HP is rolling out its HP Support Center platform, which gives customers more options when looking for technical support on the Web.
Hewlett-Packard is rolling out the first offering in an aggressive plan to
expand the technical support services it can offer on the Web.
on May 24 announced the HP Support Center platform, an evolution of the
company's Always on Support offering. HP Support Center is designed to give
commercial customers online access to the information, people and technology
they need, and represents a way for those users to personalize their support
experience, according to Sue Barsamian, senior vice president and general
manager of technology services support at HP.
also in response to the nature of today's always-on, constantly-connected
world, where customers need their problems or questions addressed as soon as
possible. Traditionally, that has meant using call centers or getting visits
from field engineers. Now they will have a better online support experience,
Barsamian said in an interview with eWEEK.
commercial and enterprise customers have increasing expectations of what they
can do on the Web," she said. "They want very fast and immediate access to the
relevant tools, relevant people [and] relevant information."
has been investing in its Web services capabilities for more than a year,
Barsamian said. The HP Support Center platform and related offerings are the
first steps in a roadmap the company has in mind for its Web-based offerings.
key part of the new platform is an online portal through which IT
administrators gain access to the HP Always On community, where they can work
with IT professionals, give their knowledge and exchange best practices. They
also can search for the appropriate information or products they need, access a
step-by-step troubleshooting tool and find the best support documents.
also offers a mobile support app that offers users instant technical support
through their mobile devices. Barsamian said HP is the first vendor to offer
such an app, which is expected to be available this summer in app stores for
devices running HP's webOS, Apple's iOS 4 and Google's Android mobile OS.
Support for other mobile platforms is planned, she said.
also can get online support process management for such tasks as
troubleshooting problems, managing contracts and warranties, and connecting
online with HP experts. HP has integrated the processes with its call center
infrastructure for a convergence of service delivery models. More capabilities
will be added in the future. The process management offering will roll out in
the second half of the year, Barsamian said.
officials are confident in the HP Support Center capabilities, Barsamian said.
In pilot testing in Asia, the vendor saw an 18 percent
increase in customer satisfaction in the Web support they received, and a 30
percent increase in resolving customer support requests on the first try, she
rollout of the HP Support Center comes at a time when the company is putting a particular
focus on its services business
. CEO Leo Apotheker said during a conference
call to announce its quarterly earnings May 17 that the company is revamping
the leadership of its services unit and adding more people to the effort.
Apotheker said HP will hire a new executive vice president for the services
business, which he said for too long has focused on low-margin services-such as
computer repairs-while paying too little attention to higher-margin services
and consulting, including application services.
have not yet shifted our services business to higher-value, higher-margin and
higher-growth categories," Apotheker said at the time. "We have
over-executed operationally and under-invested strategically."
high-profile executive exits from HP included two services executives: Tom
Iannotti, who had led the services business, is retiring, while Gary Budzinski,
who headed HP's computer maintenance, also is leaving HP. The other executive
was Marius Haas, senior vice president and general manager of HP's networking
agreed that HP needed to refocus its services efforts.
Services saw gradual improvement in its higher value-added services' sales in
1Q11," Technology Business Research analyst Beau Skonieczny said in a May 17 research
note. "However, it will need to be more aggressive to support profitable