by Peter High, published on Forbes
When one thinks of Motorola, one might think of the consumer brand, but $6 billion Motorola Solutions no longer includes the consumer brand, which was sold to Lenovo in October of 2014. Currently, the $6 billion company is a leader in public safety, providing two-way radios and for providing some of the most reliable voice communication networks around the world. It is focused on the areas of public safety, such as police, fire, and EMS. The company is also focused on smart public safety, which is how first responders use advanced technologies to help communities be safer and work more efficiently.
Technology has always been at the center of what made Motorola an iconic brand, but ironically the IT department was until recent times viewed as a support organization rather than a driver of innovation and efficiency. When Greg Meyers joined Motorola Solutions nearly two years ago, he did so after spending the prior dozen years in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. He was attracted to history of the firm, now dating back eighty-eight years, but also to the transformation that he would lead. In the period since, he has led IT to become much more customer-centric, deriving ideas directly from those who Motorola Solutions serves. He has also rethought the hiring and training methods to ensure that his team has the make-up to drive higher levels of value. He has also ushered in a “cloud-first” strategy to ensure that IT is more nimble, agile, and flexible.
(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 36th article in the CIO’s First 100 Days series. To read the prior 34 with the CIOs of companies like Ford, Intel, GE, P&G, Kaiser Permanente, and AARP, among many others, please visit this link.)
Peter High: Can you provide an overview of what is within your purview as chief information officer of Motorola Solutions?
Greg Meyers: It is a pretty simple structure. We are one business unit, one division, and I am the head of IT for the whole company. We are a global company in about one hundred and fifty locations around the world. I am responsible for all the IT that you would expect, which would include the typical systems around G&A, so the ERP environment, the HR systems, legal systems, and supply chain systems, but also play an important role in the front office. A large part of our business is done over e-commerce. My organization is responsible for all the digital interfaces that we have with our customers, both pre-sales marketing, actual commerce of product services and software, as well as post-sales support. Increasingly we are moving into areas that are helping our business evolve into a company that is focused on cloud, Big Data, and those areas. So we incubate a number of those core technologies as well.
High: Can you talk a bit about some of the things that are on your roadmap for the year ahead?
Meyers: Absolutely. For us, there are three things that we are primarily focused on as a department. We are seeing increased revenue around managed services, but also smart public safety. We are seeking to transform from an IT perspective how we interact and engage our customers to drive top line, but also simplify and make it easier for us to do business with them. That obviously helps us improve our bottom line, but also helps improve the customer experience.
The second thing is helping to reimagine our culture. By adopting what we call a cloud-first, mobile-first, wireless-first philosophy, we are looking to untether our workforce from cubicles and wires in their offices to allow them to collaborate wherever they need at any time. We had a pretty well-publicized change last year. We moved 22,000 users from the Microsoft stack to Google stack in one day. We have the largest PBX to cloud transition ever made in the world. We have over five thousand seats that are purely voiceover IP. No hardware. The phone closets are gone.
The third thing is around rethinking what IT means to the company. Rather than it being a back office function, that is, keeping support systems alive, how do we help the company and our customers capitalize on some of the shifts that are caused by the move to mobile, to cloud? And then there is this complicated environment around security, digital mobile. That helps us have the best talent we can ultimately export to our business to create future products and services, and also to incubate a number of those services that will eventually make their way into the products and services that we commercialize.