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HP today gave Dell a serious thump in the game that is Executive Bitch Slap. It plucked away Randy Mott - Dell's CIO - to become its own IT guru.

There's really an endless stream of gags that could follow a move like this, but we'll start with the facts.

Mott rose to IT prominence at Wal-Mart where he wowed other vendors by setting up one of the more sophisticated supply chains on the planet. Numerous publications would periodically tap him as CIO of the year or label him an efficiency genius.

What many don't know is that a lot of Mott's success can be traced to Wal-Mart's decision to pick up Teradata's data warehouse software. This software let Wal-Mart track its goods in close to real-time and create the ruthlessly efficient supply system that many celebrate. Funny enough, Teradata is now part of NCR - the company current HP CEO Mark Hurd used to head.

So Hurd has picked his erstwhile biggest customer to be his right hand man. Clearly this a man who knows what he likes, and likes what he knows.

Mott later led a Teradata installation at Dell, where he served as CIO for the last five years.

HP and Dell often partake in Executive Bitch Slap, trading server or PC executives around like well-paid hood ornaments. Mott, however, stands as a bigger Thwack! than most given his pedigree. HP will no doubt claim that they're on their way to Dell-like efficiency, more direct sales and higher profits.

Others might wonder though what such a move will spell for HP's inventive traditions. Will the headline "HP cuts R&D budget in half - replaces creativity with Asian suppliers" pop up six months from now? Will we read about how Mott discovered as yet unrealized paperclip purchasing benefits leftover from the Compaq merger? Or will a tired Mott sit back in a golden chair and read about how Dell gobbled up more of HP's market share during the quarter?

Only time will tell.®

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