HP pushes PCs towards as-a-service model

HP personal systems president Ron Coughlin

HP personal systems president Ron Coughlin

CHICAGO — HP partners are hearing a familiar message at its Reinvent Global Partner Forum here this week: “It’s time to switch customers from transactional to contractual.”

What’s different is that it’s not just the company’s print group executives who are sharing the message. It’s also the company’s PC executives.

For more than a year, HP has offered a device-as-a-service offering, combining the company’s hardware with an expanding portfolio of lifecycle and management services on a price-per-month basis. But now, the company says, is the time to really turn up the volume on selling devices as a recurring revenues item.

At Reinvent, Ron Coughlin, president of HP’s personal systems business, identified DaaS as one of the two primary growth opportunities on which the company is focused, along with retail POS. He described its DaaS offerign as “the most robust in the business,” and uniquely able to manage multiple OS environments, including Windows, iOS and Android today, and expanding to Mac OS  and beyond in the future. From a relatively simple desktop services software stack a year ago, HP has “created a cradle-to-grave DaaS offering” over the last year, through internal development, acquisitions, and partnerships, such as its deal with VMware’s AirWatch device management software, announced last month, which expands its ability to seamlessly manage devices outside the Windows world.

“This is the number one priority in our commercial business, Coughlin said. “Our DaaS business is now at scale, and we’re winning business with the folks in this room.”

At ReInvent, the company announced the launch of what it calls “proactive intelligence” in its DaaS portfolio. Much like what it’s offered in managed print services, these proactive notifications use machine learning to aim to warn the user, administrator and/or partner of impending problems before they happen. Proactive warnings can range from impending hardware failure, using telemetrics on the device and machine learning of patterns to warn a user prior to a hard drive failure, to less critical but equally important usage advice, such as warning an executive that her battery will likely not last the whole of a five-hour transcontinental flight.

It also previewed its DeviceWise service — an online system that runs through user requirements to suggest right the right devices, configurations, accessories and services for an individual user based on their role, application usage, and work patterns.

Coughlin said the “traditional definitions of desktop services” — break/fix and the like — are just the beginning of the territory HP wants to cover with its DaaS services.

“We’re talking about significant automation and customization,” he said.

HP has expanded its DaaS offerings to a three-tier program, with Standard, Enhanced, and Premium tiers. Standard begins with the device, break/fix services, and basic analytics and predictive services, and adds additional analytics and proactive services as you move down the stack. Partners will also be able add their own services around the HP-offered stack, or take on delivery of services around DaaS devices, as they would today on Carepaq services sales, said HP DaaS chief Jonathan Nikols.

“We’re encouraging our partners to define the offering to the marketplace they want to sell, and then work backwards from there in terms of what they get from HP versus what they deliver. That way, they get consistency of delivery, consistency of offering, and consistency of go-to-market,” Nikols said.

The company is offering two specializations around the offering – DaaS generalist, and DaaS generalist. That latter specialist group will have access to deeper customization and the ability to wrap their own services around the offering, said Lori Jefferson, lead for the services and software product management team.

HP CEO Dion Weisler

HP CEO Dion Weisler

Coughlin pegged the value of the device-as-a-service market as $10 billion (U.S.) by 2022, and HP CEO Dion Wiesler called it part of a bigger change that partners can expect to see even an even shorter term than that.

“The way we’re operating today is going to be very different to how we’re going to operate in 2020,” Wiesler said. “We’re going to be more flexible, more nimble, and we’re going to see more device-led services and solutions.

And PC-centric partners may see competition in the space from an unexpected source. While heretofore, managed print service providers have not often offered PCs or other device-centric solutions, HP imaging and printing president Enrique Lores said he’s starting to see interest from partners on his side of the world in the DaaS space.

“[MPS partners] are having customers come to them and say ‘You’re managing my printing fleet, can’t you manage my PC fleet as well’” Lores reports.

HP’s DaaS program and offerings may look quite familiar to HP managed print partners as well — managed print has been around for a significantly longer time, and Lores said that “whenever possible,” the company is finding ways to take the tools and services available around managed print, and bringing them into the DaaS world

“The folks who run DaaS for me today, were running parts of MPS a year ago, so there’s a lot of leverage there,” added Coughlin.

To succeed in the DaaS market long-term, Coughlin stressed the need for partners to develop their own solutions around the HP offering.

“Every partner needs to build their own solution, working with our toolset,” he said. “Those who lean in will win the market.”