HP Targets Copiers with New MFPs

HP S900 MFPsHP is targeting rivals in the high-end printing and the copy room with the launch of a new family of MFPs that blur the line between printers and high-volume copiers.

Introduced at last week’s Discover event in Barcelona, The HP LaserJet S900 family puts HP into competition with Xerox, Kyocera, Ricoh and other traditional copy vendors, and extends HP’s managed print story into that market. Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president of LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions at HP, said the products are a result of customers “asking us to extend [managed print services] into the copy room.”

“Customers are asking us to think through their entire printing and imaging footprint, and how those can be deployed,” Jotwani said. Increasingly, those customers are looking for a managed print relationship rather than acquiring and managing hardware separately.

Indeed, he said, 15 percent of HP’s customers are already actively bringing together contracts for offices services including copiers and print into a single contract, and an additional 22 percent are investigating ways to do the same.

The new offerings run the gamut between 10,000 and 83,000 monthly page loads, and are designed to be high-end departmental printers and low-end light product devices. Like copiers, the printers will feature greater input capacity than the average departmental printer, and will boast additional finishing options, including saddle stitch, hole punching, and stapling. The products include three color printers, and one monochrome offering.

The launch is part of a bid to make HP a “one-stop shop” for companies’ printing and imaging needs, said Brian Schmitz, direct of future product marketing for LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions at HP. And they come as there’s a shift in where HP sees customers focused when it comes to their managed print decisions.

“Before, it was about reducing the cost of printing and imaging, but now most of them realize the that the cost is in the workflow itself, and they’re looking to streamline that,” Schmitz said. “Increasingly, they’re looking for one vendor to supply all of their needs.”

HP is a stalwart of the managed print arena, and going into the high-end gives it an opportunity to extend its management and usability tools from the desktop to the copier room. HP solutions around its managed print lineup include WebJet Admin, HP Access Control, a universal printer driver on client devices, ePrint Enterprise for secure mobile printing, and Flow CM Professional for workflow and content management.

If the raison d’etre for the S900 family suggests there’s an opportunity for managed print service providers to extend their business upwards, the message is mixed for the company’s MPS partners.

The printers are due to debut in the U.S. in January 2014, and Schmitz said it was unsure when it would arrive in Canada “but the plan is 2014.” The company’s partner strategy for the product is also somewhat limited. Because HP sees it as a managed print play, it’s focused on its own managed print services offering, as well as partners using its own MPS platform, part of the HP Partner MPS program. That program is not yet available in Canada, and the company does not have clear plans to make the new products available to managed print partners using their own or third-party platforms to manage their managed print clients. Indeed, Schmitz said HP was not eyeing broad distribution for the products. As with most managed print products, the printers will be primarily sold as part of a cost-per-page contract.