This blog is an overview of the findings of my new report (hot link to offering page) in which I examine the talent requirements and recruitment and development efforts that will underlie HP’s effort to develop the type of more industry-focused value propositions and service-led go-to-market approaches discussed in my previous blog and report, both titled “HP Goes Vertical”.
My “HP Goes Vertical” blog, describes how Hewlett-Packard is likely to use EDS as a vehicle for gradually transforming the company’s entire enterprise IT operations:
- From a horizontally-focused, engineering-centric IT products and solutions company;
- To a consultative, industry-focused solutions company that helps customers envision and apply IT as a solution to pressing business needs.
This transformation will entail an equally momentous change in the company’s need for talent. It will have to retain tens of thousands of current employees, hire thousands of new people and radically change how it trains, goals and compensates these people. These changes are likely to forever alter a corporate culture that has been 44 years in the making.
Transformation to a Services-led Workforce
Selling horizontally-focused IT product and solutions requires a deep knowledge of product capabilities and competitive differentiators as well as how modernized, efficient IT infrastructures can improve performance and reduce costs. Designing, implementing and managing these solutions require not only deep technical skills and experience, but also change management and some level of cultural skills.
Although the sale, design, implementation and management of industry-specific business solutions certainly require similar capabilities, they require much more. While technical skills remain at the center of an IT solutions engagement, these skills tend to take a back seat to deep industry and business process skills in a business solutions engagement.
Rather than leading with product capabilities and TCO, business solutions account executives typically enter accounts with well-defined points-of-view as to how the customer’s specific industry is changing and the requirements for success relative to new market, competitive and extrinsic conditions. Just as importantly, they must be able to engage in these conversations not just with the types of IT executives with whom most IT companies are used to working, but also with senior business executives.
These industry-specific solutions perspectives, however, cannot stop at the sales level. They must be infused throughout the organizations, through people that architect, build and support industry-specific solutions, and through those who define and prioritize target markets and identify and communicate compelling value propositions.
A small percentage of HP’s senior sales people and consultants (especially in CME and financial services) had such capabilities. They are, however, in a small minority. EDS had more—although not to the level of competitors like IBM or Accenture.
Enterprise Services as HP’s Business Solutions Incubator
The combined HP/EDS company has already begun to marshal its best business solutions-based talent across all groups, identify those industry segments in which it has the strongest capabilities and most compelling value propositions, and identify and assign the best qualified salespeople to the most promising accounts in each of these segments.
Although HP has some such talent in all parts of its Enterprise Business Group (not to speak of in its Imaging and Printing and Personal Systems Groups), the vast majority of such capabilities reside in the company’s Enterprise Services team, which houses most of the EDS business and people.
Given this, I believe HP will use this organization—particularly its sales and service delivery arms—as the company’s Business Solutions Incubator. This incubator would:
- Create, market, sell and support the company’s initial service-led industry solutions;
- Identify and disseminate consistent, repeatable best practices that could be applied across all industry groups; and most importantly
- Develop the people most capable of architecting, building, selling and supporting them and then, disseminate best practices and people out through other parts of the organization.
Among this group’s primary talent development responsibilities would be to:
- Define the type of talent it will need—especially across its service sales and service delivery teams;
- Identify current employees that are most capable of filling key roles and create accelerated development and mentorship programs to help develop their skills;
- Determine the talent—both new graduates and people with experience in other companies—that it must recruit from the outside; and
- Restructure sales and service delivery career paths, metrics, incentives and compensation structures to create a large supply of such people.
Once it begins to “incubate” a critical mass of such professionals within the company’s services sales and service delivery arms, it must rapidly disseminate this talent out through all parts of the HP Enterprise Business organization—initially Software and Technology Services and ultimately Hardware. Once the group is on track to accomplish all this for the company’s initially targeted industries, it would probably lead the process of identifying and prioritizing HP’s move into additional verticals and sub-verticals.