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How HP’s CFO is spearheading company-wide digital transformation

Marie Myers, CFO at HP, discusses how she is driving digital projects that encompass not only greater automation and a new ERP system, but cultural transformation too

How HP’s CFO is spearheading company-wide digital transformation

When Marie Myers was appointed CFO of HP in February 2021, she made a commitment to ensure the transformation of the finance function would not overshadow her digitisation goals for the wider business.

Having previously served as HP’s chief transformation officer since June 2020, Myers recognised the role financial leaders play in leading digital transformation both within their own departments and the broader business.

“CFOs need to work on both – and they need a strategy in place. Today’s CFOs need to understand the business and how they can make the enterprise more successful,” she tells The CFO.

“They provide the investment requirement for digitisation and need to understand the return on investment (RoI) it leads to. Digitisation involves a big capital outlay and CFOs need the right knowledge to achieve it.”

Founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and David Packard, HP now bases itself out of Palo Alto, California. The multinational company develops personal computers, printers and related supplies, as well as 3D printing solutions.  Today, HP serves 185 countries and employs about 58,000 people.

“Over the last two years, digital transformation has migrated up the agenda and Covid was a big driver of this – especially for a company like ours which employs over 50,000 people across the world,” Myers says.

According to a survey by Deloitte, CFOs who invest in digital technologies are more likely to achieve revenue growth, higher profit margins, and better customer satisfaction scores.

Furthermore, a study by Accenture found that CFOs who embrace digitalisation are more likely to be seen as strategic partners by CEOs, demonstrating the importance of digitalisation in driving business growth and success.

Ingraining a digital culture

Marie Myers
Marie Myers, CFO, HP

Myers first joined HP in 2002 after the company acquired Compaq; she left in 2018 to pursue other opportunities but re-joined the organisation in 202 as chief transformation officer. In the role, she was responsible for HP’s digitisation journey. On being appointed CFO in February 2021, Myers committed to ensuring the digitisation of HP’s finance function and the broader business as a whole.

Unlike other transformation initiatives underway at large corporate organisations, Myers is measuring the success of HP’s efforts through the cultural transformation of its workforce – not just by the level of automation achieved. “It is now part of the DNA of our team today and represents a huge cultural shift,” she says.

Over the last two to three years, HP has implemented several digitisation initiatives. Its installation of a single modern ERP system, replacing the several ERP systems previously relied on, has been one of the largest projects, lasting close to 5 years and currently in the final phase.

Meanwhile, the implementation of process automation in the finance function is on track and HP is making substantial use of robotics to achieve its goals.

“[These] projects have involved training finance staff up in automation and in the use of the new ERP system, and we have done this in a way that enables the very same people to achieve greater automation themselves by building their own configurations,” Myers says.

Myers believes that HP is now a market leader – and in the upper quadrant of all companies – when it comes to achieving digital transformation. “Digitisation is a ‘must have’ at the enterprise level for HP. For us, it is the number one priority as having a digital platform achieves huge amounts of efficiency,” she says.

Employee satisfaction

Whilst many companies have – and still do – experience hesitancy and concerns from their employees when introducing new technologies, Myers believes that HP has effectively tackled this challenge through communication and education.

HP operates a structured training and education programme for employees to provide them with all the skills they need for their roles in the company.

“Whereas about five years ago, there may have been some resistance from employees to new technologies, today they are embracing digitisation,” she says, pointing out that younger employees are very tech-savvy, and expect to be using the latest technologies at work.

“Today, this is in the curriculum for students at universities – many of which now offer education in areas such as robotics process automation (RPA) and coding,” says Myers, who works with universities on their courses to help students get the relevant tech skill sets they need.

Benefits abound

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, digitalisation has become more than just a buzzword; it is now an essential element that can help companies to stay competitive and relevant.

As businesses continue to embrace digital technologies, CFOs are increasingly recognising the value of digitalisation in driving innovation, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing customer experience.

According to PwC global digital CFO survey, 73% of CFOs consider digitising their departments a as priority that will help them to reduce costs and improve decision-making. The main obstacles to digitisation were identified as a lack of expertise among managers and employees, as well as employee resistance.

Myers notes that for HP, digitisation has achieved both direct benefits – such as cost-cutting and greater efficiency – and indirect benefits. These include greater speed and efficiency, as well as the ability to manage when things go wrong; “it offers scope for us to manage errors down to a lower level,” she says.

“At the same time, it enables our staff to achieve better outcomes and become more productive – ultimately leading to a better work/life balance.”

But Myers recognises her job is not yet finished. “There is always more work that can be done. This is because the pace of technological development and innovation is so fast,” she says. “At HP, we are making very good use of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and the modern ERP system.”




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