HP presses Top Gear to deliver Solutions to SMBs
The growth of the Indian economy, digitalization of technology and the ambition of the Indian business community are the main factors that have made India a lucrative market for the IT vendors. Apart from the opportunities in the metro cities, lots of opportunities are emerging in the B- and C-class cities. If we watch the Asia-Pacific market as a whole, it will become evident that India and China have emerged as the hot grounds for SMB (Small and Medium Business) markets. It is projected that, by 2008, SMBs will invest around 25 billion dollars in technology, which can further be broken down into investment in telecommunication and IT. Thus, it is assumed that around 16 billion dollars are likely to flow in the IT sector only.
Nature of SMBs
Today, the Indian SMBs have become ubiquitous across all the geographies of the country. But as far as the IT requirements of this lucrative segment are concerned, it can be said that their requirements vary according to the nature of their business. Thus, catering to the requirements of SMBs is before every vendor in India. Earlier, the solutions that were available for SMBs were basically the toned-down version of enterprise solutions. But gradually the vendors have changed their approach towards SMBs and now they are especially designing products and solutions, as per their requirements and business nature.
HP’s Approach towards SMBs
Today, HP believes that SMBs are the key driver of the Indian economy and has taken a number of major initiatives to address the requirements of this segment. Working in this direction, in 2004, HP launched Smart Office initiatives, which carries all elements that can fulfil the entire IT requirements of SMBs. Speaking about these initiatives, Subhodeep Bhattacharya, National Manager – SMB Marketing, HP India, says, “It basically is an umbrella programme, through which we are focussing on the upcountry market where the SMBs are really coming up strongly. There is something called DIAFA (design in Asia for Asia) and we are including a lot of products which are DIAFA for SMBs.”
Under the Smart Office initiatives, HP offers a new set of products, solutions, support, services and partnerships, which are designed specifically for SMBs. Currently, HP is doing a lot of market research in this area. HP is mainly focussing on the commercial range of products, which include file and print, communication and collaboration, document management and storage solutions, servers that work together to increase productivity and remove the complexity of their businesses.
In order to deliver better service to the SMB customers, HP undertakes a lot of activities like road shows, seminars, tele-calling, eDM and direct mailing (DM), etc. Till date, HP has covered road shows in 25 cities and planning to do much more in the future times. Subhodeep, says, “In these road shows, we cover all our products and solutions meant for the SMBs. We call the customers from that particular cities and towns and then give presentation to those customers.”
Under the activities of sending eDM and DM, HP shoots Smart Office newsletter to a large range of customers across India. These newsletters do not carry HP products or solutions. Rather, information on the emerging technology that can bring about radical changes in the business process of the SMB customers. The basic aim of the newsletters is to create awareness about the technology, which can reduce the complexity of the SMB business process.
As part of the Smart Office initiatives, HP has also got alliances and solutions program, which endeavours to simplify the working capital and cash flow cycles of SMB customers through various finance options. Through HP’s in-house Smart Finance Service, the company tries to provide IT lifecycle financial support and end-to-end services, helping SMBs to enjoy additional investments, thus enhancing the benefits. In addition to that, HP has also tied up with the ICICI bank and is in the process of having a joint program. The target is to look at the top 20 cities of the country and then expand, as per the requirement. Besides that, HP has got HP Smart Support, which is a collection of HP-branded services and solutions specifically designed to maximize technology investments made by the SMB customers. Through HP Smart Support, HP provides easy and flexible support offerings to ensure performance and high availability of the IT system while setting up the foundation for business agility that allows the customers to leverage and integrate existing and future technology.
To further assist its customers, HP also offers call centre facilities, wherein the customers from any part of the country can call on the toll-free number. Apart from that, it has got SMB agents who can direct the customers to choose the right solution and products, as per their business requirement. HP has also developed a web site to provide basic education to the customers. On this web site, any individual can get detailed information about the SMB products, solutions and complete profile of programs. In addition to that, there are newsletters that the customers can subscribe and can download software and update their drivers. On this front, Subhodeep adds, “Today, we all know that the SMBs lack the basic technical know-how because they do not have technical team to assist them. So, for them, we have created resources which help any customers to choose the right products.”
According to Subhodeep, the Smart Office not only generates revenue for HP, but also provides vast opportunities for its channel partners. Apart from that, HP is also concurrently developing a partner set which is still in progress. They will be called as the SMB solution partners. But outside of this, any partner is free to sell and collaborate with HP for the SMB segment.
The future plan of HP is to focus on SMBs across the key verticals, covering Manufacturing, Pharma, Government and Education, to drive demand for its products and solutions.
HP has launched a comprehensive line-up of new printing and imaging products, including two new color Multifunction Printers (HP Color LaserJet CM1015/CM1017 Multifunction Printer series); one monochrome All-in-One (HP LaserJet 3050z All-in-One), one color single-function LaserJet printer (HP Color LaserJet 2700 Printer series), two monochrome single-function LaserJet printers (HP LaserJet P3005 and P2015 Printer series) and a scanning solution (HP Scanjet N6010).
HP has enhanced its computing product offerings for SMBs with five new business PCs (HP Compaq dc7700, dc5700, dc5750, dx7300 & dx2700), a thin client solution (HP Compaq t5725) and three new monitors which are designed and engineered to simplify business customers’ most troublesome IT concerns.
HP’s latest suite of products can support the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors and Intel vPro technology to benefit from remarkable energy-saving computing performance, as well as technologies which enhance desktop PC security and manageability.
In the end…
Gradually, the Smart Office initiative is gaining popularity among the Indian SMB customers. With the entire gamut of products and solutions, most rigorous channel partners network, largest coverage in terms of service and support and HP’s highest number of tie-ups with ISVs and solutions providers, HP is gearing itself up to offer reliability and value-added service to the SMB customers. a great challenge