HP goes vertical

HP is overhauling its go-to-market strategy in the Middle East, with a much greater emphasis on vertical market segments, in order to capture more of the SMB market in the region.

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By  Peter Branton Published  December 9, 2003

HP is overhauling its go-to-market strategy in the Middle East, with a much greater emphasis on vertical market segments, in order to capture more of the SMB market in the region.

"We are going to put a major emphasis on the SMB market next year [2004]," said Christoph Schell, general manager of the Personal Systems Group (PSG) for HP Middle East. "In order to do that we need to segment these customers better, right now we look at segmenting customers by sales volume, we need to look at vertical market segments as well," he said. Vertical markets that HP sees as particularly important in the Middle East include oil & gas, financial services, tourism and healthcare, Schell said.

To reach these market segments would mean working closely with local channel partners, Schell acknowledged. "We have to team up with alliance partners to make that happen, these may not always be the big players, it's a question of who has the right skills," he said.

However, existing channel partners should not feel threatened by the shift in strategy, Schell said. "I don't think we will losing existing partners through this, if anything we will help them for the future by getting them to look at their core competencies," he claimed. "This is not about consolidating, its about restructuring," he added.

Schell spoke to ITP after giving a presentation at a mobile computing event in Dubai, the PDA summit. "Mobile computing is the future of IT, that is what Carly Fiorina believes, and that is what we are building our strategy on," he told delegates in his presentation.

New products HP is introducing in the mobile computing sphere include an iPaq with voice capabilities and a new tablet PC, which will come with a faster processor and longer battery life.

Schell acknowledged that tablet PC sales have thus far been below initial expectations when the form factor was launched a year ago. "Tablet PCs aren't going to replace volume sales products, we've learned that over the past year, but it is a great tool for niche sectors," he said.

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