Hewlett-Packard Co. users were quick to offer advice to new CEO Mark Hurd, who assumed the role on April 1. Hurd is a 25-year veteran of NCR, a supplier of retail point-of-sale hardware and software. He was named president and CEO of the Dayton, Ohio, company in 2003.
Asked what they would tell Hurd if they could, the HP faithful offered a litany of ideas. Tom Freeman, CIO of the city of Roseville, Calif., hopes Hurd will keep the focus on his customers and continue to invest in new technologies. That’s important because Roseville is now piloting HP’s digital pen technology, which takes handwritten reports such as those prepared by firefighters and converts them to electronic forms.
Freeman believes HP’s decision to acquire Compaq Computer Corp. changed the company’s culture to a more customer-centric one. “We saw a big change in HP that, to me, was positive.”
But he also believes that HP was “whittled down” during ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s six-year tenure and he hopes that doesn’t continue. “I don’t know if this is an organization that needs more operational constraints,” he said.
Ashok Bakhshi, IT director at Schindler Elevator Corp. in Morristown, N.J., wants HP to add value to its products and differentiate itself in the market by bundling services with its hardware. He said one thing HP can do to help him is sell PCs with SAP preconfigured, “and have them provide it in any country we want.”
Tyler Best, CIO at Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc., a Tulsa, Okla.-based firm that operates the National and Alamo car rental brands, urged Hurd to “engage” customers and “know what the businesses are expecting” from HP.
HP’s concentration over the past several years has all too often been focused inward. “It is imperative not to lose touch with what is important to the customer,” said Best. “Too many times executives shield themselves from this direct interaction.”
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