HP Doubles Down On Convenience And Ease-Of-Use As A Winning Value Proposition For SMB Customers At Amplify 2022
Taking a cue from its immensely successful Instant Ink subscription program for consumers, HP took the wrappers off a significant enhancement to the offering at its Amplify 2022 Executive Forum last week in Palo Alto, California. The company revealed that it would enhance the program for small businesses to enjoy the benefit of automatic device-specific consumables (including toner, ink and paper) for multiple devices in multiple locales. At the same time, HP also introduced two new series of SMB-targeted printers with HP+ technology management, the HP LaserJet Pro 3000 Series and HP LaserJet Pro 4000 Series.
These announcements reaffirm HP’s strategic belief that the key to enhancing its printing value proposition with SMB customers is boosting its channel partners’ ability to engage with customers who desire more service options and enhanced control over its devices. This approach is attractive to many small and medium businesses as these organizations often lack the dedicated resources (such as IT personnel operating in larger enterprise companies) to manage the printer from a support, maintenance and supplies standpoint. These companies often depend on a trusted channel partner as a “virtual” IT adviser for printer research assistance. HP research indicates that 55% of surveyed SMB customers don’t have the time to manage technology, even though 80% of these companies still depend on printing to conduct business. Moreover, these businesses generally don’t have the formal training to manage their printing solutions regularly, with the consequence that the office manager (or business owner) handles printer management.
What is HP+ for business?
The ability to manage multiple printer locales lies at the heart of HP’s unique differentiation with its HP+ business program. Referred to as a “smart printing” system because it doesn’t have to be managed, HP+ facilitates the ability to manage multiple printers in multiple locations in an uncomplicated manner.
The HP Smart Admin Dashboard allows customers to set up and manage the LaserJet Pro from a single web-based dashboard. Happily, this functionality is also made available for HP+ printers via a premium version of its popular Smart app for smartphones and tablets. From any location, new users can be given access to a printer, toner consumption can be tracked, and security can be monitored. As printers are increasingly becoming an easy way for unnoticed network hacking, HP+ also embraces intelligent security for all printers on the network with continuous monitoring and updated security firmware via HP’s Wolf Pro Security capability.
HP+ represents a powerful opportunity for channel partners as it ultimately augments their ability to showcase these new printers in a heightened manageability light without needing an IT manager on staff. Layered on top of this convenience is the ability to never run out of supplies via its Instant Int program, which has been expanded to include toner. Diana Sroka, HP’s Global Head of HP Consumer Print Services, recently participated in a SmartTechCheck Moment video interview where she provided more depth on HP’s new Instant Ink for business offering.
A few closing thoughts
At a high level, HP+ for business is yet another step by the 83-year-old company in the direction of the Device-as-a-Service business model. While HP’s announcement doesn’t include the actual hardware as part of the HP+ for business offering (though presumably, that will happen in the not-too-distant future), the “as-a-service” aspect should be compelling for SMB companies who see value in IT asset management simplification. These benefits include visibility to cost predictability over time versus a capital expense model, which must be funded up-front. HP recognizes small businesses desire printing solutions that boost productivity and are simple and trouble-free to manage. Specifically, these HP+ enabled models include Smart Admin Dashboard support, the Premium Smart App, 24/7 monitoring, 2 years of warranty service and more.
To its profound credit, HP continues to make sustainability a vast and ongoing element of its marketing efforts. The expansion of HP Instant Ink and HP+ for small business programs is no exception. In the United States and Canada, HP ink and toner cartridges can be recycled through the company’s Planet Partners program. HP also announced that the HP+ program would embrace easy recycling of its ink and toner cartridges via return shipping and packaging included with every Instant Ink order. The new HP LaserJet Pro models with HP+ participate in the company’s Forest First program, where HP contributes for every page printed to entities responsible for forest management.
With its HP+ for business offering and the expansion of its Instant Ink program for business, HP continues to demonstrate that it is listening and responding to the needs of SMB customers, both from a device offering and business model standpoint. Given the size of HP’s mammoth printing business, this is not an easy thing to do. Regardless, it’s refreshing to see one of the great iconic tech companies refusing the temptation to rest on its laurels. The company is doubling down on business model improvements, product innovations and programs that strengthen its channel commitments while issuing a full-throated pledge to drive sustainability throughout every element of its go-to-market strategy. In short, HP continues to raise the bar for every technology company, and that’s a very good thing.
Mark Vena is the CEO and Principal Analyst at SmartTech Research based in Silicon Valley. As a technology industry veteran for over 25 years, Mark covers many consumer tech topics, including PCs, smartphones, smart home, connected health, security, PC and console gaming, and streaming entertainment solutions. Mark has held senior marketing and business leadership positions at Compaq, Dell, Alienware, Synaptics, Sling Media and Neato Robotics. Mark has appeared on CNBC, NBC News, ABC News, Business Today, The Discovery Channel and other media outlets. Mark’s analysis and commentary have appeared on Forbes.com and other well-known business news and research sites. His comments about the consumer tech space have repeatedly appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, TechNewsWorld and other news publications.
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