HP Lifts The Lid on Its Copier Business

In a move that signifies a direct challenge to Xerox for share of the digital copier market, Hewlett-Packard Tuesday announced plans to enter the $24 billion copier business with new multi-function printing machines and software for managing them over corporate networks.

As part of the groundbreaking announcement, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company unveiled an extensive portfolio of products, services, and capabilities to help companies improve productivity across the board. According to Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, the products also are designed to reduce costs by as much as 30 percent in corporate imaging and printing environments.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for companies to harness the power of the network to improve productivity and reduce the operating costs across their imaging and printing environments,” Joshi said. “HP’s printing heritage and network management expertise puts us in a unique position to help companies take advantage of these new opportunities.”

HP is no stranger to the digital imaging world, but the most recent news comes just weeks after Xerox announced new digital copying strategies of its own, and months and Lexmark vowed to redouble efforts to cut into HP’s printer business. While Joshi said he expects these companies to increase competition with lower prices on particular products, he stressed that HP’s new solutions seek to reduce the total costs of operation.

In particular, the new HP approach extends the company’s Total Print Management offering, in integrated portfolio of intelligent devices, network manageability software and customizable services that can cut operation costs significantly. The new copier-based HP LaserJet 9055 and 9065 multi-function products (MFPs), as well as the new HP LaserJet 9085, are all part of the new strategy. In addition, the company also introduced:

  • HP Web Jetadmin 7.5 the next generation of HP’s imaging and printing fleet management software, now with links to HP’s new System Insight Manager.
  • Scalable pay-per-use services and billing options that give customers transparent and predictable choices in purchasing.
  • Assessment capabilities and services such as Web-based self-service tools to a comprehensive consulting assessment designed to help customers increase utilization of output devices.

Joshi noted that all of the new devices would be networked together so they can be managed centrally, and said that built-in diagnostics will alert administrators when they need to refill ink or fix paper jams. He added that HP would introduce additional products that allow business customers to use digital pens to fill out forms and sign documents, as well as products that enable users to capture content from network-enabled multi-function products and send it inside or outside a firewall.

In conjunction with all of these new offerings, HP also announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with IKON Office Solutions to provide HP access to more than 12,000 sales and service professionals right off the bat.

“HP’s multi-function technology fits well with IKON’s best-in-class document management solutions and services,” said Matthew Espe, IKON CEO. “Through our expanded relationship, HP and IKON customers will receive the benefit of HP network technology that they have come to know and trust.”

Early returns on some of HP’s pilot runs have been mixed, but many indicate that HP customers are beginning to save big bucks. On average, industry statistics indicate that companies spend more than $800 per employee operating their copying and printing environments up to $4 million a year for a 5,000-person organization. With this in mind, Gartner analyst Peter Grant says the HP products could save clients as much as 20 to 30 percent.

“Poorly managed printer, copier and fax fleets represent one of the biggest opportunities for cost-cutting in the enterprise,” said Grant. “By actively managing the environment, companies can not only save on output-related spending, [but also] can increase employee productivity.”

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