HELPING THE SMB CUSTOMER – NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL

March 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Beth Vanni

Beth Vanni

How HP is using its vast Resources to Help SMB customers and Partners survive the Downturn

The fact that there 6.3m SMB customers in the U.S. and that they’re projected to grow 5x the rate of the market overall in 2009 isn’t news. The fact that the SMB market represents a $60+ billion dollar market for commercial computing products isn’t new either. But, amidst all the industry noise about how critical small business is to the US economy, what are the largest manufacturers really doing to help this customer segment, and more importantly the partners who service them, thrive and grow?

Well, sometimes bigger really can be better. With total revenues of over $120b and 8 of every 10 SMB customers already owning some HP equipment, HP is leveraging its vast resources and broad product portfolio to take a very active role in giving SMB customer and SMB-focused partners new reasons to invest in new equipment, get support and collaborate. Today, HP announced new products, new support, a new SaaS delivery model and new partner program offerings – all focused on the under-999 employee customer space.

Of the more than a dozen new offerings announce today,here are several of the more notable ones that we thing demonstrate HPs depth of resources and commitment to help SMB customers and their partner advisors to save money or be more productive in the short term:

New Officejet Printers — three new families of OfficeJet printers were announced which reduce customers’ cost per page and energy consumption by up to 50%.
HP Insight Remote Support — software provides SMB customer reliable around-the-clock remote monitoring support, with diagnostic data being provided to local HP solution providers. Also generates service dispatches for hardware issues without active involvement of staff or support phone calls.
SaaS cloud Computing Offering — resellers can jump-start their entrance into SaaS deliver by selling a set of Microsoft messaging and collaboration solutions including Exchange 2007, Sharepoint Services, Commercial Messaging Services, Mobile Messaging, Email Archiving and Enhanced Messaging. Hosted by USA.net, a leading Microsoft hosting provider, partners can sell these applications as part of a monthly subscription service for X% of the comparable on-premise software licensing costs.
Extended Financing – available through HP Total Financing, two offers were announced. One is a zero percent 12-month promotion that allows small businesses to pay only $1 after the interest-free annual term. The second offering is a zero percent 36-month lease that provides a fair market value purchase option at the end of the lease term.
Total Care Access Card – sold as a $1,000 value and with a SRP of $49, this card gives SMB customers and/or partners a host of software and business branding and communication tools to help them work smarter and grow their company’s marketing presence. The card is sold to channel partners at a significant discount,intended for resale by partners along with other HP solutions and services.
New SMB Elite Program – partners demonstrating focus and success in the SMB segment can now certify as “SMB Elite” within HP’s PartnerOne program. Effective on May 1, the designation will provide additional marketing support, leads and sales coverage.
Deal Registration Expanded – HP extended its Deal Registration programs (including NBO and others) to all of its 25,000+ partners in the US.There was not an announcement of specific enhancements or incremental funding available through the Deal Registration programs. But, HP’s intent is to give rewards to more partners for selling its broad SMB product portfolio and providing long-term support to SMB customers.

When your market position is #1 in 13 of the 18 product segments in which you compete, one might argue you could rest on your laurels. But, with Dell, IBM, Lexmark, Toshiba and many others trying to get their unfair share of this high-growth customer segment, it’s encouraging to see HP continue to apply its considerable resources. With $10 billion of cash in the bank and a long-term commitment to SMB customers, HP may well create its own economic stimulus package for the US market.  And, hopefully, many of the partners who choose to double-down their bet on HP’s long-term commitment to partner support will capture a reasonable piece of that pie.

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