HP’s SME Initiative

InfoWorld writes about HP’s USD 750 million Smart Office initiative for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs):

Among the pieces of the Smart Office initiative:

— HP Smart Finance offerings aimed at simplifying purchasing through HP and its vendor partners, trade-ins and recycling. HP will offer zero percent financing or no payments until 2004 for three months beginning Oct. 1.

— HP ProLiant servers with pre-installed Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003, which supports 75 users out of the box.

— New desktop systems, including a health-care PC, and a space-efficient package with a slim-line desktop PC and a flat-screen monitor.

— A variety of new printers, including the HP Color LaserJet 9500, which HP touted as capable of creating professional do-it-yourself marketing materials.

— HP Care Pack services, a set of warranty packages including application support and data backup and recovery.

— An integrated support system that includes help from HP’s vendor partners, resellers, online chat and Web-based seminars.

HP will announce partnerships aimed at four small business vertical markets — accounting, medical offices, legal offices, real estate and health-care, added John Brennan, HP’s new senior vice president of SMBs.

The small and medium-sized business market for IT goods and services is about $460 billion a year worldwide and is expected to grow to more than $640 billion over the next three to four years, Brennan said. HP’s chunk of that pie is $21 billion a year, the number one company in IT sales to SMBs, he said.

This still seems to be quite heavily US-centric. SMEs in the emerging markets need even more affordable and integrated solutions. When will be the IT majors wake up to this opportunity?

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.