The digital office means selling printers will never be the same again, Hewlett-Packard officials warned last week.
According to Bob Deely, general manager of HP's Department LaserJet division, the IT channel will need to provide more consultative services, and deliver skills that empower the customer with the benefits of new digital technology.
Deely told ARN that the proliferation of digital information, as well as the way it is accessed and distributed in the digital workplace, meant that the challenge is how to make businesses effectively use the technology so that they are productive, competitive and efficient.
He spoke about the movement of printing from commercial presses to the general workplace environment becoming more compelling in business-critical applications. With these kinds of applications, printer resellers will need to be virtual printing consultants.
"Especially with some of the higher end products, customers are going to need a channel that understands the products and the applications better than they used to," said Deely.
Not only did Deely discuss the emerging in-house print applications, but also the vexed issue of the convergence of IT with office automation. He said that the network environment will continue to be owned by both IT management and the channel, but he expects to see more of the functions specified by facilities managers, who are accustomed to dealing with office equipment vendors. The way customers buy printers, of whatever capacity or functionality, will be according to their needs.
Biggest launch ever
Deely was in Australia last week to help pave the road leading up to what HP officials describe as its biggest worldwide printer product launch ever.
At the end of October, chairman and CEO Lew Platt is expected to present a whole new range of HP printer products. It is claimed they will signal the printer giant's acknowledgement of the demand for flexibility in how digital information is distributed and output.