A bright future

Hewlett-Packard Middle East’s Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) group general manager, Salim Ziade talks about the company’s channel focus and the future of the new PPS business unit in the Middle East region

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A bright future
By  Manda Banda Published  May 23, 2013

Hewlett-Packard Middle East’s Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) group general manager, Salim Ziade talks about the company’s channel focus and the future of the new PPS business unit in the Middle East region.

Channel: How has the merger between IPG and PSG to form PPS gone so far in the Middle East?

Salim Ziade: The merger between IPG and PSG which led to the formation of the new PPS division has gone well in the Middle East. The new team was expecting it to be a bumpy experience but we are delighted to see that partners have rallied behind the new division. The feedback from our partners across the region has been encouraging as they are now happy to be dealing with one point of contact for the printing and imaging business, and PC offerings.

Channel: What new channel programmes has HP unveiled since the formation of PPS here in the Middle East region?

Salim Ziade: Ever since Meg Whitman our president and CEO made the announcement that the PSG division was staying as part of HP in August 2011, the company has moved to revamp its channel model by making it simpler, richer in features and benefits and most importantly pay partners from the first dollar they invest in HP offerings. The other focus has been on growth, capability and most importantly profitability. In line with this, we will be announcing a new programme that will be rolled out globally to help partners achieve profitability and growth in their businesses.

Channel: How has your channel business been structured under the new PPS group and what is the addressable region that PPS covers from Dubai?

Salim Ziade: We are happy to have transitioned all former IPG and PSG partners to the new PPS channel structure. The umbrella partner programme remains the HP Preferred Partner Program. Under this engagement model, the PPS channel business has three main segments namely retailers, SIs and VARs, and traditional resellers and IT traders. Through these tiers, we have the broadest reach to the market and I would like to point out that the internal support teams are working with partners to ensure that all three categories are supported at every stage of engagement with HP.
From an addressable market perspective, the Dubai office is responsible for the entire GCC region except the KSA. It also oversees Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

Channel: There has been a lot of speculation about whether HP will continue being in the PC business. What is your position regarding the PC business in the region?

Salim Ziade: There is no doubt in my mind that HP is in the PC business for the long term. There may have been mixed messages in the past in the market about the future of the PC business but our commitment to this segment of the market remains the same as was the case prior to the announcement about a possible spin off in 2011. What our CEO focused on most of last year was steering HP back on the path of certainty, growth and innovation in the PC hardware business. From an investment point of view, we have doubled our R&D investments and what this means is that our channel partners can expect to see more printing and imaging solutions and PC offerings that give them the competitive advantage in the market. Partners will expect to see innovative designs of notebooks, ultraslims, tablets and hybrids tablets.
The mobility space will continue to be a key focus area for HP going forward.

Channel: How are you addressing and managing the retail channels across the Middle East region?

Salim Ziade: Our approach to working with retailers and power retailers in the region is through a three-pronged strategy. Firstly, we engage all retailers regardless of size from a product point of view offering them a variety of solutions from desktops, notebooks, Ultrabooks, touch products and hybrid tablets. Secondly, we work closely with retailers to enhance client buying experiences by helping them on how they can display HP products in their stores. Thirdly, we are working closely with retailers that share the same values and focus in delighting end-users. The aim with this strategy is to ensure that partners are making money selling our products while at the same time creating the peace of mind at end-user level that comes with the HP brand.
Power retailers can expect to see an enhanced offering of touch hybrid tablets, mobility offerings and ultraslim notebooks in the second half of the year.

Channel: The market is seeing a lot of push in the tablet and ultra slim notebooks. What can your channel partners expect from HP in this regard?

Salim Ziade: Our partners can expect more products in this segment with touch capabilities. We are also readying an Android-based 7-inch tablet that should be unveiled in June 2013 giving us the opportunity to offer our partners and end-customers a multi OS platform in the tablet segment. On the printing and imaging side, the channel has seen a printer refresh in the last six months and this is going to continue in the second half of the year.

Channel: As the IT landscape continues to evolve in the region, will there be room for partners that want to resell your hardware solutions only?

Salim Ziade: In the traditional PC hardware business, there will always be room for your classical resellers and IT traders. However, in the value-add segment, resellers targeting SMBs, mid-market and the enterprise sector will find stay relevant to their clients hard if they don’t embrace innovation and bring value to the products they resell. To stay relevant and grow their businesses, VARs and solution providers will be required to raise their game in the market. From a PPS standpoint, we will continue to work with the different segments of the market, making sure that all our partners are supported correctly and helped to grow in a market where margins have continued to be under pressure.

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