HP says DaaS a channel-first strategy from the get-go

HP personal systems president Ron Coughlin

HP personal systems president Ron Coughlin

SAN DIEGO — You may remember that when HP first introduced managed print service, it took a while for it to expand the scope of that business beyond the direct.

So does Ron Coughlin, currently president of HP’s personal systems group, who at one time, presided over the vendor’s managed print strategy. In his new role, Coughlin is leading HP’s charge towards the Device-as-a-Service market, aiming to do with PC sales what it’s done with the majority of its print for business customers — transforming it “from transactional to contractual.”

While the company is using a lot of its playbook from managed print on DaaS, there’s one aspect it definitely not looking to repeat for this new opportunity.

“There is zero plan to go direct with this. We’re going channel right from the start,” Coughlin told attendees at Synnex’s Varnex Fall Conference here. “There is no plan to create a direct sales force for DaaS.”

Coughlin’s presentation to the Varnex community here echoed his presentation to partners at HP Reinvent two months ago, where HP formally strapped the rockets to the DaaS business. He positioned DaaS as a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for HP, and outlined some of the company’s tools around the program, including a configurator that gets away from feeds and speeds, and assigned technical attributes based on users’ business needs. A developer will get more beefy technology, while a road warrior will get the company’s technology for reducing display angles on demand, for example. He also elaborated on the company’s management and predictive health analytics for DaaS sales, which covers multiple platforms, including the most popular mobile device systems.

And while it’s clear DaaS is a future play for HP, the executive also stressed it’s an opportunity for today, with the channel and SI ranks approaching 60 certified and ready organizations, and significant customers in place, including Walmart, Singapore Airlines, and longtime HP favourite customer DreamWorks.

“Make no mistake — the PC business is shifting just like the print business shifted to MPS,” Coughlin told partners. “Those of you who are in front of it will be winning.”

Coughlin, himself a San Diego resident, told attendees that any partner that brings in a DaaS deal worth more than $5 million in the next year will earn a trip from HP to San Diego — or elsewhere, should a resident of this town pull it off, naturally.

The PC “as-a-Service” model is a hot topic at Varnex beyond Couglin’s Monday morning keynote presentation. In the U.S., the distributor offers a “Surface subscription” program with Microsoft that offers the same pay-as-you-go model and much of the same as HP’s own offering in terms of functionality and services.