Managed Print Services: HP Builds 4 Strategic Partnerships

Managed Print Services: HP Builds 4 Strategic Partnerships

When it comes to Hewlett-Packard's managed print services strategy, I'm finally starting to see the light. HP CEO Mark Hurd discussed managed print a bit today during the HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas. Then, HP VP Scott Dunsire (pictured) gave me a more complete picture -- including a list of four key partners that can help VARs and MSPs embrace managed print services. Here are the details.

Let's start with Hurd. During his keynote, Hurd predicted that managed print services will expand from enterprise engagements down into the SMB (small and midsize business) market. (Side note: Throughout most of the conference, HP's executives described how the company planned to compete more effectively against Dell in the SMB sector.)

Hurd also described how large enterprises already benefit from managed print services. He noted that Bank of America prints more than 1 billion pages annually in the U.S. And a managed services relationship with HP will allow the bank to cut printing costs by about 25% over a typical five-year contract.

Will the same trend repeat itself in the SMB sector? Roughly 20 percent of top MSPs already  promote managed print services, according to our third-annual MSPmentor 100 survey results, disclosed in February 2010. And organizations like Photizo Group are promoting managed print conferences to a range of audiences.

Meet Scott Dunsire...

Still, I haven't heard much about HP promoting managed print into SMBs. Until now. Hurd predicted that managed print will "move from Corporate America into SMB."

Scott Dunsire, VP of HP IPG Sales & Business Management, is eager to make that happen. Dunsire essentially oversees HP's go-to-market printer strategy with North American channel partners. "The biggest topic of conversation we've had with [printer] partners in the past year has been around managed print services," said Dunsire. "Copier [dealers] have been offering that type of service forever."

There are three reasons why MSPs can successfully promote managed print to customers, Dunsire asserts. They are:
  1. In a down or weak economy, you can get your foot in the door when you message that managed print can save a company 30% on their printer costs.
  2. Second, many companies have aging printer fleets, with good percentage of printers more than 5 years old.
  3. Also, three- to five-year managed print contracts motivate MSPs to build long-term relationships with customers.

Managed Print Partner Strategy

But what is HP actually doing to promote managed print services to VARs and MSPs in the SMB market?

Dunsire says HP sees no urgent need to create yet another partner program, and he dismisses MPS-centric strategies like Xerox PagePack. Instead, HP is working with four key partners to help VARs and MSPs cash in on managed print. Those partners, he says, are:
  1. Synnex PrintSolv;
  2. NER Data Products Inc. out of Philadelphia;
  3. United Stationers out of Chicago; and
  4. Carbon 6 from Supplies Network in St. Louis.
In one example, Dunsire says, VARs can get started quickly by depending on Synnex for sales support in the MPS market. "The message to VARs, I think, is the freight train is movine. With a brand like HP, you can really go after the managed print market."

Even if you're not ready for a full-blown managed services strategy, Dunsire is calling on partners to at least specialize in print supplies. If you're just selling printers without follow-up on consumables, "It’s like selling cars and forgetting to sell the gas," quipped Dunsire.

Managed Print Wake-up Call

For the first time, I'm starting to get a feel for HP's managed print strategy. No doubt, the company will need to bolster its managed print marketing to MSPs. But I suspect those efforts are coming. CEO Mark Hurd had to cover quite a few bases during his keynote. Hurd's decision to mention managed print opportunities in the SMB sector sounded like a wake-up call to me. But was the wake-up call aimed at HP's partners -- or HP's own printer and partner team members?

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TAGS: Sales
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