HP Unleashes Three New Device-As-A-Service Plans; AI-Based Proactive Analytics And Management Are Key To Channel Charge

HP is kicking its Device-as-a-Service offensive into high gear with three new formal plans aimed at accelerating the adoption of multiyear device deals.

The new plans -- Simplified, Enhanced and Premium – include "proactive" analytics and management and even a new artificial intelligence-based Solution Recommendation tool aimed at preventing downtime and increasing worker productivity.

The three new plans are a major step away from what has been up until now a customized, a la carte offering that made each deal a custom offering.

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"What we heard loud and clear from our partners and customers was, 'Please just tell me what I need.' So we have packaged together a combination of hardware, certain life-cycle services and analytics and proactive management," said Bill Avey, general manager and global head of personal systems, who has spearheaded the Device-as-a-Service channel offensive.

"As you move from good, better to best we start adding more services to create more value as well as unlocking more and more of the insights available from the software platform," Avey said.

All three plans include proactive management and analytics from an HP-developed Device-as-a-Service analytics platform, but as customers move higher up the stack there will be more proactive management functionality.

The Simplified plan, for example, includes basic diagnostic and intervention with simplified reporting to IT departments. The more advanced Premium level, meanwhile, includes a full suite of analytics including remote password management. "We unlock more and more features as we move up the stack," said Avey.

HP is also demonstrating at its HP Reinvent World Partner conference a new artificial intelligence-based HP-developed Solution Recommendation prototype tool aimed at helping customers make device selections based on business dynamics. That includes whether the user is a mobile worker or not and what kind of applications the employee is using day to day.

"The software is based on AI and it will build on itself over time," he said. "We now live in a world where data begets data and more data begets better and better solutions," said Avey. "This is not a one and done. Through our analytics and proactive management platform we'll be constantly out there monitoring what is happening."

Avey, who developed the popular HP managed print services program before taking on the Device-as-a-Service channel model, said key to success is an "assessment of needs" and what sort of savings and efficiencies can be created with the contractual services model.

One of the benefits of the Device-as-a-Service model is the ability for customers to change devices upward or downward based on whether a worker changes jobs or faces new application challenges, said Avey. "This is not purely an upsell," he said. "We will go to partners and customers to identify opportunities for them to spend more effectively in the future. Not everybody needs the most expensive chip."

Avey stressed that the HP Device-as-a-Service plans are multivendor, incorporating devices from competitors that includes Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. In fact, partners often press HP on whether the platform can be used with competitive devices. "Our answer is, ’Absolutely,’" said Avey."We want to partner with our partners to be the service provider."

Avey credited Personal Systems President Ron Coughlin as being a "passionate" advocate for multivendor and multi-OS support in the Device-as-a-Service business.

The multivendor support comes from the lessons learned from the HP managed print services model, said Avey. HP's managed print services business began to support multivendor offerings after it acquired Printelligent, a managed print services solution provider, six years ago.

As part of the Device-as-a-Service strategy, HP is also working with other companies to add even more functionality to its software platform. HP, for example, recently said that it was adding VMware's AirWatch unified endpoint management to its Device-as-a-Service software platform.

The three new Device-as-a-Service plans come with the business growing quickly and up significantly from the same period one year ago, said Avey. "Our partner-led [Device-as-a-Service sales] funnel is growing at two times the pace of the direct funnel," he said.

The sales gains also come with research showing that 70 percent of customers re looking to move to Device-as-a-Service. That is driven by an appetite for premium devices and a desire to upgrade devices more often. "People don’t want to have their fantastic consumer device and then come to work and get a pizza box," he said. "That's obviously good for end users, but also for channel partners looking to accelerate sales."