HP Beefs Up SMB Total Care Package With New Products

If anybody had doubts that Hewlett-Packard wants to go after small business dollars in a big way, the computing giant made that intention clear Monday with the introduction of a slew of new products and services aimed at SMBs.

"In terms of the SMB opportunity, we think the total addressable market for HP solutions in the United States is $55 billion," said Stephen DeWitt, vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Systems Group (PSG) " Americas, speaking at a press briefing in Cupertino, Calif.

DeWitt, who is also HP's interim channel chief for the Americas while the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company searches for a replacement for the recently departed Adrian Jones, stressed HP channel partner involvement in the rollout of the vendor's expanded Total Care offering for SMBs.

The company's Solution Provider Organization (SPO) introduced an HP SMB Elite designation for channel partners with track records serving SMBs back in March.

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Products introduced Monday spanned HP's broad business portfolio and included new desktop PCs and thin-client solutions, servers, storage devices and print services. HP also punched up its HP Access program with benefits and rebates available to SMBs purchasing HP hardware, including the availability of $2,000 in straight rebates and $1,000 towards software and service offers.

DeWitt's own business unit was responsible for several new offerings in HP's client PC portfolio, including three new HP Pro 3000 series business desktops and the HP Thin Clients that are now being bundled with entry-level HP ProLiant G6 servers and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 to deliver virtualized desktop environments to SMBs. There are three SMB Virtualization bundles, with the cheapest starting at $3,500.

"Virtualization is really driving down into the midmarket," said Brian Burch, director of SMB marketing in HP's PSG " Americas unit.

According to DeWitt, virtualized desktop technology was too "complicated" and unproven for SMBs until recently.

But with new, easier-to-install technology and the potential of an economic recovery in 2010 driving an anticipated large-scale commercial IT refresh, that's about to change, DeWitt contended.

Next: HP Taps Huddle.net For Collaboration Tools

HP also introduced new desktop-sharing and collaboration tools for SMBs. These included a partnership with online workspace developer Huddle.net, a U.K.-based company that first caught Channelweb.com's eye at the DEMO 08 startup showcase in January 2008.

The Huddle.net package, a cloud-based collaboration, project management and document sharing resource, includes 20 workspaces and 20 GB of storage for $75 per month.

"Teaming up with the world's largest technology company is yet another validation of Huddle as a principal player in the collaboration market," said Alastair Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Huddle.net. "With Huddle, HP customers gain access to the enterprise-level collaboration tools at the SMB prices that deliver competitive advantage and increase business efficiency."

HP also unveiled several new servers and storage devices for SMBs. These included the HP ProLiant ML110 and DL120 G6 servers, and three new or enhanced storage solutions -- the HP StorageWorks DAT 320 Tape Drive, StorageWorks D2D Backup System and LeftHand P4000 SAN Solution.

In addition to those backroom products, HP is targeting a new series of ProCurve switches at SMBs, according to Lisa Wolfe, a marketing manager with HP Worldwide Business Protection Solutions. The HP ProCurve 2520 POE Network Switch series enables wireless access, video and VoIP, she said.

Rounding out the Total Care message, the company that got its start as a maker of printers wasn't likely to forget about its Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) in as broad an initiative as SMB Total Care appears to be.

HP's compact monochrome LaserJet P2055d/dn printers range in price from $299 to $399 and promise up to 50 percent savings over equivalent fusing-based equipment in the typical small office, according to Herbert Koeck, vice president and general manager of LaserJet, Americas in IPG. Some of HP's environmentally focused printing tools -- namely, the Eco Solutions Print Console and Green Action Plan for Office Printing -- have also been adjusted for an SMB audience, Koeck said.

Speaking to HP's recent portfoliowide product and services pushes, which include Monday's SMB Total Care additions and last week's Converged Infrastructure Architecture play for the data center, Denali Advanced Integration's John Convery described HP as "on message and ready to do battle."

"I've been in this industry a long time and never before have I seen a big battleship like HP act and execute with the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup," said Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations at Denali, a Redmond, Wash.-based HP Elite Partner. "Decisions are made in weeks not months, in days not weeks, in hours not days -- everything with a sense of urgency."