HP is pushing more direct Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) customers through its channel in an effort to encourage partners to sell managed print services into the mid-market.
HP IPG vice-president for South Pacific, Richard Bailey, said it was looking for ways to assist partners gain a stronger presence in the mid-market managed print services (MPS) space. He defined mid-market as 50-500 seats.
“Historically, we’ve focused on providing managed print services into enterprises, but allowed the direct sales force to creep down into the mid-market,” he said. “In chatting with the channel, there was a gap around what we were doing in the mid-market, and how we approach it.”
HP has restructured its sales force into an enterprise team concentrated on a smaller and select number of named accounts, and business partner managers.
“It’s about encouraging the channel to specialise, and provide contractual, annuity-based offerings to customers,” Bailey said. He would not disclose the number of direct accounts HP previously held, nor how many were retained, but said the figure reduced “by a factor of two-thirds”.
“There are some very large customers requiring a level of specialisation, and that’s where we’ll be putting our forces,” he said. “However, we are still working with channel on fulfilment and engagement with those customers.”
HP has also appointed a dedicated business partner manager chief to manage the channel team and work with MPS partners.
Les Mansour, who was formerly with HP’s Enterprise Servers and Storage business, will now oversee channel and customer engagement, certifications and training, and segmenting partners into three levels: Top-tier Office Printing Solutions, Office Printing, and fulfilment-based resellers.
Bailey, who has been in the IPG role for just over 12 months, said it also restructured its supply chain in an effort to streamline operations and improve efficiencies. More headcount will be added as MPS partner specialisation accelerates.
The number of Office Printing Solutions certified partners has doubled in the past year to about 20. These top-tier partners must do their own services and logistics, but are backed up by HP. Mid-tier or transitional OP partners often do their own servicing and logistics but are still building their own MPS capabilities, Bailey said.
“We’re seeing traditional partners more in the OPS category, plus large IT resellers jumping aboard MPS,” he added.