High-tech self-service key to NCR

This column is not “A Bronx Tale.” But it is about two Bronx natives talking about what “digital natives” means for the future of metro Atlanta’s new Fortune 500 company.

nuti

Bill Nuti

NCR CEO Bill Nuti, who grew up in a north Bronx housing project not far from my boyhood home, uses terms like “digital immigrants and natives” to refer to the older and younger consumers who will determine the success or failure of his strategy.

I’ve never heard consumer adaptability to technology expressed that way, but I can certainly relate to the “immigrant” characterization. My son is light years more adept with technology than I am. It’s almost as if young people are born with high-tech gadgets as appendages.

But for Nuti (pronounced noo-tee) to succeed in trying to remake NCR into a growth company, he needs both generations – baby boomer and Y. He might as well add X and “The Greatest Generation,” too.

Getting more consumers to use NCR self-service technology in more business arenas is how Nuti hopes to reshape his Duluth-based company. That means more than what NCR already provides – ATMs for banks, checkout scanners for retailers and check-in kiosks for airlines.

It means, in part, expanding the use of entertainment kiosks the company is rolling out now.

Take Blockbuster movies. NCR is setting up kiosks in grocery stores where consumers can choose among 1,000 DVDs.

In the future, Nuti said, if a consumer wants to reserve a DVD before going to the kiosk, he or she will be able to do that on a Web site. And a text message to a consumer’s Blackberry or cell phone may offer discounts when the consumer arrives for the DVD, such as for purchasing soft drinks at the grocery store.

Nuti gets excited describing the above scene – one consumer engaged in more than one purchase, using more than one form of technology – with NCR at the center of it.

“Self-service is a movement. It’s not a fad,” Nuti, 46, said. “Our goal is to have multi-channel, self-service solutions.”

Of course, competitors in each of those channels are thinking about similar game plans, so it remains to be seen how much growth Nuti can propel beyond the current $5 billion in revenue.

During the interview, it became apparent that his strategy directly relates to his controversial decision to move the company’s headquarters to Duluth after 125 years in Dayton.

Loyalty to the Ohio community took a back seat to the interests of shareholders, whom he said can look forward to tens of millions of dollars in long-term cost savings in Georgia.

“It would be disingenuous not to mention the package of incentives,” Nuti said. Government incentives added up to more than $100 million for NCR to move its headquarters here and an ATM plant to Columbus.

Key to the Georgia move, Nuti said, were several factors beyond the incentives and cost-savings. They included Hartsfield-Jackson (two-thirds of NCR’s revenue comes from outside the U.S.), the wide availability of skilled labor and high-caliber universities, such as Georgia Tech and UGA.

For a high-tech company, Nuti said, establishing a long-term relationship with Georgia Tech can be very important for gaining valuable research and talent.

Searching for greener pastures is not new to Nuti. At 14, he left our beloved Bronx for Long Island.

Traitor.

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12 comments Add your comment

AlphaDog

September 29th, 2009
8:18 am

Tell that to the people of Dayton Ohio who were left holding the bag when NCR left.

Mishap

September 29th, 2009
8:23 am

Hate to say this as I still have a lot of friends that still work at NCR but this illustrates how they are deeply behind the curve.

The growth in movie rentals isn’t in kiosks…no matter what those unmanned boxes still cost tens of thousands of dollars and suffer from limited selection. Netflix, Apple, et al are eating Blockbuster and by proxy NCR’s lunch in this category. Bringing a Rube Goldberg device to a digitally connected world simply can’t win when the NCR/Redbox of the world have complex hardware to service and still limited penetration vs. Netflix being serviced via the mail or broadband connection.

Moving to ATL had nothing to do w/ GT and UGA either. I was hired out of GT several years ago just fine when their self service and retail R&D was all based in Duluth already. The $100M+ tax break is the sole reason for the move and it’s obvious once you factor they’ve purchased no real estate in GA and their Annual Report would otherwise be glaringly in the red this year. Nuti has avoided moving from his native NY to Ohio and now GA since I was there at the tail end of Mark Hurd (who also had mixed results steering NCR). This move truly illustrates his own ego as he expects hundreds of families to uproot from Ohio or face Dayton’s rampant unemployment while he is too important to ever move himself despite being paid millions per year to do so.

I’m a fairly capitalistic guy…left NCR b/c another company paid me 25% more, getting an MBA so I can make even more, but to look at this move as a positive b/c Nuti says GA has all these benefits is to ignore they were already here for the last several decades and already laid off thousands of people over the years. Purdue in his genius has bought quite the sinking ship.

NCR Observer

September 29th, 2009
9:05 am

NCR lacks 2 key factors that an innovative company needs to succeed – (1) Regard for their employees and (2) Marketing. (1) NCR has no respect for their employees, and they have worked themselves into a situation where only those who are not employable elsewhere remain with the company. In my 2 years with the company, I was in a situation for about a year where I actually had a problem with mold flaking off the ceiling and raining onto my desk during the work day. Management laughed it off, saying that everyone there was in the same situtation. (2) NCR has a “build-it-and-they-will-come” philosophy. Marketing is pretty much non-existent, and when it is attempted, it is done in the context of engineering instead of real-world usability.

yeah

September 29th, 2009
9:48 am

Echo NCR Observer’s comments.

Jobs being slashed for the past 10 yrs has made some very talented people leave and left little room for innovation. NCR has been maintaing status quo for the past several years.

What’s the first thing people think of when the hear about NCR (assuming they’ve heard of the company)? Cash registers. How’s that for name recognition for a “technology” company in the 21st century?

Gary

September 29th, 2009
12:19 pm

So… Georgia paid $100 million for about a thousand middle-class jobs.

Good work, GA. You’ll never recoup that investment.

SSW

September 29th, 2009
2:40 pm

I will tell you first hand as a NCR employee who WAS in Dayton and MOVED to Atlanta this mad is a JOKE. He wasn’t raised in any projects…read his bio. He was made to be a CEO and he’s a crummy one at that. The leadership ream esp the ISG group are a joke and they are made of one NYer who was unemployed and another who was in sales in NY and now kinda runs the company. Good luck Atlanta, at least you have real 500 companies to grow your city…NCR’s not one of them. PS the “relationship” with UGA and GT…it’ll NEVER happen they don’t have University Recruiting anymore at NCR!!!!!!

Samoys

October 3rd, 2009
9:17 am

lot about you

Update

October 9th, 2009
12:39 pm

REUTERS:

UPDATE 1-NCR Corp’s CFO resigns to join Avaya
Wed Oct 7, 2009 5:02pm EDT

* NCR CFO Anthony Massetti to join Avaya

* Robert Fishman named interim CFO

* Massetti to continue till NCR’s Q3 earnings announcement

Oct 7 (Reuters) – Maker of automated teller machines NCR Corp (NCR.N) said Chief Financial Officer Anthony Massetti will resign to join Avaya Inc [AVXX.UL] in a similar position.

He will be replaced by Robert Fishman, NCR’s corporate controller, on an interim basis.

Massetti’s resignation is effective Oct. 23 and he will continue as NCR’s CFO until the company completes its third-quarter earnings announcement, NCR said.

Massetti’s appointment at Avaya is effective on Oct. 26.

NCR’s shares closed at $13.53 on Wednesday on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

REUTERS:

UPDATE – Aon Corp
Wed Jul 1, 2009 2:10pm EDT

July 1 (Reuters) – The following financial services industry appointments were announced on Wednesday. moves@thomsonreuters.com

AON CORP (AOC.N)

The No. 1 insurance broker said Peter Lieb would become general counsel mid-month.

Lieb is joining Aon from NCR Corp (NCR.N), where he is senior vice president and general counsel.

Chris

October 20th, 2009
4:19 pm

Gary, You are being sarcastic…BUT Ga is issuing tax credits for $100,000,000, and getting 1000 middle class jobs that will out $40,000,000 of income back into the state EACH YEAR! I say good work GA!

Mary

November 20th, 2009
2:11 pm

Does Gary Schultz still work for NCR cambridge, OH? or has he left the company.

Mary

Ole Guy

December 13th, 2009
1:37 pm

Gotta love them U-scans, but more importantly, what they signify. In terms of employment, every U-scan site represents one less cashier with which the company must be saddled. In terms of company/corporate profits, sure, the initial cost may seem great, until the depreciation on the device is accelerated within the early years of usage. After that, the only expense is pluging the machine to an outlet, and hiring one person to direct consumers, like lemmings, to the site. Consumers, on the other hand, are of two distinct mindsets: Those who, in their own little world, feel rushed to the point where they do not wish to stand in long checkout lines, created by managements’ decision to hire only two cashiers to operate two of many many dormant checkouts. These, in all probability have, at one time or another, lamanted the layoff scenarios, so prevalent in today’s economy; it is alltogether possible that some of these folks have, themselves, seen a layoff, yet, everytime they choose to perform the duties of an unpaid employee in order to save a little time, they fail to see the big picture. Fortunately, there are many who, either out of “fear” of technology, or because they do indeed see the big picture, resist the efforts of that one employee who smilingly attempts to redirect the lemmings. You decide, people!

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August 8th, 2010
9:30 am

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