HP to form new group for managed print services

HP's new managed printing services group will manage printing infrastructure in enterprises

Hewlett-Packard is stepping up its efforts in the area of managed print services. The company plans to form a new group dedicated to this area, and is also launching a program that it says will help guarantee savings for customers who sign up for the services.

The new group will manage printing environments and help companies reduce the printer hardware they need to use, said Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice president of worldwide sales and services at Hewlett-Packard's imaging and printing group (IPG). The company already offers printing services, but HP will be able to give the area more focus by giving the business its own unit, Dahlgren said.

HP said it would help enterprises to consolidate their printing hardware and reduce the cost per page printed, Dahlgren said. Customers will be able to negotiate service contracts with HP, which will manage their hardware and software printing infrastructures.

HP didn't say exactly when it would form the new unit, but said announcements will follow in the coming months.

It also launched a program Monday that it said would help to guarantee savings for companies that sign up for its print services. HP will assess a company's imaging and printing environment and calculate how much it thinks the company can save using HP's managed services. After a year, if customers haven't realized the savings, HP will make up the difference with a credit that can be used for their next printing services contract.

"With all the expertise, we should provide a guarantee," Dahlgren said. The company thinks it can help companies cut 20 percent to 30 percent of their costs, he said.

HP may be looking to stimulate growth in its printing and imaging group, which saw revenue decline more sharply in the last quarter than some other divisions. Revenue from the group dropped 23 percent in the last quarter to US$5.9 billion, compared to a drop of 3 percent in revenue for HP as a whole.

Printing services are a big opportunity for HP, said Gilles Biscos, president at Interquest, a research and consulting company in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some areas of the printing business, such as billing and the production of legal documents, have been relatively unaffected by the rise of the Web, and there remains a big market in helping companies to find ways to cut their printing costs.

Large companies could potentially save money by consolidating copiers, fax machines and multifunction printers, Biscos said. Simple steps like shutting down printers when they are not in use and printing on both sides of pages can dramatically cut costs, he said.

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