Much like HP’s Print 2.0 push in the SMB space, in the enterprise market the vendor wants to take a more holistic approach says Jean-Paul Desmarais, IPG marketing with HP Canada. It’s not just about printers, he says, but applying knowledge and IT expertise to simplify the printing environment, improve the workflow and optimize the infrastructure with an eye on reducing costs and enhancing productivity.
With a suite of new management tools from HP, Desmarais says businesses can better understand their workflow and how printing fits into it. Companies can then make decisions to re-allocate resources or make changes, such as shifting a higher capacity printer from a department under-utilizing it to a department with higher demand.
“You can only do that if you understand what’s happening in the environment,” said Desmarais.
While Lexmark Canada (NYSE: LXK) recently launched a series of vertical-specific printing solutions for the legal, health care and education spaces, Desmarais says HP prefers to take a more holistic approach that lets partners tailor offerings to meet specific business needs.
That approach is welcomed by WBM Office Systems, a Saskatoon-based solutions provider and HP Gold business partner. Brett Bailey, manager of marketing and business development with WBM, says Lexmark’s vertical approach is too product-centric. With HP, he says, it’s more about understanding the customer’s workflow and less about the technology.
“As a solution-provider we like that approach because its lets us be experts on the client and bring the technology in,” said Bailey. “We have more versatility; we’re not ramming in technology to fit.”
HP is investing in its managed print services offerings, and has launched new assessment services that include tools for industry benchmarks, optimization, managed environments and workflow discovery. Desmarais says more and more customers are having discussions around managed print services, and Bailey adds that’s the direction WBM is moving-in as well.
WBM recently received a large purchase order for printers, and rather than fulfill it, Bailey says they went to talk to the customer about their printing needs, asking for the chance to go into their environment and assess their situation. What they found was a large group of employees huddled around a departmental printer waiting for their print jobs.
By putting in an HP mailbox system, which routes each person’s print job to their own box, Bailey says the workers were satisfied, and at a lower cost to the enterprise. WBM also brought the printers into a managed services arrangement, which has since been extended to the company’s other offices through WBM’s VentureTech Network partners.
We’ve moved past the idea of the paperless office, says Bailey. It’s not about changing the way people work but understanding it and facilitating it. He adds WBM is seeing strong business in print infrastructure assessment and optimization, consolidating with multi-function printers (MFPs), and more colour usage in the enterprise.
The City of Langford, B.C. is one business that has consolidated its print environment with MFPs. Mike Palmer, information system administrator with the municipality, says he used to have a diverse environment of scanners and different models of laser printers but management became a challenge.
“We knew the direction we wanted to go, we just needed a solution that would take us there,” said Palmer. “The HP MFP was the solution we needed. We were able to consolidate all those devices into one while keeping that robust scanning capability.”
Langford has a managed print services arrangement with its local VAR, Island Key Computer, and Palmer says he likes the insight it gives the municipality into its print environment.
“It gives us a much better idea of how much printing is actually costing us,” said Palmer. “We would buy a new (consumables) kit every 1000 prints but we didn’t have any idea how much it really costs. It just gives us a clearer idea of how we’re printing, and it has helped us to add smaller workgroup MFPs to fit what each department needs.”
HP’s newly launched offerings include six new MFPs and printers designed for different enterprise needs, as well as solutions focused around security and job control. The vendor has also launched an ISV certification program to ensure third-party application compatibility.