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HP outlines new UK structure

Hewlett-Packard and Compaq customers understood the logic of the two companies' merger before some company employees, according to Stephen Gill, the new UK and Ireland general manager of the merged organisation.

He was speaking as HP laid out its four core business groups in the UK and Ireland, along with the individuals who will lead them.

HP's operations outside the US will play a key role in determining the success of the merger, said Stephen Gill, HP's UK and Ireland general manager.

The UK and Ireland operations are composed of four groups: Enterprise Systems Group (ESG), led by general manager Andy Isherwood; HP Services (HPS), led by Jim Kent; Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) with Ian Whittaker as general manager; and Personal Systems Group (PSG) led by Jude Meadow.

"The customers understand the logic of what we are doing, in fact, our customers understood the merger before some of our own employees did and before some outside commentators. Customers want fewer strategic partners and we're in a position to meet that requirement with services and products using open systems that are based on industry standard architectures," Gill said.

Up to 60% of HP's revenue is generated outside its North American operations and HP's UK and Ireland division is the second largest outside North American, Gill said.

Services manager Kent said the new HP sees itself as the only credible alternative to IBM, but its focus will be on being the best in class rather than the biggest. "We are looking at developing and maintaining a deep relationship over a very long period of time with a small number of very large clients," he said.

In enterprise systems, the post-merger HP has hit the ground running, with HP and Compaq e-mail systems merged from day one and is now focusing on reaching out to customers in its core business groups, according to Isherwood.

"I cannot create products here in the UK, I provide the interface to the customer, and in the last 16 days I have seen more customers than ever before. They are clearly watching and waiting, but we have received incredibly positive feedback," Isherwood said.

Isherwood's group focuses on enterprise IT infrastructure products such as storage, servers and management software. The group has 20 customers in the UK and Ireland, out of 170 HP customers for the group worldwide.

"Customers first ask, 'Who is my account manager?' and then they ask for a detailed breakout of the three year roadmap we have provided," he said.

HP's and Compaq's channel partner strategies were similar before the merger, and will continue with coverage as the first priority and the cost to market the second priority, he said.

There is little customer overlap in the enterprise group. "HP had 70 global corporate accounts in this segment, Compaq had 72 and there was only an overlap of about 30 customers. In some divisions, there was no overlap at all, like in printers," he said.

One major focus for the UK and Ireland operations will be the telecommunication market, Isherwood said. "The telecom industry is an absolutely key sector for us. Telecoms is an £8bn business for us," Isherwood said.

HP's and Compaq's offerings for telecommunication operators will be consolidated into the Opencall product line; which will then be used to develop, integrate and deliver voice, data and converged services, Isherwood said.

One other important area of development will be in providing services and products over the Internet, not just for customers in the telecommunications industry, but across HP.

Whittaker's Imaging and Printing Group will play a role in this.

"We will redefine printing and imaging with Web-enabled services and products. It is about driving our digital imaging business, about moving into the photo finish market place and about transforming commercial printing through digital publishing," Whittaker said.

Indigo, the commercial printing and digital publishing company HP acquired last March, will play the leading role in helping HP to gain a foothold in the digital printing market, Whittaker said.

"We will continue to fight and win at the low end, but we will also expand with a continuing focus on our 'smart supplies' strategy for ordering over the Web. It is also important to note that we will remain very, very dependent on our channel and consumer customers," Whittaker said.

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