HP has foreshadowed a future where the consumer and commercial business divisions within the company could merge to become one entity, as far-reaching industry trends gradually reshape the enterprise technology landscape.
“We see mega-trends changing the industry, and these mega-trends are shifting people’s professional lives and their consumer lives, which are blending,” HP president and CEO, Dion Weisler, told ARN.
“Whilst today I have a consumer division and a commercial division, I would argue that in years to come I would have one division.
"Seeing millenials’ expectations flowing into the workplaces they enter, and they’re influencing the way we all work, and it requires a different go to market, it requires different services, and it’s going to mean that the shape and nature of how we go to market means to adapt to that big mega-trend."
For Weisler, mobility and security stand tall as clear drivers for productivity for most organisations around the world and, in the immediate future, HP sees a hard shift from transactional engagements to contractual service-led business.
"Therefore, our go to market motion needs to develop programs to encourage resellers to move with those mega-trends, and it means that the nature of our channel partnerships and our programs will morph towards those mega-trends,” he said.
HP generates much of its business through its channel ecosystem, with the vendor conducting up to 87 per cent of its revenue through its partner network at a global level.
While the ratio of partner-generated business to direct sales has become more channel heavy since HP split from the unified Hewlett-Packard brand last year, it is unlikely the company will ever be 100 per cent channel, according to Weisler.
“There will always be some customers, particularly large global customers that want to have a direct relationship with the manufacturer," he said. "We’re very clear with our channel partners, so there’s no confusion about that."
Weisler’s comments come as HP opens its Customer Welcome Centre (CWC) in Sydney, which follows on more than a year after the vendor opened the doors of its Experience Centre in Melbourne (MEC).
Despite Weisler’s prediction of the consumer and commercial worlds merging to become one, the new centre in Sydney is aimed firmly at the latter, with the site open only to business customers and channel partners – a departure from the Melbourne centre, which is also open to the public.
“Channel partners are critical to HP’s success, and we are constantly striving to make it easier for them to do business; both with HP and with their customers,” the company said in a statement.
“The feedback from the channel on the MEC has been overwhelmingly positive. We know already there is a great deal of excitement among the channel community, and indeed our enterprise customers, about the opening of the CWC in Sydney."
The new space in the Sydney CBD is modular in design, giving on-site HP technicians and visiting channel partners the ability to reconfigure equipment and put together tailored solutions based on the needs of individual end clients or target vertical markets.
While the Sydney centre, which can be booked by customers and partners for meetings, events, workshops, seminars, and training, is smaller than the 1100-square metre Melbourne facility, it still manages to incorporate a diverse range of desktop and mobile computing, printing, and display equipment.
Among the solutions on display is the tech giant’s all-in-one 3D capture and editing device.
Named Sprout Pro, the desktop unit’s inclusion in the collection of predominantly enterprise-targeted hardware highlights another of HP’s big focus areas for future growth: 3D printing.
While HP has already created a solid position as one of the world’s top vendors for commercial digital printing technology, Weisler and team want to tackle the broader manufacturing industry with the company’s 3D printing technology.
“We think there’s an incredible opportunity around what we call blended reality, which is the fusing together of our two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds,” Weisler said.
“In the personal computing space, it's augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D scanning – taking all the things in our physical world and create digital objects around that.
“Then, from a print perspective, being able to take those digital objects and change them, morph the, and then reprint them with 3D printing, which I think will completely disrupt and democratise manufacturing.
“We didn’t get into it [3D printing] to participate in the $US10-15 billion industry – that’s where it is today – relative to the $US340 billion PC market, we got into it to disrupt a $US12 trillion manufacturing industry."
The company’s play for the manufacturing industry comes as Australia’s Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science, Craig Laundy, calls on the local manufacturing sector to “embrace the opportunities offered by disruption”.
“In manufacturing, we can do more to seize the opportunities disruption has to offer and to gain niches in the global production value chain, including greater integration of Industry 4.0 methods in Australian manufacturing,” Laundy said at a symposium at University of Technology Sydney on 5 December.
“Advanced industrial nations like Australia are moving into an era of smart factories, using Industry 4.0 to prepare their industrial bases for the future,” he said.