HP: Waking Up to Managed Services Opportunity?

I've taken a few shots at Hewlett-Packard over the years, openly wondering if the PC giant would ever take steps to more aggressively engage managed services providers (MSPs). Fast forward to the present, and I think there are three signs HP is finally ready to embrace MSPs. Here they are.

First, a little background: Generally speaking, the PC industry has had hit-and-miss results in the MSP market. On the upside, Intel has proactively promoted vPro to MSPs, describing how the hardware architecture can enhance remote managed services while saving customers money. And Lenovo has been busy building relationships with major MSP software providers. Jay McBain, director of SMB for Lenovo, told me yesterday about Lenovo's first MSP-centric server (I'll share more details later today). Dell has also made some MSP-centric software acquisitions, but Dell's transition from an appliance model to a SaaS model led to some partner churn.

So where's HP in all this? On the enterprise level, HP certainly offers managed services and managed print services to large customers. But I don't hear much from HP about how the company's notebooks, desktops and servers are designed for MSPs.

I've got an educated hunch that's about to change. My hunch is based on three factors:

  • HP is hanging out with Intel and Level Platforms on a managed services roadshow
  • Former Lenovo Channel Chief Stephen DiFranco recently joined HP
  • The HP Americas Partner Summit, scheduled for April 26-28 in Las Vegas, will likely include some recurring revenue chatter
Sources say DiFranco was one of the key people who pushed Lenovo towards MSP partner engagements. Now that DiFranco is at HP, I expect Hewlett-Packard's channel team to make similar moves. No doubt, DiFranco will be on hand for the HP Americas Partner Summit. And some MSPs will certainly be in the audience.

How much information will DiFranco direct toward MSPs? I suspect this is going to be a work in progress. But HP has also been rumored to be looking to make MSP software acquisitions for multiple years. So far, HP hasn't pulled the trigger on such buyouts. But at the least, I expect HP's hardware teams to start engaging MSPs more aggressively.

Additional reporting by David Corbanou. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.
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