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HP 2016 Global Partner Conference Boston | Chapter 1

The Global Partner Conference is HP’s premier event of the year for channel partners, press and industry analysts. So it was fitting that HP saved their biggest news for this event, delivered in a high energy compelling presentation, by Dion Weisler and his management team.

 

The announcement of a complete new range of A3 MFPs, both PageWide Inkjet and new LaserJets, combined with the $1.05Bn acquisition of Samsung’s printer business, show that HP is deadly serious in its stated intent to disrupt the $55Bn worldwide A3 printer market.

Based on what we have been able to see so far, the new products appear to represent a big step change in HP’s competitiveness in the A3 printer market.

Channel partners have long complained that HP’s A3 models were uncompetitive compared with offerings from competitors, such as Ricoh, Canon and Konica Minolta, in terms of cost per page, document finishing options, and device robustness.

That looks set to change. The PageWide Inkjets and New A3 LaserJets offer two options for general office printing, each with a competitive cost-per-page, output speeds from 22ppm up to 60ppm, and a range of finishing options. The architecture of the new models (of both technologies) is much simpler then traditional ‘copier’ machines, involving many fewer components, and very few parts requiring replacement during the normal life of a device. According to HP, this should result in much lower service costs for these new models, allowing channel partners either to sell at a more competitive cost per page, or to improve their margins.

 

Improved device serviceability is further enhanced by HP Smart Device Services, a package of cloud-based tools for remote sensing, monitoring and management of devices. These tools should allow channel partners to monitor the status of printers remotely, and receive alerts when service interventions are required, often before a fault becomes apparent to the user. This will allow partners to diagnose faults, which in some cases they may be able to remedy remotely by making changes to device settings, but if this is not possible, they can despatch a service engineer equipped with advance knowledge of the fault and the appropriate parts to fix it. This should reduce the time taken to get devices back up and running, and avoid the need for return visits, because an engineer is unable to fix the fault first time.

HP Smart Device Services will support the entire new range of PageWide Enterprise and Pro platforms, as well as the new A3 LaserJets.  It is also compatible with legacy HP Future Smart printers. The toolset will be available free for qualified partners, for contractual devices using original HP supplies.

 

It claims to be the best-in-class suite of print security features.

Another key competitive advantage for HP comes from what it claims to be the best-in-class suite of print security features. Security has been identified as a key and growing customer concern, not just among large enterprises, but increasingly among SMBs as well. It is becoming recognised more and more that printers often represent a weak point, through which hackers can gain access to the entire network. HP demonstrated graphically how easily this can be done in real life.

HP’s suite of printer security features is designed to protect not only the documents which users print, and the underlying data in them, but also, more fundamentally, to ensure the integrity of the device to avoid it being used as a gateway for illicit access to the network. This does appear to represent a competitive advantage of growing importance for HP.

 

HP appears to have taken on board the other big complaint of channel partners.

Last but not least, HP now appears to have taken on board the other big complaint of channel partners, that its programmes have been too complicated, and it has been too difficult to do business with, compared with some of its ‘copier manufacturer’ competitors. HP also announced at the GPC a new, more streamlined programme of support, named ‘Partner First’.
Key features include:

  • Streamlining of support and incentive programmes, with a simplified partner tier structure, to make these fit with the way partners sell, rather than with HP’s internal product divisions and their objectives, which have often resulted in overlaps and unnecessary complexity for partners.
  • An expanded and upgraded co-marketing zone, delivered via an enhanced online portal, which will allow partners much more easily to create their own co-branded marketing materials and campaigns, targeting their customers.
  • A new HP Social Media Centre, to help partners make full use of the power of social media as a marketing tool.

The co-marketing zone will be available in the US from the beginning of November, and then rolled out on a country-by-country basis in EMEA. The Social Media Centre is already up and running in the US, and will be introduced to the UK by end-September – with other countries in EMEA expected to follow in due course.

 

Chapter 2, IDeAS comment : next Tuesday

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This article was written on 15 Sep 2016, and is filled under Event, Point of View.

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