HP Launches Service Options for Small Biz

Hewlett-Packard today is expected to rev-up a small-business initiative it began last September dubbed Smart Office that includes new products, support services, and financing options.

March 22, 2004

3 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard today is expected to rev-up a small-business initiative it began last September dubbed Smart Office that includes new products, support services, and financing options.

Some aspects of the Smart Office campaign, such as the introductions of the nx5000 notebook and the Proliant ML110 server, have been trickling out in recent weeks. Others, such as an online service that remotely monitors server maintenance, are making their debut this week.

HP chairman and chief executive officer Carly Fiorina launched Smart Office last September, noting that it was backed by a $750 million investment in R&D, marketing, sales programs and services. The small-and-medium business segment accounts for about $21 billion of HP's $73 billion annual revenue.

Of all the new offerings, the most significant are the service offerings. They reflect a push by HP, Dell, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and other vendors to offer service and support options that are better packaged for small-business consumption. Just last month, Dell told SmallBiz Pipeline that it will begin offering end-to-end service contracts later this year to mid-sized companies and would offer similar contracts to small businesses soon thereafter. Also last month, HP signed on systems integrator Ajilon Consulting to provide service offerings to small- and medium-sized businesses in 40 locations nationwide. The deal with the Towson, Maryland, integrator is part of the .NET Solutions Partner Program HP rolled out in October.

HP's new service offerings this week include Proactive Plus, software support for Microsoft operating systems and compatible applications; Proliant System Minder, which provides server administration, remote monitoring, and software patches; and IT Professional Help Desk, support service for IT workers.Specifics for the three services are as follows: -- Proactive Plus: For $1,175, customers receive software support services for Microsoft environments on HP servers. Five incidents plus proactive maintenance for one year are covered. Customers will be able to choose HP-branded support from either the vendor's HP Services or from HP resellers. Previously, HP targeted such services at larger customers. -- Proliant System Minder: For $3,650 a year, customers receive ProLiant 300 server administration, remote monitoring, system maintenance, and operating system patching. -- IT Professional Help Desk: Customers receive support for five incidents across their IT environment for one year for $1,550.

In addition to these new services, HP is also refreshing its backup and recovery service. This service, renamed HP Care Pack Electronic Vaulting Service, starts at $165 per month for one year. Additionally, HP will resell third-party disaster-recovery software, according to Chris Ogburn, HP director of sales and development for SMB Americas.

As for new products, HP is introducing two new all-in-one printer series. They include the Officejet 9100 series, which is targeted at workgroups of 15 or fewer users and priced under $1,000, and the LaserJet 3000 Series of laser-based monochrome models.

HP will also sell additional third-party software applications to complement new and recently introduced servers and printers. The applications will include file and print sharing, document management, communication and collaboration, and business protection applications. HP's efforts, made with direct participation by Microsoft, are to drive small-business adoption of Windows Server 2003, Office 2003, and Small Business Server 2003, said Ogburn. All told, HP and Microsoft think 500,000 Windows NT users will migrate to Windows Server 2003, and 15 million users are ready to buy SBS 2003. The third-party software will also include numerous horizontal applications, such as back-office accounting, as well as vertical solutions.

Lastly, HP is pushing new financing terms to small business. Under the terms of one program, called Advantage Protection Plus for Free, small business transactions of $25,000 or more will be eligible for free replacement of all leased products that are lost, stolen, or damaged. Separately, HP Financial Services is extending a 0% lease rate offered on a 24-month term until July 31.0

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