Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
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One indicator of the health of high technology companies is a close look at their chief financial officers. When a new one takes over, it's a time to examine the company. Why a new CFO at Google and who is the person?
Ruth Porat is replacing a 52 year old fun loving man, who is retiring. (picture upper right)
He's been known as a person who has tried to cut projects, products and costs rationally. I'm sure he is rich enough to enjoy 'Cloudless Skies'.
Google is one of the world's most successful companies. They are fabulously rich. By company life cycles, they are just adolescents. As all parents will tell you, that's a touchy age. Things can go wrong.
Google is wealthy, successful, but there are worries. Will they mature well?
They start too many costly projects and complete too few. They introduce free products and don't follow up on the strategic reasons for being free. They have quality control issues.
Their wildly successful business model based upon their search engine and customer ads has shown slower growth rates lately.
They have been accused by some as over spending on certain projects and ignoring others. There is a sense of not focusing.
Their core business has to be the 'cash cow' for all the others like robot car technology.
We have reported on the poor implementation of Google's Microsoft Office clone Open Docs.
It's a key ingredient in their Cloud technology, but is at best lousy in its current state.
One of their most popular products is YouTube. Everyone uses it and for good reason. It's full of information. Guess what? It does not make a lot of money for Google, but could. What's the problem?
Patrick Pichette (underneath), outgoing Google CFO, comes off the Cloud.
So they bring in a new Chief Financial Officer named Ruth Porat. She's not just any bean counter. She's been called the most powerful woman on Wall Street. Click Here
How will she get hold of the spending reins? After all it's one thing to play the 'Music of Wall Street'. She knows how to do that. It is quite another to control hundreds of products and projects from a spending standpoint. She has been brought in to control the costs without harming the creativity.
It's one thing to launch initial public offerings that have made her super rich and it's another to control the spending on hundreds of projects and thousands of people. The push back will be tremendous.
My questions are three.
Has she the right experience in controlling high technology cost and revenue streams?
Will she be able to deal with the strong personalities inside Google? Will Founder Fog overwhelm her?
She will have to concentrate on all the major project managers. Can she walk through that mine field?
She will have to lean on somebody who can portray properly for her the complicated puzzle of Google's product future. What is the strategic map? She has to be a part of it in order to know it.
Maybe she was brought in just to manage Google's Wall Street relationships. If so, who will do the hard work?
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015