by Billy MacInnes
HP has highlighted managed print services (MPS) as a significant opportunity for channel partners as it gears up to hand over 80% of direct accounts to partners and to recruit more resellers to sell its Quick Page packaged service to smaller customers.
The vendor claims to have achieved 100% growth in MPS business in the second half of last year although the first half of fiscal 2010 is proving slightly more challenging because of product availability issues.
Those supply difficulties were highlighted in HP's first quarter results last week when the vendor admitted it could not fulfil all demand for ink and laser printer hardware and it expected further issues on the laser front for the rest of the first half of the year.
"We did extremely well in the end," said Alan Hatfield, IPG channel development manager at HP.
"We closed a lot of very large opportunities in our funnel. A lot of our IT partners started to have significant successes and our copier partners really started to ramp volumes."
He told MicroScope: "The opportunity for the channel exists now. We have a strategy for growing managed print services." He confirmed the company's direct focus was "being reduced by up to 80%.
That's quite a significant point. We've restructured our sales approach. We've increased our footprint in existing accounts but are going for fewer accounts."
He revealed the number of direct accounts before 1st November (the start of HP's current fiscal year) was around 2,000 and HP intended to reduce that number to less than 300.
But with such a dramatic shift of accounts, it was important that "channel partners are able to catch the ball. We have a huge commitment to ensuring channel partners are effectively selling managed print services".
HP has ten managed print specialists in its Glasgow-based telesales operation making calls to the customer base and passing leads to partners, as well as two field-based channel sales consultants.
Hatfield also indicated HP was nearing completion of a pilot for its Quick Page service, an all-in-one offer that resellers can sell to customers with up to ten devices onsite, and planned to recruit more partners to sell it from the start of next month.