HP is putting its mouth where its money is by offering 2,300 of its key account customers a printer consultancy service.
Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice president of worldwide enterprise sales for HP's imaging and printing group, said the company will officially launch the service next year and is currently hiring account managers and technical, services and business process consultants.
He says the move is to help the key accounts to consolidate their current printer investments by working out where to use standard printers and where to position multifunction printers (MFPs) across their enterprises.
The service will be an ongoing partnership to help these customers tackle the difficult challenge of producing efficient document workflows. It will also use HP's network of business partners to help create a closer relationship with the customers and try to define ready-made policies within vertical market segments, such as the public sector, healthcare and financial organisations.
Dahlgren says the service will not only cover the deployment of products from HP's range of over 200 imaging products, but will also embrace competitive products from other manufacturers. Despite this, the core competencies of the consulting teams will align with HP's products and services.
He added that he is not just seeking to lure employees from other printer makers, but wants people from outside the printing world to gain fresh insights into the relationship imaging products have with workflows, networks, and server deployments.
HP feels the company needs to develop a closer relationship with its enterprise accounts to shape and customise future imaging products. What Dahlgren did not cover was the fact that HP has only taken two per cent of the copier market despite its large push into this area over past few years.
Photocopier manufacturers have converged with the printer market as laser and inkjet MFPs have increased their speeds and versatility to almost obliterate the photocopier market. Winners in the field tend to be companies like Canon which has established itself as a photocopier and printer supplier prior to the convergence.
HP's task is to dislodge the loyal customers and win them over to its own technologies. Consultancy will provide a platform for this. Dahlgren says he initial service will be expanded to smaller account holders over time. ®