Ruth Fornell

NCR - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Karen Rosen, ATLANTA TREND™

Atlanta Trend recently caught up with Ruth Fornell, Vice President of Professional Services for NCR Corporation to get her thoughts.

Since January 2008 Ruth has been responsible for consulting services, software and software support delivered by 2,200 consultants worldwide. During her 24 year tenure, Ruth has held many positions with increasing responsibility spanning sales, marketing and services. She began her career with NCR in Dayton, Ohio as a pricing analyst with the intent of staying only two years. Since then she has served as executive assistant to NCR Chairman and CEO helping develop and communicate strategy, chief marketing officer for Teredata (a former division of NCR), Vice President and General Manager of NCR’s Payment and Imaging Solutions division, and Vice President of financial self-service for Europe where she along with her team successfully grew business to exceed $1 billion. Ruth has held two international assignments including worldwide marketing programs for financial products, based in Dundee, Scotland and more recently region sales leadership for EMEA, based in London, England. Ruth will be the first to tell you, "NCR has provided me with incredible opportunities." 

Today NCR is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. What a long way to have come from the company John Patterson started 125 years ago! His original vision was to develop a way to improve transactions with customers, control the process and prevent fraud/theft. So was born the cash register. Today NCR provides assisted and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services for retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries.

Ruth points to that diversity as a tremendous area of strength and continued growth opportunity for both the company and its employees. According to her, the multicultural aspect is "exciting and allows us to bring diversity and best practices" from which everyone in the company can benefit. NCR continues to expand into additional uses of their technology such as patient self-registration in the healthcare sector, postal self-service and movie rental kiosks providing easy access to entertainment. Additionally, they continue to focus on growth from the international dimension. Ruth sites “Brazil, Russia, India, China and Africa are the newest markets into which we are expanding”. She feels that, "what defines a big piece of NCR’s culture is not just the technology; it’s how that technology touches the customer."

With that mindset, it is easy to see why they chose Ruth to lead the team that provides the public face of the company. Within her team functions two separate and important groups. "The professional services division provides consulting and professional expertise to help customers define and implement their self-service strategies working through people, processes and technology." All of these solutions must be customized to deliver the ideal customer experience, which Ruth refers to as "the last mile". The second group provides on-going software support, which is critical to avoid business disruption. Ruth wraps up her explanation by saying, "customer satisfaction – customer focus is really important for my team". It might seem an understatement. Really it is quite emblematic of the quite aplomb with which Ruth approaches her job daily. She and her team strive to insure that "all of our customers deliver the best possible service at the lowest possible cost, enabled by technology. This allows them to use their personnel in more valuable roles."

Today NCR is moving full steam ahead relocating their worldwide corporate headquarters to Duluth, Georgia. When asked if being in Atlanta changed the company in any way, Ruth responds, "I think the real question is what is NCR trying to create? This is now our innovation center and corporate campus. The face to face collaboration this location provides has a positive business impact." When asked why Georgia, Ruth says much study and analysis was done prior to the decision being made. Ultimately NCR found Georgia to have "a strong talent pool, thanks in part to the many Universities and great international accessibility due to the Atlanta airport." Ruth says since the announcement of the move, "the company feels more alive" and she believes the move will also be good for individuals providing many more career path options due to the multiple exposure opportunities available.

On a personal note, Ruth has also found the move to be a positive experience. Having been here almost a year, she has her two children situated in Alpharetta middle and elementary schools that have "far exceeded my expectations". The warmer weather is nice as well, but the one thing that has been the biggest surprise…..people’s friendliness. She says, "Southern hospitality is real and it is every place, personal, business…" Which she finds remarkable since not everyone here is a native. Her best guess is that "it must just rub off on them."

We sure hope so! We are pleased to know that Ruth sees a bright future for herself and her company in Atlanta. In her opinion the reason NCR is so successful is they are "a 125 year old company that stayed relevant." It’s wonderful to know that they see Atlanta as a home where they can continue to grow and be relevant for many years to come.

1. Continue to LEARN every day. Great ideas are everywhere. If it’s difficult to recognize new ideas, then perhaps a change of venue, perspective, etc… may help.

2. Consider how to ADAPT an idea to suit your needs. If this is difficult to think through, then you may want to get some help.

3. TRY it, test it, and see if it works. Give it a shot. Typically, there is a great deal to gain and little to lose in conducting a pilot or trial.

4. APPLY successful new processes and procedures to your entire operation.

"ATLANTA TREND™ expresses its thanks and deep appreciation to Ruth Fornell for sharing her thoughts with us.


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