or there’s Facebook and I’m not getting on MySpace.
(24:56)So the bottom line was we got on Facebook and the reason we did it was because we have three adult children living in Southern California, we were living in Dallas and we wanted to be more connected with them.
(25:08)Now we have grandchildren and what better way to see you know all the pictures and what’s going on in their lives. Will then of course what happens is people reach out to you and you start getting connected and wow, Facebook can be a full-time job if you let it. I like to use it to keep up with the kids and you know, connect with friends as well.
(25:28) Twitter is quite interesting. When I tell other IT leaders and what I love about Twitter is I don’t have to go and search for information. The information comes to me. And if you identify with the people that you want to follow, typically you are going to get the things that are relevant to you. And frankly that’s what I really like about it.
(25:49)And what I do love about Twitter is I can retweet or tweet an article that I read that I think other CIOs should be interested in, or if it is some of the things that we argue and issue with Hewlett-Packard and so on. So, you know I can’t spend a lot of time out there but when I do, it’s you know I tried to be very resourceful with it.
(26:09)And it’s a great way for people – especially LinkedIn is great way for people to be connected with me from a business standpoint.
(26:16) Let’s talk about cloud, this thing called cloud. Thoughts on cloud?
(26:28)So are we talking about the clouds that we see flying across the country, or what are we talking about here?
(26:33) Well I’ve heard this rumor that you’ve been a big consumer of cloud software such as Workday and Salesforce so may be let’s start there and then we can broaden up to the sky.
(26:46) Alright Michael. Great question! You know, I really started embracing software as a service in 2009. The reason I did that was I was having difficulties trying to create value in deploying true innovation to our businesses with our premier model, and it was just really a struggle for us.
(27:13) And so, at that point in time I just hope my leadership team, I wanted us to start looking at some of the cloud providers and some of the software services out there to do these types of function. And one of them was human capital management, one was what we do for the salesforce, and then it started being other kind of things that we did in travel and expense and so forth.
(27:36)So these were things that I wanted to look at to see whether or not they were good for us to move forward on, and because it didn’t really play into our core at that time. Now let’s fast forward to here at Hewlett-Packard.
(27:51)So we did those things at my previous job and we’re also doing these things here. We have one of the largest deployment salesforce.com as well as the speed that we got it done has just been mind-boggling for folks. As a matter of fact, we’ve done it so well working with our partners is that a lot of the CIOs when they want to meet with me, they want to talk about what we’ve done with our sales process transformation. What have we done with our quote to cash process.
(28:19) And you know, next year will be deploying doing a big band deployment of workday for all of Hewlett-Packard, and that will be the largest deployment of workday once we go live.
(28:32) And frankly the reason we do this and the reason I like it so much is the speed to market, so this is this whole thing – this new style of IT which IT is going through. It’s speed to market, so I can get things to my customers as fast as possible, number one.
(28:50) Number two, I love the user centered design. I love the user experience, where people can have modern technology either on their PCs, this tablet, their smart phones – I love that we can provide that kind of service. And then we are getting a really good about taking the cloud tool – the software to service, and doing all the back end integration to make sure what we kept on prem keeps everything safe.
(29: 20) And we have a tremendous team in our information management organisation that works really well with our BUCIO team, to make sure we put this architecture and this process in place. And we share this with our customers when they come to visit us either through a CIO Roundtable or through an executive business center visit.
(29: 41) I just want to go back to a statement you made a moment ago, that on-prem software was not giving you the ability to innovate in the way that you wanted. That’s quite an extraordinary statement actually.
(29:54) Well the issue you have, especially when you do large deployments of some of these monolithic systems, when you deploy them, and yes there are upgrades coming but they are so hard sometimes to upgrade that you take two to three or sometimes five years to upgrade them.
(30:15)So that means your organization, as an IT leader, the enterprise that you’re supporting has antiquated software to deal with modern processes. Our job as IT leaders is to try to keep us as competitive as possible in the marketplace. And it’s really hard to be competitive when you’re dealing with antiquated processes and antiquated systems.
(30:39) And that’s the beauty of software to service, where you get upgrades a couple of times a year and they aren’t that difficult to upgrade, and that’s why I really like that and that’s what drew me to software to service back in 2009.
(30:55) So you not we’ve heard the acronym BYDO but certainly with multitenant Sass, cloud solution is BYOA, application BYOC and cloud. Talk about shadow IT. Talk about how certainly an organisation that is as large as HP, there must be instances where you know different lines of business have embraced it with that one technology and are using solutions perhaps outside the peripheral view of the centralized IT organisation. What are your thoughts about shadow IT? Do you in brace it, how do you involve in an environment where again, cloud, mobile, social has embraced both individuals in different lines of business to perhaps invest in technology without collaborating with IT.
(31:44) Well Vala I’ll tell you, I’m about to share some information with you for a lot of people don’t know.
(31:52) We love that on CXOTalk
(31:55) I used to be shadow IT and the reason I share that with you is that innovation creativity comes from all over the organization. Right, it comes from all over the organization. And as a CIO of a very large IT function, there’s no way on earth I believe we’re the only ones that creates innovation – they can’t be. Whether I’m in a technology company or an aerospace and Defense Company or a CPG company.
(32:30) So, I’m in a technology company, we have brilliant engineers everywhere throughout Hewlett-Packard. We have to do innovate in HP labs. We collaborate with our colleagues in HP labs out of an IT perspective to come up with solutions that we do. We co-innovate with our software business.
(32:51)So our IT organisation co-innovates with our software business to make even better products for our customers and then internally, within our PPS business, we have our teams within PPS with our IT folks work hand-in-hand to come up with solutions that are best for small and medium-size businesses.
(33:13)So, that’s not shadow IT and I’m not trying to build products for the business and they’re not trying to do it. We need to collaborate and come up with the best solutions and when we do that and I have this camera that said, thou shall not have any shadow IT across Hewlett-Packard – guess what, they won’t work with us. They won’t talk to us, that’s wrong.
(33:37)We should embrace it right. Now, granted if something is being created outside of the IT organisation that wants to be rolled out throughout the enterprise, then we have got to bring that into the IT function. Because our professional IT organisation really needs to make sure it’s secure, it’s scalable and so on.
(34:00) But if they are doing some proof of concept or prototype with some great ideas, that’s a beautiful thing. And our teams love meeting people like that outside of IT that we can collaborate with. And that’s actually been very very positive in the last 12 months.
(34:16) Do you think that this type of mindset is natural when you’re in a technology company, you know software application development, hardware, servers and because again is there is a list of minorities that a list of CIOs believe in shadow IT?
(34:33) Well the funny thing is the CIOs that appear on the show pretty much uniformly adopt the same embracing and highly collaborative and highly innovative attitude. But when you read this press, you read that shadow IT is this bad horrible thing, and so I wonder if there is a difference between the CIOs that are appearing here, who really are so innovative and many others.
(35:03) Well Michael, I’ve worked at multiple companies and I’ve had this attitude always and may be because I used to be one. This little shadow guys, I used where this little cape right.
(35:18) So, I just think if you’re going to be a strategic thinker as an IT leader there’s no way on earth that innovation only comes out of the IT function. Now again, if we are going to try to deploy something that was created out of one of the functions of the business to go across enterprise, we have to bring that into IT.
(35:44) What I’ve learned through the years, when you create a IT function that performs very well and is collaborative with other functions and business leaders and so on, I find that they don’t want to do IT. They want that work to be where it belongs, and that’s been the experience what I’ve dealt with through the years.
(36:06) So Frank Scavo again – Frank is a great analyst and he always watches our show which we are very grateful. He comments that once the CIO embraces shadow IT – can’t really call it shadow any more can you? It’s no longer hidden in the data.
(36:21) Well I mean you see shadow IT is kind of cliché actually. I think about what people do here at Hewlett-Packard every day, everyone comes to work to want to invent, to want to innovate, and we are a technology company.
(36:40)So again, if we have functions all groups that are trying to do something that is duplicated of what we do in IT that wouldn’t be good. For example, if we have a group trying to create a different email system, that would be a shadow group that you would have got to squash.
(37:02)But if you have a group that is coming up with different ways to deal with social media within the business, and trying different things and a very innovative way of looking at things, wow!.
(37:15) I will tell you, we have this reverse mentoring program here for our folks who are early in career, and I learned so much from them and they learned as a group of reverse mentors and they learnt so much from each other that they are just a wealth of knowledge for us. And it really makes us think differently as we go forward.
(37:38)You know, I’ve been in industry over 30 years so you know my mindset is all my different experiences. What I love is that they have a way of looking at things that maybe the older guys think of shadow IT that they don’t. They actually embrace that innovation. So when I hear about some of these things of folks that are early in their career are doing, it gets me really excited and it gets my juices flowing because it’s solving problems for is, and not just in one area. We can take that now and solve that problem across the enterprise. That’s what I get excited about.
(38:15) We certainly can feel your energy, and passion and innovative spirit so I’m going to ask, do you work with start-ups, and if you do work with start-ups you know, how do you assess which start-ups you’re going to partner with to drive the HP engine into the future. What type of criteria do you look for?
(38:34) Well, I mean first of all as the CIO of Hewlett-Packard, I get to meet with CIOs all the of industries first of all, so that’s the cool thing. They either seek out me or I may seek out them because they may have already solve the problem that we may be struggling with. And I love that I’m able to do that.
(38:57) And frankly, that’s what social media really helps you with, because you can reach out to them if you don’t have their email address, and I find that everyone who is in the CIO community want to connect. So we do that at that level.
(39:10) Then, of course with the vendor’s that we work with, we have our vendor’s of very large systems, and then we have some that are very small start-ups if you well from a software as a service that we use. But every so often, there will be a start-up that has a solution that gets presented to us and we go, wow we really like this. A matter of fact, come on in a let’s talk about this, how do we make this work. And Frank asked the first question we have to ask, with its scale? Will your solution scale up to our size, number one.
(39:45) Number two, I always bring in my CIESO in will be be able to put the appropriate type of security in without killing the innovation. So we do have those kinds of discussions.
(40:03) There aren’t too many start-ups that would have products that could scale to your size with confidence I would think.
(40:11) Well you know that’s just the beauty of software to service. You know, when you do use software to service versus and on-prem model, they are the way they are developing it is to deal with our title scale. Now, I’m not saying that all of them do, and just seen the ones that we have looked at and if you notice I’m not talking about them, but the ones that we have looked at I will tell you, they are very innovative and way of doing things and actually we are pretty excited about working with them.
(40:44)So what is the hardest part of managing a large scale you know, IT project. What checkpoints or milestones do you look forward to ensure that you’re progressing to your commitments and to your schedule?
(41:00)Well you know, we don’t have a bunch of monolithic, three-year large programs going forth. That’s the beauty of this whole new style of IT and going forward. We are truly doing things where we are moving faster I think that this company ever has in deploying modern technology, modern applications. The company has done a phenomenal job in the last five years of rationalizing apps, and consolidating our data center.So we have a great foundation to do now that modernization
(41: 33) So the first thing that we look at where we have a very large programme that we are going to move forward on is you know what are those critical success factors right, so that hasn’t changed. What are the key performance indicators and write off, what are the problems that we’re trying to solve.
(41:51) And then, we put the best and brightest as far as program managers, project managers, working hand in hand with the same types of people on the functional side or on the business side.
(42:04)And then once we’ve laid out a really truly plan in place, you’re never going to know the unkunk. Right, you never going to know the unknown unknown and so you do the best you can to risk mitigation. And we have our operational reviews, we have our various governance. We have our gate process that we go through and I’ll tell you, that’s the part that’s actually works really well. Because we are never going to deploy something that the business is not ready for.
(42:35)And it’s important to remember that. If an IT leader is only focused on the schedule, that is a big big mistake. You have to look at schedules; you have to look at me quality. Are we really delivering what we said what we were going to deliver. Does the recipient of that solution or capability agreed, and are they ready.
(43:00)We call it management of change or change management right. Are they truly ready to adapt and adopt of what we’re going to deliver. And that kind of work, doesn’t happen overnight. That’s an iterative process. And what I found here in the last 12 to 15 month is once you gain the trust and you have the credibility that people go, ‘Wow! This is working really well.’ They really start embracing it and everyone starts lining up saying we want more.
(43:32)And again, we demand is always greater than what we are able to provide, but that’s a good problem to have.
(43:37) You know again, I’m struck by a comment that you made that a company of this size of HP, you can basically get rid of these large monolithic projects that take year after year after year. Yesterday, there were hearings held in Massachusetts on some IT failures by the state Senate. I was invited to testify on offer of observations, and it just makes me wonder, if HP can do it at your scale, whether some of these large state systems can follow that same model.
(44:12)Well you know that’s where add-on methodology gets you right. And you know our problem is you know where may be different than different in the states is that our teams aren’t co-located. So agile works really really well when that we’re in the same building sitting together. So we have to come up with process and video chat and you know, collaborative technologies to make sure we’re all in sync, because we try to work around the clock. We have people all over the world helping deploy what we need to, and that’s why we’re able to do what we do in rapid response.
(44:47)So we – that’s why we like to call it sometimes called ‘Agiple’ instead of just agile and waterfall. But that collaboration works extremely well for us to using again the agile methodology. You can’t do it for everything, but when we can it is pretty powerful.
(45:06) Michael and I next week are going to be at the salesforce.com dream force event in San Francisco, are you planning to attend?
(45:14) I will be there
(45:17) Oh you will be there, that’s no surprise of the largest requirement of a salesforce solution, that’s great. What are you looking forward to most other than meeting at Marc Benioff?
(45:29) Marc and I have met. Marc’s a CIO and a terrific friend and colleague and so forth. And I’ve been working with salesforce.com since 2003, when they were very very early in their deployment. So I love how they continue to innovate and so forth and work with us extremely well.
(45:50)So I look forward to is that I’m part of the CIO Advisory Council, and I love to be part of that process. That for me is extremely satisfying for me, where I can come in and represent to Hewlett-Packard and saying, these are the kinds of things that we would like to see different in the product going forward.
(46:09)And what I love about Marc and his leadership team is they’ve always embraced that since I’ve been working with them. And you know, they are the epitome of an organization that can move extremely fast, at taking that input and actually put it into their product by the next time we meet. So to me that is the part I best, is that CIO Advisory Council.
(46:35) Well I think our time is just about to a close. You know there is a lot of things that we wanted to talk about but we didn’t have a chance. We wanted totalk about mobile and analytics, but Ramon, maybe you will come back another time
(46:52)Absolutely I would love to. This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it very much, thank you both. See you in San Francisco.
(47:02) And you have been watching episode number 35 of CXOTalk. I am Michael Krigsman with my friendly, occasionally standoffish but primarily bubbly and ebullient, Vala Afshar
(47:21) and with that I would like to thank you for watching and in particular thank Ramon Baez, who is the CIO of Hewlett-Packard, one of the largest companies in the world. Ramon, thank you very very much. Everybody have a good weekend.
Companies mention in the show:
Northrop Grumman www.northropgrumman.com
Fisher Scientific www.fishersci.com
Thermo Fisher Scientific www.thermofisher.com
Published Date: Nov 15, 2013
Author: Michael Krigsman
Episode ID: 35