Hewlett-Packard Quietly Makes Big Managed Services Moves

Hewlett-Packard Quietly Makes Big Managed Services Moves

The sleeping giant has finally awoken. Hewlett-Packard is making managed services moves -- without necessarily mentioning managed services by name. The effort involves a platform called 48Upper and HP Insight Remote Support. Here's the strategy and potential implications for MSPs and VARs.

The framework for this blog entry took shape last week during a phone conversation with HP. Most of the briefing focused on HP's commitment to partner-led advisory boards and HP's growing SMB product portfolio. But toward the end of the conversation, HP began to describe a SaaS and cloud collaboration platform called 48Upper and some planned next steps for the Insight Remote Support platform.

In an official press release that surfaced June 2, HP said 48Upper:

"increases business productivity for midsize businesses through an online service that enables IT professionals to manage across all the processes that make up IT – from project planning and operations to service management. Built-in community features also make it easier to share best practices across an organization."

The Managed Services Angle

But here's the twist: Most media folks say 48Upper is a social media platform. I see it somewhat differently. During the phone conversation with me last week, HP began to describe how MSPs and VARs can begin to leverage 48Upper and HP Insight Remote Support in a managed services practice.

Lisa Wolfe, a worldwide SMB marketing & strategy leader within HP Enterprise Business, says 48Upper essentially is a platform that channel partners can use to monitor customer settings, gather data, and make hardware and software sales recommendations.

I asked HP for further clarification yesterday. A spokesperson replied:
"To clarify, 48Upper will have free and subscription based services. The service is designed for VARs to resell for direct usage by end customers and/or for MSPs to use to manage their customers. 48Upper  is focused on the IT Management processes with out-of-box integration to several remote management partner offerings.  Additionally, 48Upper is a platform for VARs and ISVs to build additional applications/capabilities to better service not only their customers but to make available to anyone in the community (for free or for fee).

Our intention is to provide remote connectivity with any HP device so that configuration/warranty/maintenance/lease information can trigger either a VAR to proactively upsell or refresh, or if the customer is dealing directly with HP, to conduct a similar transaction directly online."

Pros and Cons

During my conversation with HP's Wolfe, I was impressed with her insights into the managed services market. Frequent MSPmentor readers know that I've repeatedly questioned why HP hasn't been more aggressive in assisting MSPs and VARs with managed services. Speaking with Wolfe convinced me that HP is serious about the market... and serious about engaging VARs and MSPs rather than going direct to end customers.

Still, HP's view of the managed services market is HP-centric. Generally speaking, it sounds like 48Upper and Insight Remote Support are designed to manage HP devices. I wonder: How many SMB customers are pure, 100-percent HP shops?

Also, HP's managed services moves arrive amid intensifying competition. Lenovo, for instance, recently launched its first server designed specifically for MSPs. And Dell continues to promote its managed services -- though that effort has had mixed results with MSPs to date.

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