Everything went wrong when Hewlett-Packard attempted to launch Smart Office last September. Hurricane Isabel hit Washington, D.C., where HP CEO Carly Fiorina, along with U.S. president George W. Bush, where about to announce Smart Office, the company’s long awaited SMB initiative.
ran for cover; literally.
This time HP is banking on the actual contents of its SMB initiative rather than the presenters.
Smart Office is a global US$750 million initiative to help SMB customers get more expertise, reliability, productivity and a better ownership experience from their IT investments.
In Canada, Smart Office will be situated at the SMB Expertise Centre in Markham, Ont. This 20 person shop opened in early February and will be run by Joe Simms.
HP reps at the centre will have regional responsibilities and will help channel partners build business engagements, work on deals, arrange demo units, and provide product information.
“”This is going to create an experience that they do not get with the current group. This group prioritizes on SMB instead of our general sales force,”” said Ken Price, director of SMB marketing for HP Canada of Mississauga, Ont.
In the future, Price said these HP reps would gain specific industry expertise.
Currently, the centre will be able to piece together solutions involving Microsoft, Oracle and even Intuit products.
“”Customers are demanding and our leader Carly Fiorina wants a high-tech, low cost type of model with no trade offs. We have a focused innovation strategy. If we can’t (do it ourselves) then we will partner with software (vendors) and consulting partners,”” he added.
HP also rolled out new HP branded services, products and financing options for the channel as part of the Smart Office SMB initiative.
Smart Support is a collection of HP-branded services and solutions designed for SMB markets.
HP Smart Support services include:
The HP Learning Curveservice for $209 for a one-year license.
HP Learning Curve provides around the clock online, single-source training for HP hardware and software products and other vendors. It has a global search capability, and an Ask the Expert instant chat function, as well as a list of available topics geared specifically to SMBs.
At $2,170, IT professional Help Desk for SMB enables VARs to reach a support expert 24/7 for customers who have limited IT resources.
HP Care Pack Electronic Vaulting Service at $229 per month for one year is available for HP ProLiant servers. This service features continuous online backup and byte level data replication. Back-ups are monitored on a 24/7 basis.
Finally, Proactive Plus for SMB costing $1,645, customers receive five incidents of reactive software support, plus proactive tasks, over a one-year period for this service.
Proactive Plus for SMB is a proactive and reactive software support services for Microsoft environments on HP servers, the company said.
With an assigned account advisor, partners can resell to SMB customers personalized expertise that allows them to anticipate problems before they occur and, therefore, minimize downtime, the company said.
“”(HP Smart Support) will be sold the same way as are other products are. And, 98 per cent of that activity is through the channel and so we designed parameters to make it easier to sell through the channel,”” Price said.
Price would not divulge margin potential on HP branded support services except to say they would be competitive and help to grow a reseller’s business.
HP has introduced two new notebook lines for SMB customers. They include a thin and light travel notebook (HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 starting at $1,749) and a desktop replacement (HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 starting at $1,849).