Everything went wrong last September when Hewlett-Packard attempted to launch Smart Office, the company’s long awaited SMB initiative. As HP CEO Carly Fiorina, along with U.S. president George W. Bush, was about to announce the plan, Hurricane Isabel hit Washington, D.C.,

Everyone ran for

cover.

This time HP is banking on the actual contents of its SMB initiative rather than the presenters to make a splash.

Smart Office is a US$750 million global initiative to help SMB customers get more expertise, reliability, productivity from their IT investments.

In Canada, Smart Office will focus on an SMB Expertise Centre in Markham, Ont. This 20 person shop opened in early February and will be run by Joe Simms.

HP reps at the centre will have regional responsibilities to help channel partners build business engagements, work on deals, arrange demo units and provide product information.

“”This is going to create an experience that they do not get with the current group. This group prioritizes on SMB instead of our general sales force,”” said Ken Price, director of SMB marketing for HP Canada.

In the future, Price said, these HP reps will gain specific industry expertise.

Currently the centre will be able to piece together solutions involving Microsoft, Oracle and Intuit products. “”Customers are demanding and our leader Carly Fiorina wants a high-tech, low cost type of model with no trade-offs. We have a focused innovation strategy. If we can’t then we will partner with software and consulting partners,”” he added.

HP also rolled out new HP branded services, products and financing options for the channel as part of the Smart Office SMB initiative.

Smart Support is a collection of HP-branded services and solutions.

HP Smart Support services announced include:

HP Learning Curve for $209 for a one-year license; IT professional Help Desk for SMB at $2,170; HP Care Pack Electronic Vaulting Service at $229 per month for one year; and Proactive Plus for SMB costing $1,645, with customers receiving five incidents of reactive software support, plus proactive tasks, over a one-year period.

“”(HP Smart Support) will be sold the same way are other products are. And, 98 per cent of that activity is through the channel and so we designed parameters to make it easier to sell through the channel,”” Price said.

Price wouldn’t divulge margin potential on HP brand support services except to say they would be competitive and help to grow a reseller’s business.

HP also introduced two new notebook lines SMB customers. They include a thin and light travel notebook (HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 starting at $1,749) and a desktop replacement (HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 starting at $1,849).

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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