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HP: No Decision Yet On Colorado Call Center's Fate

The head of Hewlett-Packard&'s Personal Systems Group said he&'s made no decisions on the future of HP's Colorado Springs telesales center.

As part of its efforts to cut costs and simplify operations, the company eliminated the Customer Solutions Group -- HP's standalone sales unit -- and moved sales responsibilities to the three remaining business groups: Technology Solutions Group (TSG), Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) and Personal Systems Group (PSG). The Colorado Springs telesales center now falls under PSG.

When asked if HP intends to eliminate or reduce the role of the telesales center in an effort to reduce channel conflict, Todd Bradley, PSG executive vice president, said, “We haven&'t given any specifics on where we will cut. We are very focused on growing and maintaining our go-to-market capabilities in an efficient way. I can&'t get into the specifics of an individual call center.”

HP solution providers and distributors say telesales reps all too frequently call their accounts to get customers to buy HP products direct.

“The elimination of the Customer Solution Organization gives me no good feelings that the large issue of channel conflict with Colorado Springs direct sales telecenter has been addressed,” said John Marks, CEO of JDM Infrastructure, an HP solution provider in Rosemont, Ill. “That is the [answer] the majority of resellers would be interested in knowing.”

Bradley acknowledged conflicts with direct HP telesales reps, but said both direct and indirect coexist well. “Those situations are going to crop up,” he said. “We will work through them. We&'ve never disadvantaged one channel over the other, and we won&'t do that here.”

He added, “The enemy is not the HP Website; the enemy is Dell. Our challenge is how do we fight with Dell, not how do we fight in and among our channels,” he said.

Bradley also said HP does not intend to reduce the number of HP distributors in North America. "That&'s just rumors gone amuck. We have no imminent plan to do that,” he said. “Our focus is on how we grow our business, and partners are an important part of that mix.”

Separately HP World, the annual user and partner conference sponsored by Interex, has been cancelled. The 10th annual HP World was slated to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from Aug. 14-18.

The International Association of Hewlett-Packard Computing Professionals, known as Interex, said on its Web site that it is shutting down operations, including the conference and publications.

The group is independent from HP, but the vendor previously has worked with Interex to facilitate the show. HP recently decided to produce its own users conference, called HP Technology Forum, to be held in September in New Orleans.

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