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HP Will Move 'Thousands' Of Managed Print Services Accounts To Partners

An HP executive tells CRN that the company is “pulling back” from its direct accounts in MPS and re-investing those resources into supporting partners.

HP Inc. will make many of its managed print services accounts available to partners in its U.S. print premier channel program, the company announced Tuesday.

"The coverage we had directly on thousands of accounts, we're pulling back, and re-investing those resources in supporting our U.S. premier partners," said Grad Rosenbaum, vice president and general manager of solutions in the Americas for HP, in an interview with CRN.

[Related: 5 Things To Know About HP's Major Print Security And Software Update]

While HP's premier channel program only covers a "small subset" of partners, HP will place less emphasis overall on direct MPS engagements going forward, Rosenbaum said. That will open up more opportunities for all HP print partners as MPS continues to attract new customers, he said.

"I think it's for our entire channel," Rosenbaum said--with partners now able to pursue "any opportunity we would've tried to secure directly as an HP contract" in the past.

For U.S. print premier channel partners, accounts will become available over time as contracts with HP end, meaning that the shift will occur gradually over several years.

HP will be "hiring aggressively" for roles such as reseller reps, workflow specialists and security specialists to support premier partners, Rosenbaum said.

A larger portion of MPS accounts will now be served by a single dedicated HP lead account manager along with a channel lead for MPS, according to HP. The move covers both HP's A4 and A3 product lines.

Going forward, HP will only directly provide managed print services to the largest enterprises, which often request direct engagement, Rosenbaum said.

"The market is shifting quickly to MPS,” he said, but the future will be "less about HP having an enormous install base" in MPS. HP is not disclosing what percentage of MPS sales will be going through the channel after the switchover.

This move by HP is "fantastic," said Pat Russell, CEO of ImageNet, an Oklahoma City-based premier partner of HP. In the past, "we were in essence competing against each other for the same business" in some cases, Russell said.

"There have been instances in the past where we won business that kept HP out, and where HP won business that kept us out," Russell said. "This allows us to collaborate and work together as a team, which I think is a benefit to the customer base. I think we're stronger as a team than we are as competitors in this type of situation."

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