LAS VEGAS – Hewlett Packard has painted a big red target on Xerox and the other players in the $US24 billion high-end copier market with its announcement of a suite of products and services designed to increase its share of the pie from 1.5 — 2 per cent to at least ten percent in the next

36 months.

Enterprise imaging and printing costs customers about $US800 per user each year, according to Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, and HP believes that its solutions can cut that number by 30 percent. That would result in annual savings of $1.2 million in a company with 5000 employees

Peter Grant, principal analyst at Gartner Inc., noted that there are still some blind spots in organizations when it comes to managing output. With IT managing printers, and facilities managing copiers, there’s no central management or cost control. “They don’t look at output as a problem until they need cost savings,” he said. “Then they start looking under every rock. … We have seen organizations save millions of dollars.”

“We don’t want to talk about cost per copy (like copier manufacturers),” Joshi said. “We want to talk about total cost of operation for customers.”

Building on last summer’s announcements of fully managed printing and imaging solutions, this round of product announcements included new copier-based high-speed multi-function devices at 55, 65, and 85 pages per minute that will still use LaserJet drivers for ease in administration, and be capable of being centrally managed through Web Jetadmin. HP simultaneously announced a new version of Web Jetadmin that links to its System Insight Manager. Web Jetadmin, says HP, can reduce help desk and management costs by up to 50 per cent.

Customer results are already promising. Katharine Roth, senior manager, Information Infrastructure at National Semiconductor Corp., called in HP when she realized that printing was out of control. By the time the revamp was complete, she had cut the number of printers from 300 to 136, reduced printing-related help desk calls by 85 per cent, and saved over $400,000 per year in operational costs.

In Canada, the channel will deliver the products, and associated services ranging from assessment of a company’s current imaging and printing to delivering a completely managed solution. HP Canada’s director of commercial marketing, Imaging and Printing Group, Peter Grady, says that six partners have been trained and certified: Comprint, Compugen, Island Key, NexInnovations, Protek and VMX. IKON Office Solutions, announced as a key U.S. partner, has not yet been authorized in Canada.

HP also has its eye on another lucrative market: the $US2 billion forms processing market. Each year, 9 billion paper forms are generated, and digitizing them costs about $0.90 each. HP says its new smart pens and paper can cut that cost to $0.20.

Based on Anoto’s technology, the pens rely on specially printed forms with an almost invisible pattern of dots printed on them. When users write on these forms, the data is digitized and either stored in the pen for later uploading or transmitted to a server.

FedEx, for example, is using this technology to cut the time it takes to process paper waybills. The faster the information gets into digital form, the sooner a shipment can be electronically tracked. Robert Carter, executive vice president and CIO, said that the company processes almost one million waybills per day, and enthused, “the thing that motivates us most is that information gets tracked off of this paper.”

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