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INTERVIEW: HP gets down to business - PC Retail

INTERVIEW: HP gets down to business

Matthew Jarvis caught up with HP's Doug Oathout, Page Murray and Luis Casado to discuss the growth of BYOD, 3D printers and competing with rivals…
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HP, armed with a new line of business-focused notebooks and printers, is making it easier for businesses to make money by simplifying its partner programme. Matthew Jarvis caught up with Doug Oathout, Page Murray and Luis Casado to discuss the growth of BYOD, 3D printers and competing with rivals…

Given the growing use of tablet devices in the workplace, is there a reason HP has chosen to go with the notebook EliteBook as its business-focused device, rather than a hybrid device like the Spectre X2?

Page Murray, VP of Worldwide Consumer Marketing for Printing and Personal Systems: I can’t predict the market, but the way our channel partners are going to win is by being able to provide exactly what their customer needs.

If the market ends up going to the Spectre, if it ends up going to the EliteBook, to the ProBook, our partners are still covered – and if the market doesn’t take a HP product upfront, they’ll still make money if it goes through EG (Enterprise Groups) solutions, software solutions and ends up printing out on PPS (Printing and Personal Systems) printers and they have services they can sell on top of it.

We offer great value for our partners from end to end – we don’t have to win at every station along the way.

Lenovo says it wants to knock HP off the PC market top spot in Europe – do you have any comments?

PM:Great for Lenovo. If you just sell PCs, then that’s what you need to focus on. The fact is, we don’t just sell PCs – we sell a wide range of things. Chances are there will be other competitors who want to challenge us in one particular area, but there’s no such thing as a partner who’s going to make money by just selling one box, or one service. It’s all connected now.

I’ll use a security example – a security problem can start with a mobile device or a notebook, go in through the infrastructure, breach the cloud and then go all the way out to your printing capability. People are going to come in and say, “I have a security need”. Lenovo would say: “I can fix it with a new PC.” Cisco would say “I can fix it with this network capability.” HP will say: “No, I can fix your security problem.”

There’s a growing market for 3D printers now. Has HP ever considered joining that sector of the market?

Luis Casado, Global Business Director of Print Production Solutions:Concerning 3D printing, we did partner with a company. The projection given to us was not interesting enough and so the partnership stopped and HP drew out of 3D printing.

PM:A lot of what we talked about today was about looking at the big trends and coming up with solutions. 3D printing is a trend, but there’s nothing we can publically talk about today that’s been announced.

Could you tell us about the changes that have been made to HP’s PartnerOne programme?

Doug Oathout, VP of Global Marketing for Channel Partners, Alliances and OEM Enterprise Marketing: The PartnerOne programme is how our partners interact and earn their money with HP. Page and I have been working for a year to fix a lot of the situations we had with the programme, and we’re getting to a point now where partners are really starting to enjoy the benefits of the programme more than they were in the past.
Our five points of improvement are giving partners a model to allow them to earn money from the first sale, so it’s very predictable for them and the rewards are higher.

PM: The big news is that HP now has one common programme across all countries and across the PPS, EG and software sides of the business.

80 per cent of the partners service multiple parts of HP – so this is a huge headache remover for them because now they just have to focus on one programme where they can sell across the product line, and incentives encourage them to do just that. There are compensation things to help them move up the ladder and we’ve removed thresholds they have to hit.

Has a unison taken place in the B2B and consumer markets? Has one market taken any inspiration from the other? ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) could be seen to unify business and personal use…

PM:What used to be identified as a desktop and a notebook and a mobile device is now becoming blurred – what was a consumer device and a commercial device changes if your employer will let you bring your own device in.

A lot of consumer-side innovations have moved into the commercial side, because that’s the product that people are carrying all the time. It’s okay to have two smartphones, but nobody wants to carry two laptops.

DO:On the enterprise group side – the networking side – we’re seeing IT shift to embracing BYOD, but maintaining the information from applications for the enterprise off the device. The information doesn’t stay on the PC – it’s up in the server, so I can work on it but it’s either off the PC or encrypted so, if I lose the PC, the data can’t be taken by somebody.

So it’s a unifying of the device but not necessarily a unifying of the data – a cloud at work and a cloud at home?

DO: Definitely. Two separate sets of data. One much more secure than the other – my accounting data’s not on Instagram.

PM: Yet.

With the OneView platform and the unison of products and services, HP seems to be diversifying its offerings – what’s next for the company?

DO:OneView is an application that will manage the whole infrastructure in the data centre. We’ve introduced OneView for servers; storage will be next and networking after that – then you’ll have ‘OneView’ of the whole infrastructure. You can lay Cloud OS on top of that and you’ve got a cloud.

PM:Right now the importance is making sure that our partners have exactly what they need in order to be successful. Part of that is aiming them towards where we see market growth, and giving them the appropriate tools.

For me the most exciting thing is less and less just selling boxes. In a year I’d hope the question isn’t what an individual player is saying, but what the next big security challenge is. A year from now I believe those big trends will be the discussion points.

HOT FROM HP

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HP’s new products include the EliteBook 800 series, which is up to 40 per cent thinner and 28 per cent lighter than previous generations and starts at £899.

The new EliteBooks are said by HP to have been inspired by the automotive industry, and feature a leather-like feel and slightly curved lid design to avoid the screen touching the keyboard – avoiding dirt and damage.

They also feature ‘HP Sure?Start’ technology, which aims to recover the BIOS if it is corrupted or compromised by malware.

There are also two new members of the ProBook 400 series – the 450 G1 and the 470 G1. The ProBooks start at £283 and have built-in security and a spill-resistant keyboard with a unique design, which HP claims should channel liquid out of the laptop while avoiding vital internal components.

The component-configurable ProBook 600 series was also announced, starting at £420, which combines business technologies and legacy features.

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HP’s hybrid offering comes in the form of the Spectre X2 Pro, which has a detachable hinged keyboard.
“The Spectre is one way of dealing with a change in the marketplace and the explosion in tablets,” said Page Murray, HP’s VP of worldwide consumer marketing for PPS, on the device’s ability to function as both a notebook and a tablet.

The Spectre X2 will be priced from £838, including SSD options.

For ElitePad owners after more security, the HP Security Jacket for ElitePad was announced, providing an integrated smart card reader from £235 and the addition of a fingerprint reader from £419. The jacket also adds USB 3.0 and HDMI ports to the tablet, and can be docked.

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