Motorola's Warrior sharp as a RAZR
July 25, 2005
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Padmasree Warrior may
be the most powerful woman in technology in Chicago. Warrior,
executive vice president and chief technology officer of Motorola,
could also be one of the most powerful women in technology worldwide.
44, controls a $3.2 billion R&D budget and leads a global
force of 24,000 Motorola engineers. She's a powerhouse full of
To borrow a phrase
from GE's Jack Welch, Warrior has 4E's and a P. She's energetic.
She energizes those around her. She's got edge, and she can execute
and get things done. Speaking with Warrior you quickly learn she's
passionate about helping Motorola win.
I think Warrior is
Motorola CEO Ed Zander's secret weapon. She's an engineer who
wow, what's now"
Today and Tuesday,
Zander hosts a global cast of 450 reporters and industry and financial
analysts at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
He'll update these influencers on the state of Motorola.
The stars of the show
are Motorola's newest products like the sleek RAZR, a product
that helped Motorola earn $933 million in the quarter ending June
30 compared to a loss of $203 million in the comparable quarter
last year. Motorola's share price is near $20 and rising.
There will be sizzle
on stage as Motorola unveils "what's wow, what's now."
You can expect a celebrity tennis star or two on stage. Last year,
Apple founder Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance. This year,
observers expect Motorola to roll out its long-awaited iTunes-capable
phone. There might be more surprises.
Thanks to Zander and
Chief Marketing Officer Geoffrey Frost, Motorola is a world-class
marketing dynamo. While Zander is unleashing marketing at Motorola,
he's remembering Motorola's engineering roots. Near Zander's side
this week will be Warrior, the CTO who's making Motorola's rejuvenation
like a RAZR
Warrior has a speaking
part, but doesn't crave the spotlight. She'll talk about the potential
of Motorola technology and "seamless mobility." She'll
describe how Motorola will use mobile technology to help us better
control our homes and ease our daily toil.
Warrior is approachable,
articulate, attractive and smart. She's got a mind that's as sharp
as, well, a RAZR. She has engineering roots -- a master's degree
in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a bachelor's
in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology
in New Delhi. But she's no geek.
Warrior aims to find
intersections between hard-core engineering and iconic design.
"That's how the
RAZR came about," Warrior says. "It's a cool device."
At a Cubs game recently, Warrior looked around and saw fans holding
RAZRs. It made her smile.
Of course, Warrior's
proud of Motorola's engineering. "RAZR's not just a design
marvel. It's an engineering and technology marvel," Warrior
says. Ask her why and she'll tell you about RAZR's foldable internal
antenna, its miniaturization of components, or its case made of
aircraft quality aluminum.
Warrior likes to point
out that RAZR was invented here in Chicago. It's the product of
urban-living designers and suburban-based engineers. "It
couldn't have happened unless we had the cross pollination of
ideas and people," Warrior says.
streamlines, cuts costs
Technology often spreads
like weeds. It's a common story in commercial entities and in
the public sector. Before Jay Carlson, deputy director of the
State of Illinois Bureau of Communications and Computer Services,
was hired two years ago, technology management was decentralized.
"The state had
43 different IT organizations," Carlson says. He set to work
to measure and cut spending while improving service levels.
By Carlson's estimates,
Illinois spent $665 million on computing and telecommunications
in fiscal 2003. Through cost controls and consolidation, Carlson
reduced spending to $550 million in fiscal 2004. He projects fiscal
2005 spending of $530 million and $510 million in fiscal 2006.
Over 18 months, Carlson
invested $40 million on infrastructure improvements and consulting
efforts to cut costs.
"The result is
a recurring benefit of $155 million annually," Carlson says.
CEO of Chicago- based nPhase, hosts a summit on machine-to-machine
communication at the Merchandise Mart on Thursday.
Krauss is a Chicago-area tech writer and consultant.