HP to Combine Partner, Sales Portals with Virtual Chatbot Assistants
(Pictured above: HP’s Don Weisler on stage at HP Reinvent in Houston, March 19.)
HP REINVENT — Moving to simplify how customers buy – and partners sell – HP personal systems and printers, the company is consolidating its sales and partner portals into a common platform where enhanced chatbots will ultimately have a more prominent presence.
HP outlined the forthcoming combined portal and new financing options, which both will help facilitate the shift to device as a service (DaaS), at the company’s Reinvent partner conference, taking place this week in Houston.
Noting that 90 percent of its business is transacted via the channel through 250,000 partners, HP CEO Dion Weisler said that the key to partner growth will come from opportunities associated with customers’ digital-transformation initiatives and the shift from transactional business to DaaS and managed print services (MPS).
Three years after divesting its enterprise server, storage and software businesses, Weisler emphasized that HP partners’ business have grown.
“Since 2016, our channel has grown by $10 billion,” Weisler said in his opening keynote. “If that’s a dying business, I’ll take it.”
Weisler acknowledged recent headwinds, including a supply shortage of CPU components and a revenue miss in its printing supplies business in Europe.
“We know what we must do and you will see us take clear and decisive action to course-correct this later,” he said.
Weisler added that despite those near-term challenges, HP’s key priority is to enable partners and customers to transform to the device-as-a-service and managed-print-services business model.
As customers become savvy in their use of digital technology, the purchasing experience becomes more transparent. This shift has fueled HP’s own transformation efforts, which center around improving how purchases are made, said Mary Beth Walker, HP’s head of channels, during a pre-conference briefing.
“To succeed, we must adapt and tailor our sales strategy and touch points based on understanding the whole customer buying experience and the customer needs,” Walker said.
At the same time, emerging channels targeted at millennials and a new generation of decision makers are increasing demand for “everything-as-a-service,” she said.
“While many of our partners rely on a more transactional business at this point, their business will look dramatically different in a few years. The buying behaviors and our customer expectations are changing and disrupting business models and entire industries.”
These shifts were the impetus to combine the sales and partner portals. The integration of HP Sales Central (HPSC) and Partner First portals will start to appear next month, and in increments throughout the rest of the year. HP will refer to the combined portal as HPSC. As the combined portal rolls out, there are issues …