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Analyst on HP-Poly: 'Some People Are Scratching Their Heads'

Others recognize the move as a push toward offering solutions in a hybrid work world.

Claudia Adrien

March 29, 2022

3 Min Read
The number of cloud computing companies and services will continue to proliferate giving customers more options ndash and potentially creating more
The number of cloud computing companies and services will continue to proliferate, giving customers more options – and potentially creating more confusion.Thinkstock

HP developed a brand synonymous with high-quality printers. Now, with Poly, HP can add conference phones, video conferencing and headsets to its suite of offerings.

The company announced Monday its acquisition of Poly, the global provider of workplace collaboration solutions, for a buyout valued at $3.3 billion.

It was a deal that didn’t seem obvious to some analysts at first.

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J Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold is principal at J Arnold & Associates.

“You know, some people are scratching their heads,” he said. “Obviously [HP] is a top-tier enterprise network player, much like the way Cisco is. This could be a signal that HP is going to move a little more closely into the communications part of the network.”

This doesn’t mean that HP is entering the unified communications arena. However, the company now has with Poly the networking gear and infrastructure pieces to enter the applications space.

“The endpoints make [the deal] more of an end-to-end play,” Arnold said.

As HP enters new markets, Arnold added there’s something more basic that the company has to its advantage. The HP brand recognition will propel the hybrid worker to adopt its new products.

“Like Microsoft, HP has a very strong consumer brand. Everybody knows HP printers, right? They’re gold standard,” he said. “As for Microsoft, the hybrid worker is comfortable using Microsoft Teams because they use the company’s other products. The same will apply for HP’s new offerings.”

Hybrid Work

HP has indicated that this deal is an opportunity for the company to strengthen its hybrid work solutions.

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451 Research’s Raul Castanon

Raul Castanon is industry analyst at 451 Research.

“There are several potential benefits, but perhaps the most relevant factor in this deal is the synergies that bringing together their respective portfolios can create,” Castanon said. “The acquisition of Poly could help HP position as a leading provider of hybrid workplace solutions. A broader, comprehensive portfolio should be welcome news for both companies’ UC and channel partners. While it’s fair to say that HP is entering a new sector, it’s also true that the hybrid workplace is actually a new opportunity for all vendors — not just HP.”

The deal should support HP’s long-term growth goals. The research backs this up.

According to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Workforce Productivity & Collaboration, Technology Ecosystems 2021 survey, the shift to a hybrid work model will drive IT investments in employee productivity, communication and collaboration technologies.

  • Survey results show that one-third of respondents (34%) say their organization is adopting hybrid work.

  • The results also show that organizations are rethinking their use of physical office space, with a substantial number (27%) looking to add or expand collaboration spaces such as conference rooms and huddle rooms.

  • Survey results also show that a substantial number of organizations plan to increase spending over the next 12 months on video conferencing/video collaboration software applications (e.g., Zoom) (49%) and on remote work equipment and peripherals (including mobile devices, laptops, headsets, video cameras and conferencing equipment) (43%).

Partners

Plantronics acquired Polycom in 2018 and the company then rebranded as Poly. In 2020, the company had 15,000 partners.

Poly experienced success with its partners because it sold hardware, a business model partners understand well, Arnold said.

“I don’t know how HP is going to market with networking services,” he said. “However, what’s great about Poly stuff is the channel loves it. That’s what they understand. They like selling units. The money they’re going to make is very cut and dried. They know what they’re going to get. For HP, that’s probably a strong channel piece.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Claudia Adrien or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Claudia Adrien

Claudia Adrien is a reporter for Channel Futures where she covers breaking news. Prior to Informa, she wrote about biosecurity and infectious disease for a national publication. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and resides in Tampa.

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