HP Beefs Up Managed Print Portfolio With Printelligent Buy

Founded in 1988, Printelligent was an early mover in the managed print space, launching its first MPS solution in 1993. Once the deal closes, Printelligent’s work force and technology assets will become part of the LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions unit within HP's Imaging and Printing Group.

HP sees MPS as a huge opportunity and has been pushing partners to add it to their arsenals for the past several years. MPS has been getting more attention since the global economic meltdown for its ability to cut costs and more accurately account for expenses.

"This acquisition puts us even further ahead by strengthening our ability to deliver services and solutions through our channel partners to SMB customers,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, in a statement.

At HP's Americas Partner Conference in March, Joshi told attendees that this opportunity is growing significantly due to the explosion of mobile devices. "We absolutely believe we're going to get incremental pages from smartphones and tablets," Joshi said at the event. "And our ability to capture content and print anywhere, anytime, is a big deal."

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HP's Imaging and Printing Group was pulling in $25 billion in revenue back in 2005 when Joshi issued a call to partners to "sell pages, not printers." The idea was to get partners to offer assessments of customers' overall printing and copier environments and move them to a pay-per-page model when possible.

The message isn't new but it still has plenty of relevance. HP rival Xerox is pushing hard into document management and MPS. Its eConcierge program tracks an end user’s printing fleet needs and lets the customer order supplies through a preferred VAR’s e-commerce portal.

Xerox is also partnering with Cisco to bring more managed print services, mobile print services and cloud IT outsourcing to solution providers. The new alliance lets VARs offer Xerox managed print services over Cisco Borderless Networks and consolidate IT and print management on Cisco infrastructure.

"Managed print services has been around for a long time, but partners around the world and industries around the world have only been kind of doing it a little bit. Now the need is unbelievably intense," Xerox CEO Ursula Burns told CRN in a recent interview.