HP Fires Back At Xerox Managed Print Claims

HP's breadth in IT gives it a lot of muscle behind its printing and imaging business, and the more that business grows, the more incentives it can offer partners, said Herbert Koeck, vice president and general manager, LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions for HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), Americas.

"As long as we continue to serve our customers' needs better than our competitors, we will continue to lead the market," said Koeck in an interview with CRN. "That applies to everything we are doing right now. We have been the ones that have been working hard to have the most environmentally responsible and most secure printing solutions. That's what helps our partners and resellers stay competitive in the market today."

Koeck was responding to comments made to CRN earlier this week by Russell Peacock, Xerox North America President. In a meeting at Xerox's midtown Manhattan showroom this week, Peacock asserted that Xerox was in its best position in a decade to take market share in printing and imaging because its managed print services offerings for VARs were stronger than all of its competitors.

"I'm not sure the HP legacy is as rich. They clearly want to leverage EDS, and you know, prior to EDS being acquired, EDS worked with Xerox's Alliance Partner Prorgam. We were working with a number of deals and I would conclude from what I know that we were a long way ahead of where EDS was," Peacock told CRN in the interview.

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Koeck said that HP understood where printing and imaging fit as a technology in the context of the broader IT world. Only HP, Koeck argued, can provide the same breadth of technology solutions to offer VARs and customers the most choices.

"Imaging and printing in the future is part of a networked, Web-enabled environment," Koeck said. "Don't get me wrong, but I think we are perfectly positioned as a company to help our channel partners with those services. Who else can make you an offer on imaging and printing at the same time as make you an offer on networks, at the same time make you an offer on business processing, at the same time make you an offer on storage?"

Koeck alluded to Xerox's acquisition of ACS, which Xerox completed in February and through which will scale its BPO efforts.

"When you go with a services company, it's great to hear they were done in February. We've been doing this for years already," Koeck said, referencing HP's 2008 acquisition of EDS. "It's an interesting phenomenon. You know, the whole copying space today, customers are telling us they're just not satisfied with huge machines sitting around, 30-to-50 percent underutilized. Why do you need print and copying jobs with huge machines producing hundreds of pages a minute when the average document length is three and a half pages? I think there are different ways to look at it."

Next: HP's MPS Offerings Seen To Resonate In mid-April, HP announced new additions to its HP Access Control Printing Solutions, a suite of print services that now include HP Access Control Intelligent Print Manager, HP Access Control Job Accounting and HP Access Control Secure Print Express.

At the HP Americas Partner Conference, HP also announced an Imaging and Printing Group Supplies Credit for partners, which counts revenue from partner sales of IPG supplies toward HP PartnerOne membership levels.

"We see this world as getting more complicated, but we have great experience. We started managed print services in HP five years ago," Koeck said. "There's a need for more solutions now than ever. That's the reason we're leaving costs down and letting partners make more business. Customers want solutions that are affordable."

Koeck declined to offer the number of partners that were certified as Office Printing Solutions (OPS) Elite with HP, but said the number is in the triple digits.

He said HP will continue to leverage its IPG muscle in enterprise and SMB alike and had the channel track record to keep competitors at bay.

"I'm not commenting on what they said or what they didn't say," Koeck said, referring to Xerox. "I know that from our side, the customer need is for reduced costs. We don't have an HP infrastructure where we have thousands of technicians running around the country just to keep copying fleets alive. Who is paying for these customers? I trust our products and am willing to go to any benchmark. But customers are willing to pay for services. They are willing to pay for something that makes them more competitive, not for fat channel margin."

Count Technology Integration Group, a San Diego-based national solution provider, among partners that champion both vendors' aggressive managed print services offerings to drive channel opportunity.

TIG is an OPS Elite partner with HP and also a PagePack 3.0 partner with Xerox.

On the HP side, said Becky Connolly, director of computer and imaging supplies at TIG, customers get a "great price" on hardware and supplies and in the past year especially have come a number of improvements to HP's managed print approach.

But both manufacturers supply "well-baked programs," she said.

"It's end-user determinant," Connolly said. "If an end user is already engaged and has a fleet full of HP devices, it doesn't make sense to pull them all out. If they're Xerox-oriented, why would they want to remove all their Xerox devices? I think they're both tremendous programs, each is unique in its go-to-market value, and how we go-to-market is based on the user's environment."