HP Launches Partner-Owned Contract Managed Print Program

The HP Managed Print Specialist Resell Program, which allows partners to "hold the paper," is already winning raves from solution providers who see it as a new competitive weapon to drive robust double-digit services margins, while at the same time gaining significant account advantages in a market where HP is a market leader.

The program, one of the first day highlights of HP's annual gathering for technology buyers and technical professionals running through Thursday in Las Vegas, puts partners into the driver's seat in what is a fast-growing market. The program allows partners to leverage proven HP-managed print tools and services that have won HP itself high marks in customer satisfaction for managed print services.

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"We believe this is a game-changer," said Bill Avey, vice president, Partner Managed Services for HP, noting that the building blocks for the new program come from HP's acquisition of managed print services provider Printelligent two years ago. "There is pent-up demand for this."

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Avey estimates that a whopping 80 percent of the partners already in the HP agent program will take advantage of the full-fledged HP Managed Print Reseller program, with 50 percent of those continuing to use the agent model, too, for some accounts.

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of CB Technologies, a Westminster, Calif.-based HP enterprise and agent managed print partner, said the new full-fledged program provides more opportunity for partners like CB Technologies to drive a wide range of new HP business by taking account control.

"From my viewpoint, I feel more involved in the actual account when I am taking the deal direct rather than as an agent," said Ireland. "When we win the deal direct and hold the paper, we feel we have won the customer and have the ability to expand HP's presence in that account. I just feel like under the agent program they are doing business with HP and I am supporting HP. When we hold the paper, I feel like they are doing business with me."

That said, Ireland said she is also a big fan of the HP managed print agent program. HP's managed print prowess with outstanding tools and support have given fits to HP print competitors, she said. "When competitors walk into an HP managed print account, they turn around and walk out," she said. "They know they can't win because HP does such a phenomenal job. I just love the reputation of HP Managed Print. The customer scores are off the charts."

Ireland said she sees CB Technologies HP managed print services growing considerably over the next several years, accounting for about 5 percent of sales. "We see it as a nice, profitable business for us," she said.

John Convery, president of John Convery Consulting, a channel consulting company based in Issaquah, Wash., said the new HP program is sure to give a big market-share shot in the arm to HP's managed print business."The larger partners want to control the P and L [profit and loss] and take title to the paper," said Convery."This allows the partner to build the customer relationship and enhance their margin. Under the agent program you are dealt the hand you get whatever it is -- one point, two points, three points,..etc. By holding the paper, partners control the margin and control the price quote and customer information."

HP, for its part, stressed that the HP Managed Print Specialist Resell Offering provides partners the ability to hold the paper and drive top-line revenue without taking on the huge managed print services infrastructure costs that have pushed more than a few partners to the financial brink. Under an HP Bundled Page program, partners are provided what HP calls an "all-inclusive bundle of pricing and services for resell to the customer, with an 'all in' click [or cost per page] price for supplies, maintenance and break/fix services, as well as the associated delivery and labor with post-sales support."

The program also includes access to a cloud-based application -- HP ExpressDecision Portal -- that connects customers, partners and HP Support in a chain, providing partners with "proposal and quote generation for cost-per-page pricing, client invoicing and reporting, device monitoring, and account and contract management." HP said the portal also provides seamless access to printer supplies, services and maintenance.