Overly Ambitious

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In the wee hours of the morning, while you're still hours away from hitting the snooze button, Mike Overly is thinking about CRM. While you're watching early Saturday morning cartoons with the kids, Overly is thinking about CRM. And while you're thankful for sleeping in on Sundays, Overly is thinking about CRM. As the vice president of marketing for Hewlett-Packard, Overly is in his Indianapolis office by 4:30 a.m. every business day. Yes, every day. And on weekends Overly is up before the sun to cram in several hours of work from his home office, on both Saturday and Sunday, before spending time with his family. Overly, who says he can get by with four to five hours of sleep a night, has worldwide responsibility for HP's customer relationship management, partner relationship management, and corporate contract solutions. This responsibility cuts across HP's businesses and products, and spans sales, marketing, and service. He is charged with taking HP's CRM strategy from unwieldy to focused, and that takes someone with the stamina of the Energizer bunny. "Our CRM vision is to provide an industry-leading customer experience," he says, adding that HP's CRM priorities are to "drive best-in-class CRM processes and operational excellence to enable direct selling, sales force productivity, revenue growth, and customer satisfaction and loyalty goals." The company currently has hundreds of CRM solutions comprising different products from different vendors, as well as different instances of the same products. By this month HP will have whittled that down to using Siebel as its primary CRM offering for sales force automation and marketing. That is no small feat for a $72 billion company with offices in 178 countries and more than 145,000 workers--20,000 of whom are CRM users. Couple that complexity with the fact that HP is still dealing with a massive ($19 billion) merger with Compaq Computer, which closed in May 2002 and is the largest technology merger in history. The combined company is the biggest maker of computers and printers, as well as the third-largest provider of technology services. Following the close of the deal, the priority was to merge the two companies' key internal computer systems by the start of the fiscal year, in November 2002. The focus has been on the SAP order-fulfillment systems, the human resources software, the CRM systems, and the core financial transaction-processing systems. Overly says that prior to the merger with Compaq, HP had the same commitment to CRM, but the tactics and the execution have changed since the two giants joined forces. "We took a blended approach and took the best-in-class processes for both companies. The processes are focused in and around reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and better serving the customer," he explains. HP's CRM plan fits in well with another major company-wide initiative called Total Customer Experience, a "multimillion-dollar commitment" to ensuring that customer satisfaction is embedded in everything the company does, Overly says. Driving CRM Success The CRM initiative has the backing of all the top HP brass, including CEO Carly Fiorina. There is even a Carly Hotline for key customers with issues that cannot be resolved via normal channels. But speaking with Fiorina is "not a desirable kind of thing," Overly says. "We never want customers to have to speak to Carly. If you're talking with her there is a big, big problem, and those are the kinds of calls we want to minimize." And there are incentives for making the new CRM plan a success. Overly says that there has been some financial compensation for some executives associated with meeting their CRM milestone deliverables, although he declined to provide specifics. Further proof of HP's commitment is that CRM has been identified as one of only a handful of processes that are horizontal across the company, Overly says. He says that HP has made CRM one of four or five horizontal processes across the company's four main lines of business. The other horizontal processes include order management systems, PRM, and human resources software. HP has also begun implementing its new CRM system for customer service. In early March PeopleSoft and HP announced that more than 2,000 HP consumer customer service agents are now using PeopleSoft CRM. This number will grow to 5,000 when the global implementation is completed by the end of this year, serving more than 70 countries. HP's Consumer Services & Support group is using key components of PeopleSoft's service solution, including PeopleSoft Support and PeopleSoft Support Self-Service, as part of its new system to more effectively manage consumer customer inquiries. Knowledge management tools enable HP agents to quickly pinpoint issues and identify proven solutions. In addition, PeopleSoft's service offering tailors languages, currencies, date, and numeric formats to users' geographic needs. This capability enables HP's consumer customer service agents located in various regions around the world to quickly and easily access the system. As for its sales and marketing and front-office folks, HP has moved them to Siebel Systems' CRM suite. And as the company turns on new systems, it turns off old ones to "take the crutch away," Overly says. "We not only have a variety of systems, but lots of instances of different version of Siebel. The goal is a single version and single instances. Everyone will have the same thing." Right now HP is also rolling out Siebel 7 partner portal for its company-wide PRM initiative. Overly says that to date the majority of users on the Siebel system are B2B sales force workers. That number will increase as the rest of the sales and marketing staff come on board with Siebel. A phased implementation was necessary with a project this large, according to Overly. HP did this in part to balance business priorities and customer focus. "Where does the company ultimately want to get to? That vision should not change, even if you take a lengthy, pragmatic approach to implementation," Overly says. In the near term Overly plans to enable the call center to be more efficient and to do some direct selling; to integrate the sales force around the customer; to tie together all customer touch points; to make ROI more effective; to reduce the number of CRM instances; and to reduce the number of technologies the company is using. Style and Substance
Overly takes an open and flexible approach to CRM. He also has an inclusive management style. "I surround myself with people to get things done. I'm not a micromanager." And, because of the breadth of his responsibilities, he can't be. In fact, Overly's job forces him to wear many different hats. "Part of my job is to be the evangelist, the cheerleader, but I'm very pragmatic and recognize changes that are occurring," he says. He leads more than 300 people and multiple projects in multiple locations. Overly is located in Indianapolis, but claims that that is not a hurdle, because HP is a huge global company. "Even if I were located in the headquarters in Palo Alto [CA], I would still be working with hundreds of people who are not," he says. Overly is good at navigating the waters at HP, because he's been working there for more than 20 years. Actually, he's had only one other job his whole life, and that was as a summer intern at NCR in Dayton, OH. He says he always wanted to work at HP, and following his graduation from Ohio State University the newly married Overly moved from Indiana to California to start his career at HP. He spent his first four years at the company in a manufacturing group as a systems analyst. Eventually, Overly wanted to get into field consulting (called presales at HP), and moved to an HP office in Michigan for the job. Overly was attracted to the field sales job because he wanted to get back to the Midwest to be closer to family, and he really wanted a chance to work with customers. He says that customer experience was invaluable--it taught him that customers control the experience of how they interact with a business. Overly's task now is to help HP treat customers as individuals, but also to recognize customers and treat them appropriately. One future goal is to have individual customer IDs that recognize customers across the business. For example, if a person buys one printer for her home, HP would know that that person also buys 100 printers a year for some Fortune 500 company. Part of that idea is to be able to treat different customers as individuals. Prior to that HP needs to get systems in place to ensure quality. Overly estimates that "80 percent of our contact information changes every two years." He claims that bad data cost HP $200 million in 2002. The company is looking at its new CRM solution to help trim that figure. Overly estimates that over the past three years HP has lowered service delivery and infrastructure costs by hundreds of millions of dollars as a direct result of CRM. HP also has dramatically improved its lead conversion rate, has upped its cross-sell and upsell volume, and has improved team selling by getting the sales folks on the same version of the CRM solution. He declined to provide specific figures, noting that it was difficult to quantify exactly what was related to CRM and what was influenced by other factors, including the merger. Still, he is pleased by the initial results of the project. The early returns on investment are impressive, but Overly emphasizes that it is just the beginning: "At HP CRM is an ongoing process and a long-term commitment." SNAPSHOT: Mike Overly, vice president of marketing, Hewlett-Packard Education: B.S., B.A. Business Administration, Ohio State University; Graduate Studies, University of Santa Clara Latest book read: The King of Torts, by John Grisham Favorite sport: All sports, but closely follows Indiana Colts and Indiana Pacers, all Ohio State sports, and University of Tennessee football Hobby: Church activities Age: 43 Contact Senior Editor Lisa Picarille at lpicarille@destinationCRM.com
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