HP Canada takes channel to school after TDSB win

HP Canada PSG chief Leyland Brown

HP Canada PSG chief Leyland Brown

HP Canada’s Personal System Group is looking to take channel partners back to school, seeing a growing opportunity in the education vertical on the heels of a major win in the Toronto District School Board.

Leyland Brown, vice president and general manager of PSG for HP Canada, said that after a major win delivering HP mini netbooks to TDSB schools along with partner Metafore, the company is looking to make a name for itself in the education vertical.

“Education is the one market segment where we have the opportunity to take share,” she said.

And that opportunity comes as the game is changing in the education field – more schools are open to variants of the Bring Your Own Device strategy, and that’s changing how school boards think about technology.

Because of that shift, and because of Brown’s general focus of “transforming the experience” through her divisions wares, she said she’s tasking her team with taking a different, more solution-centric approach.

“Education’s been something we’ve talked about for a number of years,” Brown said. “But I want to see proof points of how we advanced learning outcomes. That’s what’s important, not selling technology. WE want to help students grasp more, and learn more. That’s what our education institutions are measured on.”

Brown said that HP has “pockets of strength” in the education market, most notably in Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba. And she sees an opportunity to work with partners to take those strengths and go after new opportunities.

Outside of the education vertical, Brown said she has high hopes for the ultrabook category of thin-and-light notebooks. That’s not a surprise. At last month’s Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, everyone from Americas PSG chief Stefan DiFranco down was showing off the company’s upcoming first two business ultrabook offerings, the Spectre and the Folio.

Still, she said, the acceptance of the ultrabook may depend on general economy trends. While ultrabooks are coming in significantly cheaper than previous thin-and-light notebooks, HP is still looking at around an $800 price point in Canada.

“The form factor is very attractive, it’s going to become a choice point for customers, and another major category inside the notebook market,” she said.

Brown said the ongoing rumor’s of the desktop’s demise is, like the legendary rumors of Mark Twain’s death, greatly overstated. In fact, she said that PSG is seeing “tremendous growth” in the desktop market in Canada.

And coming off a year that could most charitably described as tumultuous for the team in PSG, Brown said she feels like the group is “more aligned” than ever before, particularly in the channel.

“Everything’s coming together in terms of the marketing programs, the channel program and the products,” she said. “We were always doing a good job on all of those items, but they weren’t as well linked together as they are now.”

She gave the credit for that unison to the leadership of DiFranco, who ascended to heading up PSG in the Americas after a role as the company’s Americas channel chief.

Later in the year, Brown said she expects to see growth in the consumer and small business space with the launch of Windows 8 from Microsoft. The enterprise desktop and notebook business? Maybe not so much.

“They’re still focused on Windows 7,” she said.