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Analysis

HP's vision for driving more printed pages by harnessing the cloud, mobility and connectivity
Louella Fernandes By: Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 30th March 2011
Copyright Quocirca © 2011
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At its recent Analyst Summit in San Francisco, HP delivered a strong vision on how it aims to grow its printing revenues across consumer, SMB, enterprise and commercial markets. Whether it's consumer web aware printers, retail publishing such as SnapFish, managed print services (MPS) or digitising the commercial print processes, HP demonstrated a range of products and services and an integrated go-to-market strategy that will enable it to extend the reach for its vast portfolio.

HP certainly has a strong vision to integrate its cloud, mobile and security offerings and the one area where HP is certainly able to exploit the convergence of these trends is printing. HP has the technology expertise in each of these areas, to provide it with a competitive advantage over its traditional print and copier competitors who are all looking to capture more revenues from products and services in a mature market where HP currently dominates.

HP‘s Imaging and Printing Group’s (IPG) revenues grew by 7% in 2010, and overall, IPG accounted for 20% of HP’s revenue. Supplies revenue represents 67% of overall IPG revenue, with commercial printer hardware and consumer printer hardware accounting for 22% and 11% respectively. The consumer market for printers is highly commoditised, so HP is increasing its focus on grabbing a larger share of the commercial market. Commercial printer hardware shipments growth is important, not only for revenue but also the supplies revenue growth these devices can deliver on an on-going basis.

HP’s vision for its IPG business includes having an “ecosystem for on- and off-ramps and a comprehensive cloud-based platform”. In simple terms, this means enabling users to connect to any HP networked printer, multifunction peripheral (MFP), print shop and retail storefront from any device, securely and seamlessly wherever the user is at any one time. Behind this objective is the goal to ultimately drive higher value pages, such as colour which generate much more revenue than black and white pages, which in turn drives supplies revenue.

The mobile opportunity
HP also described its innovation around its web-enabled printers, which use the webOS platform. It’s ePrint service enables printing on any internet connected device by sending the output as an email attachment directly to the printer. HP has high hopes for adoption of this among home and business users alike. It shipped 3 million units of its web-enabled printers in Q1 2011 and expects to ship 20 million by the end of this year. 

Indeed, the advent of smartphones and tablet devices such as the iPad has generated a new wave in development of printing solutions for platforms such as the BlackBerry, Android and iOS. As well as ePrint, HP has also worked closely with Apple to develop direct printing support for HP printers and MFPs in the latest release of AirPrint available on devices running iOS 4.2 or later. HP also announced that it would provide support for Google’s Cloud Print later this year. 

The launch of its webOS TouchPad tablet also this year will undoubtedly bring native driver support into webOS for HP devices and, as such, HP is well positioned to integrate the mobile and printing experience for these devices—although it remains to be seen how popular they will be. While HP has brought mobility to the forefront of its print strategy—other vendors such as Xerox and Ricoh have also released products for printing to their printers and MFPs from smartphones.

Growing service and solutions revenue
HP is also looking to drive high value recurring business through managed print services (MPS) where it currently has 3,000 customers. MPS is a burgeoning market offering printer vendors an opportunity to capture more pages through managing office, commercial and production print environments. HP is already seeing the fruits of its joint go-to-market MPS activities between IPG and its Enterprise Business (EB) unit. This has resulted in a 200% rise in joint IPG/ES total contract value growth with 74% of the HP enterprise funnel including joint pursuits. HP also indicated that its average deal size is seven times higher through joint activities.

HP is certainly well positioned to capitalise on these joint opportunities and the two groups seem to be well aligned in their go-to-market approach. HP intends to further drive the value of MPS contracts by increasing the sales of attached document workflow solutions. In 2010, these accounted for 75% of its MPS contracts, compared to 25% in 2008.

Having developed a strong service portfolio for enterprise clients, HP is now building an infrastructure for its channel partners to deliver MPS to SMBs encouraging them to move to a contractual model away from traditional transactional sales. HP has developed QuickPage, a turnkey service offering that provides billing, account management and financing for channel partners. This hosted infrastructure minimises the resources and investment necessary for channel partners to participate in the lucrative MPS market.

An expanding print service provider ecosystem
Accelerating the analogue-to-digital transformation in graphics is another opportunity for HP to drive supplies and page growth in the commercial printing market. HP estimates that 1.46 billion pages were printed on its high speed inkjet presses in 2010. The fact that over 95% of graphics pages such as labels and packaging, signage, publishing and collateral are still analogue clearly represents a huge opportunity for HP.

As a technology giant, HP has the breadth and scale to operate in all areas of the print industry—covering consumer, SMB, enterprise and commercial print. Its vast integrated go-to-market infrastructure sets it apart from some of its competitors, and certainly the joint approach with its Enterprise Services business will boost MPS revenues. But in the enterprise and commercial print arena it faces stiff competition from rivals such as Xerox and Ricoh who are both adapting their portfolios to capture wider enterprise print opportunities. HP has got its finger in many print pies, but it will be the ability to execute on increasing page growth through its product and services that will ultimately drive its revenues in the future.

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