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HP Helps Partners Connect With SMB Customers With New Printers, Services

Shane Snider

‘From a channel partner perspective, they can offer an all-inclusive way for an SMB to be productive and to not worry about management,’ HP’s Vivan Chow tells CRN about the company’s new SMB-focused printers and Instant Ink subscription supply service.

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HP Inc. Thursday introduced two new series of small-business-targeted printers with HP+ technology management and access to its Instant Ink subscription supply service during its HP Amplify Executive Forum partner conference.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said that with a single HP Instant Ink account, small businesses get the benefit of automatic device-specific supplies (including ink and toner) for multiple devices in multiple locations. With advanced device management features, the LaserJet Pro 3000 and LaserJet Pro 4000 series will add eight new printers to the company’s business lineup.

Vivian Chow, global head of product and portfolio management for HP’s print hardware systems, said the new offerings will boost channel partners’ ability to connect with customers looking for more service options and enhanced control over devices. These new offerings will be aimed squarely at small and midsize businesses.

“One thing we hear from channel partners and from small businesses is as much as they don’t have time to manage the printer, they often don’t have time to research the printer as well—and they often look to that channel partner as their trusted IT adviser,” Chow told CRN in an interview. “From a channel partner perspective, they can offer an all-inclusive way for an SMB to be productive and to not worry about management. It helps them regain that position of trust with these specific small businesses.”

An HP-conducted survey showed 80 percent of small businesses rely on printing, but 55 percent said they don’t have the time to manage the technology, Chow said. “Typically, the person managing the printer is the office manager or the business owner,” she said. “They have many responsibilities, not just managing the printer. And they don’t have the technical training sometimes. Small businesses really need a printing solution that’s simple and effortless to manage with solutions that boost productivity.”

Mike Turicchi, vice president of Gainesville, Va.-based NCS Technologies and an HP partner, told CRN via email that while his company exclusively uses laser printers, the new offerings will be beneficial for partners. He’s particularly excited about the “as-a-service” aspect.

“We are seeing an uptick in printer sales as businesses return to the office, however, it’s not as robust as the pre-pandemic days,” he wrote. “We also see more interest in Device-as-a-Service and expect that trend to continue. That model simplifies IT asset management for the end user and offers a very predictable cost spread out over time, versus the up-front capital expense model. HP’s new program helps partners be more profitable too by offering more services opportunities and more ways to grow the business relationship.”

Meanwhile, Diana Sroka, global head of consumer print services, said the new services and printers offer a unique selling opportunity for channel paratners. “A channel partner wants to have the best solution to offer and be that trusted partner,” she said. “The manageability of the multiple printer environment is what’s super unique. When a business is purchasing from their channel partner, they don’t want to be treated like a consumer but they also don’t want to be treated like an enterprise who has the affordability of the whole IT department. Channel partners can show that these [printers] are, out of the box, loaded with everything you need so you don’t have to have an IT manager. You can manage the devices and manage plans so you don’t ever have to order supplies again.”

“No one listens to the needs of small business and responds like HP,” said Xavier Garcia, global head of print hardware systems at HP, in a statement. “HP Instant Ink for small business and the new LaserJet Pro with HP+ is an intuitive printing system requiring minimal management so that small-business owners can dedicate their time and energy to growing their businesses.”

The company also said its Instant Ink offerings would add to the company’s sustainability efforts with less shipments, sustainable packaging and easily recycled cartridges.

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Shane Snider

Shane Snider is a senior associate editor covering personal computing, mobile devices, semiconductor news, hardware reviews, breaking news and live events. Shane is a veteran journalist, having worked for newspapers in upstate New York and North Carolina. He can be reached at ssnider@thechannelcompany.com.

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