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HP CIO: A lot of work ahead

On the "first leg" of its integration with Compaq, the main in-house objectives are to reduce the total number of applications and boost customer service and e-commerce initiatives.

Hewlett-Packard officials on Tuesday offered a peek at the work going on behind the scenes to revamp its technology systems in the wake of its purchase of Compaq Computer.

When the company unveiled the new HP earlier this year--the result of its $19 billion acquisition of Compaq--customers and employees saw a unified Web site, help desk system, data network and employee portal. But in-house, the fun is just beginning as those systems get woven together, said Bob Napier, HP's chief information officer.

"We're on the first leg this integration journey. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us," said Napier, who addressed attendees of HP's analyst meeting in Boston on Tuesday. Earlier at the meeting, HP CEO Carly Fiorina said that the company will lay off 10,000 employees by November.

After the merger, Napier said, HP has 229,000 e-mailboxes, 220,000 desktops, 1,193 networked sites, 39,000 network devices, more than 7,000 applications, 10,000 IT employees, and weekly e-mail volume of 24 million.

"We made it painless so no one had to change anything," he said.

Napier said that launching HP's internal employee portal without any glitches was probably his greatest success. "That's where people look for answers," he said, referring to the portal, which has more than 2 million page requests a day.

Currently, HP's IT department is in its "first 100 days," when it has to finish implementing its plan, start "must do" projects with HP business groups and complete the company's first financial close with Compaq in the fold, Napier said.

Once those chores wrap up in August, HP's IT crew will have to complete the integration of key systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and product data management (PDM), and others such as supply chain management, e-commerce and human resources.

The main objectives of integrating those systems will be to reduce the total number of applications and boost customer service and e-commerce initiatives, Napier said.

"There is a great opportunity to cut applications," he said. "Two hundred applications are already tagged to come out."

HP and Compaq both use SAP for enterprise planning and PeopleSoft for human resources applications, a fact that should make integration a little easier.

Other areas may be a little more difficult. For example, HP has said it uses Oracle for CRM software, while Compaq used Siebel Systems products.

Napier said he can manage the integration by prioritizing. Like other companies, HP has to keep IT spending flat and simplify its new projects. "We used to have a number of projects that were must-have," he said. "Now we have lots of 'must stop' projects."

"It's difficult and challenging, but doable," he said.