Getting closer to customers and its channel partners is at the heart of HP’s reinvention, Michelle Ryder caught up with Channel Director Neil Sawyer, to find out more
Almost 90 per cent of HP’s business in the UK and Ireland is delivered through its partners and according to Sawyer, the world of print and advancing channel relationships is a big part of what he describes as a new chapter for the firm.
It’s been almost five years since HP split its commercial and enterprise business units. The company has invested heavily in reinventing print during this time and this investment in both technology and partners, has now started to pay off. “This is demonstrated in our market share,” Sawyer said, adding: “In the A3 sector, we have grown from a single digit number to approximately 16 per cent share, according to the latest figures released by IDC. HP is now among the top three to four brands in that space.”
HP’s strategy has been to pivot the business, to move away from a traditional transactional model, evolving to become a contractual managed services business. Sawyer said that the firm is aiming to be: “a big part of that market over the next two to three years.”
Leadership in print
HP’s approach to advancing its leadership in print has been by being disruptive. 3D print is one area where it has dedicated a significant amount of R&D to meet this objective, Sawyer cites the current COVID-19 crisis as a prime example of where HP’s efforts have come into its own in terms of its Multi Jet Fusion technology being used to produce PPE for frontline healthcare workers. “We will continue to disrupt in this area,” he said.
Secondly the firm wants its channel to be disruptive through some of its print initiatives. These include Instant Ink, an as a service model that means customers never have to worry about running out of ink again. Its Device as a Service (DaaS) business model is another example, DaaS brings clear advantages to end-users and channel partners alike. End customers benefit from fast deployment, lower financial spend and scalability, while resellers have the opportunity to secure longerterm, recurring revenue streams. There is also further planned investment around graphics and textile printing, which, Sawyer says will bring new opportunities to the channel in the future.
“The other area is how we transform how we work,” Sawyer said. “We’ve had to adapt very quickly to a lot of operational models that the print channel has taught and educated us about. What we’ve done in return is helped the print channel to become more digitally-enabled and thus improve their customer engagement.”
He added: “In essence this new chapter is making sure that we work with our partners to position HP and them for the future. To do this, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got their trust as a customer-focused digitally data driven business that’s always going to execute with purpose.”
Over the course of the last six months, HP has become a faster, more agile organisation. “We have moved all of our sales, operations and customer facing staff into one commercial organisation – and that delivers faster decision-making,” Sawyer explained. “It has allowed us to reduce the amount of layers in our business and management, so we can deliver a lot of speed and flexibility now. And as we look ahead to the coming months, I think the managed print market will definitely need quicker decision-making and we’re well positioned to deliver that.”
Sawyer acknowledged that the current pandemic has presented a whole new set of considerations to the channel. “I want to reassure our resellers that HP are very much here to support them and to stress that we and our partners will overcome some of these challenges together,” he said.
“This is a time where HP, and our partners, particularly our resellers need to look out for each other,” he continued. “As a business we have taken a number of steps to ensure we are more flexible in how we measure our partners. We understand they may need a little bit more time to submit information to us or to retain certifications for example, and we are also working closely with our distribution partners to ensure that flexibility is also built in to their roles; we will continue to do that for as long as necessary to support the market,” he concluded.