With the vote likely to go in favor of the merger between Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., the integration of the services organizations will soon begin in earnest.
But turning the combined services operation into a solid No. 3 player that can compete on a par with IBM Global Services and Electronic Data Systems will take a lot of thought, discipline and careful execution.
Although details about the integration effort are not yet available, HP executive Ann Livermore will lead the combined services organization as executive vice president of services. The $15 billion services organization, which will become a 60,000-strong work force (65,000 with contract workers), will be headquartered in Northern California near Palo Alto.
As HP and Compaq work to combine the two services operations, they will take care to ensure that existing customers are not affected, according to Peter Mercury, senior vice president at Compaq Global Services in Littleton, Mass. "The first principle in services integration work is not to disrupt any work with the customers. We dont want to change customer facing employees and the first line of management they work for. If we can insulate them from the organizational activities, chances are customers will hardly feel this," he said.
"Then from a top-down perspective, well go through a selection process, assign responsibilities as quickly as possible and create a new structure," he continued.
From that top-down view, several activities need to take place in parallel, believes Dean McMann, CEO of the Ransford Group Inc., a Houston professional services consulting firm.
"You have to stake out your space in service lines and offerings and backtrack from there to figure out how to provide those service lines. You have to figure out what industries you will offer those in," McMann said. " Then you have to figure out if you have the client executives and practice executives to run those service lines in a way that makes you competitive. Once those three things are working together, then you have to go to the organizational structure and map it to that world view. Its not a geographic point of view but an industry point of view. That means you have to look at the worldwide structure and map it as best as you can to this industry point of view."