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HP Sees PC, Printer Growth As Customers See Less Fixed Office Space And Mix Personal, Business Time

The company touts its new device-as-a-service, or DaaS, as a way to ease companies away from the hardware purchasing decision towards treating a PC, and everything attached to it, as an operating expense.

A move away from fixed office spaces, combined with a continuing blurring of business time and personal time, is having a major impact on how businesses consume technology.

That's the word from Ron Coughlin (pictured), president of personal systems at HP Inc., who told attendees of the Varnex 2017 conference that his company has become a leader in digital technology in the four years since Hewlett-Packard split into HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

Varnex is a peer-to-peer community of solution providers that work with Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex. Partners that join Varnex receive training and services opportunities not available to other Synnex partners, and are provided a forum for partnering with each other.

[Related: Synnex's Varnex Community Evolving To Meet New Digital Economy, Other Customer Initiatives]

Coughlin used his keynote presentation to introduce HP Inc. as a leader in the PC and printing space with four straight quarters of revenue growth under its belt.

"This is despite people saying PC and printer business is falling," Coughlin said.

The office space of the future is moving from a fixed location to where people work, Coughlin said. This is leading to a blending of personal and work lives, where 80 percent of people are saying they do work during personal time and 60 percent say they do personal business during work time. At the same time, only 47 percent of millennials are satisfied with the devices they now have.

"CIOs of the world are challenged by making this adjustment," he said.

HP is responding in a number of ways, including its new focus on device-as-a-service. With device-as-a-service, channel partners provide customers with devices with consumption-based pricing which scales up and down according to use.

"It's my No. 1 priority," he said. "Make no mistake. We will drive it … This is not a concept. This is a business."

HP is also providing devices with new form factors, Coughlin said. These include the HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2, touted as the world's thinnest and lightest business convertible PC; the HP Zbook X2, which the company calls the first workstation which converts to a tablet by detaching the keyboard; the HP Z VR backpack, which is a new wearable virtual reality device; and the HP Spectra 13, which HP calls the world's thinnest touchscreen laptop.

HP is also a leader in 3D printers and has introduced the ability to print using plastic two years ago and print with metal last year, Coughlin said. The company has outgrown the market for 15 quarters. "We believe in the 3D space, and will be a leader in the next industrial revolution," he said.

"I've been skeptical of DaaS, as HP, Cisco, and Dell sometimes talk about the idea but then not follow through,", said Steve Barnett, owner and CEO of Streamline Networks, a West Los Angeles, Calif.-based managed service provider. "But HP's new DaaS is catching my attention. I'm on the sidelines, for now, waiting to see what will happen. But I will be checking it out closely. We are a small MSP, and tend to follow the elephant's tracks."

Device-as-a-service seems like something that will appeal to small businesses who are already used to some services and leasing PCs, but which seems to be more profitable than leasing, said Nick Moga, president of PCSS, a Covington, Va. solution provider.

"My pitch to my customers is, you be the best dentist in the world, or the best doctor in the world, and we will handle the rest," Moga told CRN. "That's why we've been moving them away from purchasing products to services, like security."

"The speed of how businesses are changing means that we need to be always bringing customers the latest technologies," said Yawai Ng, president of Phaselock Systems International, an Ottawa, Ontario solution provider. "It is our job to make sure customers are always aware of what they need to be more productive."

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