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“Everybody On” – Under its new CEO, Hewlett-Packard unifies its vision and its workforce to take over the world

Issue #1109 – Following the departure of Mark Hurd in August 2010, and the instalment as CEO of former SAP boss, Léo Apotheker, in September, the atmosphere at Hewlett-Packard has undoubtedly changed. No longer the sense of foreboding but an air of enthusiasm and optimism, with a clear target of taking over the world.

Some analysts at last week’s Hewlett-Packard global analyst conference were heard to complain that the material presented during the first day offered nothing new – but that hardly seemed the point, even if it was true.

Léo ApothekerLéo Apotheker – Hewlett-Packard CEO

Léo Apotheker took the stage right at the beginning of the conference with a cool, calm and collected presence that effused confidence, direction, vision and, above all, an appreciation for the immense skill pool that is the workforce. He made a point of complimenting them as “talented and enthusiastic”.

Under Mark Hurd, we saw round after round of budget cuts, staff cuts, pay cuts, marketing and communications cuts and a severe lack of enthusiasm that made one feel that Hewlett-Packard was retreating into its shell to await premature extinction. Worst of all, the staff cuts and pay cuts were a cruel blow to employees who had been loyal for many years and had secured healthy profits for the company throughout, yet seemed to be treated with disdain and a dire lack of respect.

So what of the present and the future?

With its head firmly in ‘The Cloud’, within a matter of minutes of the start of the conference, I had written in my notes, “HP plans to take over the world”. Bizarrely, that exact sentiment was spoken out to me by executive Tuan Tran (VP & General Manager, IPG Consumer Business) at the end of the following day during an individual face to face discussion.

‘The Cloud’ is the hot topic of the moment, no more-so than with Hewlett-Packard, where the entire corporate strategy for 2011 is geared around enabling enterprises, small businesses and individuals to utilise the power of the internet – at all levels, including printing.

This vision is a unified vision, with the entire organisation heading in the same direction, supporting one another and providing complimentary products and services that mesh together for the benefit of the customer. Hewlett-Packard certainly has the presence, the resources and the products to pull off the implementation of the vision.

HP cloudThe Hewlett-Packard Cloud

In fact, Hewlett-Packard is the only IT supplier with the breadth of products and services, delivered through a truly global organisation, to be able to deliver an entire IT package at any level. The company’s focus – and that of the cloud as a concept – is firmly on the ‘I’ (information) rather than the ‘T’ (technology). In other words, Hewlett-Packard recognises that the needs of the customer are paramount and that the technology merely provides the platform for the need to be met.

Within the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), the entire range of Hewlett-Packard’s latest printers, All-in-Ones and MFPs above the $99 price level are all ‘cloud-aware and web-connected’! What this means is that they are equipped with network interfaces (wired or wireless) and can be configured to communicate directly with the company’s ePrint servers and, through that, the wider internet. Be aware though that this does NOT include general web browsing – it is widget/app driven like smartphones.

See for more detailed information on ePrint and Web Apps.

To emphasise the scale of the task and Hewlett-Packard’s ability to deliver:

  • more than three million web-aware printers were shipped just in the first fiscal quarter of 2011 (November 2010 to January 2011)!
  • 5.6 million web-aware printers have been shipped in the last six months
  • unit sale growth for printers is running at 13%
  • supplies revenue growth is running at 7%
  • operating profit is 17%
  • number of web-aware printers shipped by the end of 2011 estimated at 20 million
  • the company has the ability/capacity to ship 100 million connected devices a year
  • 7 out of 10 Cloud service providers are Hewlett-Packard customers

This relates to global statistics suggest that by 2020:

  • 4 billion people will be online, with …
  • 31 billion connected devices, able to select from …
  • 25 million apps

With so much of the world’s population being connected, the product development that has followed Hewlett-Packard’s purchase of Palm in July of last year could place the company in a very strong position to steal significant market share from its competitors to become a leader in mobile devices in addition to leading the market in printers and PCs.

Although initially somewhat sceptical as to the wisdom of buying Palm, Hewlett-Packard clearly had a vision for the mobile phone manufacturer that went far beyond mobile phones. The Palm phone ran on the webOS operating system and it is this OS that now presents Hewlett-Packard with an amazing opportunity.

The HP webOS triple: Veer, Pre and TouchPadThe HP webOS triple: Veer, Pre and TouchPad

Not only is the company continuing with the Pre phone series but is also introducing a miniature version, named Veer. In addition, Hewlett-Packard has announced the TouchPad tablet PC, due for launch in the middle of the summer. All of these will run under webOS … and … there are plans for laptops to be able to run a webOS emulation within Windows – thus allowing a common user interface and user experience across platforms.

From what I’ve seen so far of the latest iteration if WebOS, there is huge potential for that user experience to be very attractive. For instance – just picking up on a couple of particularly appealing features:

  • Hold two paired devices close to one another and they will synchronise activities. So, for example, if a user is reading an email on a Pre 3 smartphone and realises there is a need to get on the internet, holding the phone close to the TouchPad will transfer the activity to the TouchPad automatically and allow the user to continue working on the same task but on the other device.
  • While the Pre or Veer mobile phone is charging on its docking station (inductive charging!), calls can be made and received on the TouchPad and the TouchPad can browse the internet using the 3G capability of the phone. Smart!

All in all, webOS could create a killer device combination, especially when Hewlett-Packard web-aware printers are migrated to webOS as well – imagine using your mobile phone or pad computer as the control panel for your printer or MFP??

To close the loop, it is from these portable devices that an increasing volume of pages will be printed in the future as they become more pervasive and capable and workers and consumers rely upon them more and more. According to Hewlett-Packard research, 85% of smartphone users [already] want to print and pages printed from mobile devices are expected to top 26 billion by 2013.

HP Everybody OnHewlett-Packard Everybody On

This is where the “Everybody On” concept becomes reality. Hewlett-Packard believes that everyone can be (and should be) connected through whatever device they care to own, whether desktop PC, laptop, netbook, pad PC, smartphone, printer, All-in-One or MFP.

In the last six months (since the ePrint enabled inkjet printers were first launched), Hewlett-Packard’s ePrint server has handled in excess of 1.5 million ePrint jobs and is experiencing a 5x quarter on quarter volume growth. Interestingly, people who sign up for ePrint services print five times more pages than those who don’t! So, it is not exactly surprising that Hewlett-Packard wants to encourage customers to buy a web-aware printer and sign up for ePrint: more pages = more ink or toner = more revenue and higher profits for Hewlett-Packard!!

As a sub-heading to the conference, the tagline “Seamless, secure, context-aware experiences for the connected world” was presented as the goal.

Hewlett-Packard is better placed than any other company on the face of the earth to achieve this goal.

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