Despite uncertainty surrounding the future path of HP’s
Personal Systems Group, channel sales grew in the most recent quarter and
solution providers will continue to play a key role in HP’s ongoing success, no
matter what the company ultimately decides to do with PSG, a top executive told
attendees at Synnex’s recent partner
“The organization you know as PSG will continue, whether
that’s somewhat independent or completely within HP,” said Stephen
DiFranco, senior vice president and general manager, PSG, Americas, at HP,
during a keynote. “I need a few more weeks of your patience. As soon as we
know, you’ll know.”
In part, DiFranco was on-hand to thank solution providers
for their support. In part, he flew to Greenville, S.C., to share information,
in-person, about HP’s much-publicized August
18 decision to potentially sell-off PSG.
“This partner community is not just selling HP. They’re
keeping their customers on HP,” DiFranco told Channel Insider, in an interview after the keynote. “That’s a
phenomenal statement about the depth of the relationship. It’s an opportunity
to remind ourselves about how important it is to respect and earn this trust.
Because that’s what it was: It’s trust.”
Former eBay executive Meg
Whitman, who joined HP as chairwoman in September, has said she wants to
decide PSG’s next
path by the end of October. As part of that process, HP is reviewing the
factors that have made it the world’s largest buyer of hard drives, memory,
disk drives and other computer components, DiFranco said.
As the company considers PSG’s future, HP’s resources are
also centered on new products, categories and strategies designed to help
solution providers continue selling the brand into enterprise and SMB accounts.
“The things I’m really focused on are making sure we’re
focusing on bringing products to consumers, commercial and SMBs,” DiFranco told
One over-reaching theme is to brand HP consistently so
buyers—both corporate and consumer—are better aware of the HP name and the full
range of the vendor’s varied and expansive product line, he said. Apple, for
example, has done a good job of making its products immediately recognizable
among other vendors’ offerings, said DiFranco.
“HP wants to do the same,” he said.
Similarly, HP is looking to integrate consumer-friendly
or consumer-attractive features and capabilities into its enterprise-oriented
technologies. This closely maps the consumerization
of IT, brought on in large part by the invasion of smartphones, tablets and
apps that IT departments must now integrate and support.
HP has seen big demand for its mobile
workstations, designed for data-hungry executives and employees previously
tethered to their desks because earlier iterations of notebooks were unable to
process the engineering, large accounting files, or graphic designs they needed
to access, said DiFranco.
“A lot of people thought we were investing where there
wasn’t a demand. I have, for the third quarter in a row, not been able to ship
all the orders I have,” he said. “Mobile workstations are a phenomenon. It’s
giving mobility and portability to workstation users. Mobile workstations are
truly fast notebooks.”
The company is also developing another facet of mobility,
WebOS. Despite closing down its TouchPad
tablet business earlier this year, HP continues to work on a better business
model around the mobile operating system, said DiFranco.
HP plans to release ultrabooks for SMBs within the next
few months, he said. These lightweight notebooks play off the company’s view of
the blending worlds of consumers and corporate, and will be priced with the
channel in mind, said DiFranco, without giving further details.
“We will still make it financially beneficial for you to
be an HP PSG franchise,” he told Synnex channel partners.
The market, of course, is not standing still as HP
determines PSG’s future. Already, some once-loyal HP customers are considering
alternatives, a Dell-sponsored IDC poll, out
today, found. Two-thirds of current or prospective HP customers with 500
employees said they are concerned by HP’s changes in business strategy and
leadership, the study found. Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they are
reconsidering an alternative server vendor; 49 percent of respondents are
considering new or additional PC vendors, the study said.