HP shows its smarts

HP has added flesh to the bones of its Smart Office initiative with a package of products and services, including web site advice on wireless and mobility solutions.

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 25, 2004

HP has added flesh to the bones of its Smart Office initiative with a package of products and services, including web site advice on wireless and mobility solutions. The Smart Office initiative was announced globally in September last year, and is targeted at the company’s small to medium business (SMB) customers. “We believe that in the next 10 years SMBs will be the key drivers for economies in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and especially in the Middle East,” said Christoph Schell, general manager, HP Middle East personal systems group. While acknowledging tha the consumer sector is still the fastest growing sector for IT in the region, Schell said it was growing from a very small installed base. The SMB market is very important to HP, he said. The Smart Office package looks to pull customers closer to HP through various schemes, including trade-in programmes, promotions, bundling deals and an SMB loyalty programme. The first phase of the loyalty programme had targeted 3,000 SMB customers across the region, and the second phase will target a further 6,000 HP executtives said. Also included in Smart Office II are what HP is terming as its Wireless and Mobility Expertise Centers. Middle East customers can now access these sites through the SMB country portal and obtain advice on such matters as the right products to use for a wireless office set-up and where to find hotspots. There is also a printing and imaging expertise center, which features a product selector tool, a print-cost calculator and information about special promotions. The trade-in programme is open to kit from other vendors, Schell said, joking “it’s a good way to get hold of second-hand Sun servers.” HP has selected 308 reseller partners to work with, who will be eligible for specialised training from the vendor.

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