SMB is the Next Focus Area and Leverage for Growth: HP Vice President

Rajiv Srivastava, VP and GM at HP India, spoke to us about the company's position in the market, increasing focus on delivering cloud services, and roadmap for the SMB segment.

CW: HP has organized a large partner event across 6 cities in APAC, inviting its composite partner fraternity. What are you discussing with your partners at the Channel Odyssey in India?

SRIVASTAVA: In India, partners from as many as 25 cities, about 200 of them will get to understand HP's ongoing commitment to partners. It is very significant, considering that about 90 percent of revenues are generated from partners. The message will surround new opportunities through enhanced personal computing and printing products and solutions (tablets, workstations and mobile printers), resources (Deal Registration and Lead Engine) enablement, and skill-oriented programs (through a harmonized PartnerOne) that can help partners. Basically, partners are going to get a window about what is in store in the coming months. There is no segmentation of discussion between products and services; we are taking a very holistic approach.

CW: It has been eight months since HP's global announcement of bringing the personal computing and printing (PPS) businesses together. Why has HP India broken the silence only now in terms of formally reaching out to people? Hasn't the gap led to speculation?

SRIVASTAVA: It is surely not pre-planned as a strategy. What we thought was that we must get the business processes in place and then reach out to partners and customers alike. We believe we have done well in the integration of go-to-market plans and strategies, which will help us. The gap, as you term it, was essential. There was no reason for any speculation. We are operational in the market; you have got to do things at the right time. Else, it is a half-baked engagement. It is also about how you manage the channel community. Our channels still see HP as a great brand to work with. Our commitment is 100 percent and we offer our partners a plethora of choices of how they might want to engage with us. Our landscape and fraternity is huge. Our partners understand us and know where we are coming from.

CW: It was during the global realignment that Dion Weisler was brought in to lead HP's APAC PPS? How will HP India leverage his experience for significant gains?

SRIVASTAVA: Dion is very versatile due to the sheer variety of roles and geographies he has managed. His experience in handling customers and diverse markets is phenomenal. It is very natural that countries such as ours will leverage the competencies he brings to the table. His experience is helping us understand technologies and getting far ahead in terms of serving new markets and getting evolved alliances, which will add value to our partner and value ecosystem. At a product level, eventually, if these will increase the addressable market in India, then we stand to gain.

CW: There have been exits too by senior executives in the personal computing and printing business in the aftermath of these alignments. How do you explain these developments?

SRIVASTAVA: It is very difficult to comment on personal choices. At the same time, there have been no significant exits as such. People in HP are consistently with the company and grow here. The senior management and business models in India and across the geographies, across business groups remains more or less the same. To manage an integration of this magnitude, continuity is a key factor; understanding remains deep, then the success steps are easier.

CW: It hasn't been easy for the core HP PC business in India. Q3 figures clearly indicate Lenovo has overtaken HP in India PC shipments. Isn't this a bit disquieting for you, coming from erstwhile HP Personal Systems Group (PSG). Secondly, will printing provide the off-set in a merged set-up?

SRIVASTAVA: It depends on what report you are seeing. We consider the IDC Q3 Report representative of the accurate picture in the PC market--it takes care of all categories, including workstations, and this report clearly places us ahead. If you subtract a few categories, then it is a different story. Therefore, the IDC report, according to us, is the one to fall back on. As far as the printing business goes, we will strive to innovate and deliver best-in-class products and services and retain grow our strengths. So, effectively, we are on a reasonable ground.

CW: Competition such as Lenovo has gained substantially due to large government projects, which add to their numbers. What is HP's strategy in this regard?

SRIVASTAVA: If you see our revenue split, PC business will surely continue to be the foundation for the printing business and it has huge potential. HP will certainly attempt to participate in such large government and education projects and gain more of the give-aways you mentioned. Having said that, we have got a few pockets of growth. Upcountry markets are growth areas because of the explosion of commerce and education. SMB is the next focus area and leverage for growth. So, the go-to-market calls we are taking will propel these plans ahead.

CW: HP has been talking about its Managed Print Services (MPS) and more from a focused SMB perspective lately. What is the MPS roadmap?

SRIVASTAVA: Yes, MPS is going to be a large player for us. Instead of paying for infrastructure, we have customers pay us on a per page or usage basis. So, large banks such as HDFC, HSBC, and ICICI have adopted MPS in a big way. Corporate clients such as the Essar Group and the Tata group, amongst others are seeing value in MPS. And as you pointed out, we are looking at the SMB space very seriously. Cost and ease of use is what the SMB customer looks at.

CW: There is a lot of discussion among some hardware vendors about being cloud-ready, and equipped to take their offerings to the customers. What is HP PPS doing to step up what it already has?

SRIVASTAVA: I talk to customers and there is so much willingness to know the trends. Cloud is the way to go. HP has got huge cloud interests in every product line. We have a huge portfolio of services, which means we know that the cloud needs: Infrastructure, the ability to set it up and provide software on cloud. Then, when we go down to the user, we provide services and charge an equitable model. To illustrate, e-print services (cloud printing) was first envisaged by HP. The potential is huge. As India evolves, small mom and pop shops -- small print service providers -- will use HP print service to print content off the Web. Look at what it will do to the economy. HP is in the best position to spearhead this revolution at the device and people level. I think our new portfolio will address these needs very effectively.

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