HPs Joshi Learns PC Biz, Courts New Partners

Hewlett-Packard's IPSG leader is charting a course toward a robust PC business, reaching out to partners and forming new pricing strategies.

Charged with leading Hewlett-Packard Co.s combined printing and PC groups, Executive Vice President Vyomesh Joshi is in a key position to set the course for HP in a time of uncertainty.

Often mentioned as a possible replacement for ousted CEO Carly Fiorina, Joshi said hes more concerned now with learning the PC business, forming new pricing strategies and reaching out to HP channel partners. Joshi talked with eWEEK Staff Writer Shelley Solheim last week to highlight his work in the first 90 days as head of the new Imaging and Personal Systems Group, at HP, in Palo Alto, Calif.

How is the consolidation going? What have you accomplished so far?

I feel there is tremendous opportunity for profitable growth combining IPG [Imaging and Printing Group] and PSG [Personal Systems Group].

I am going to various locations to really understand the [PC] business and how it is run and what are the key things we can do to continue to drive both IPG and PSG in a focused fashion.

We believe that because we sell to the same customers with PCs and printers, we can find completely new opportunities.

Could you outline your next steps and how channel partners and enterprises will see results?

[Partners] will only have to deal with one group instead of having multiple contact points. Thats going to be very important [in] simplifying doing business with HP.

[Since the] IBM-Lenovo [Group Ltd.] decision, there is tremendous opportunity to go after those customers. We are working with analysts and customers, saying HP is showing a commitment to the PC business by combining IPG and PSG.

For small- and midsize-business customers, I believe the IPSG combination provides a better framework. [SMB] customers are always worried [that] there is no IT department to support them. HP could become their virtual IT department.

/zimages/2/28571.gifWill HP lose users in the wake of Fiorinas departure? Click here to read more.

Can channel partners expect [such changes]—where theyll have to deal with only one HP representative—within three months or six months?

We already started that process. [Channel partners] know we are moving with enterprise customers in the next 30 [to] 60 days to move 30 percent of customers to the channel. What you will see in the next 90 days is really clear operationalization of the strategy.

When HP combined the PC and printing units, you said time to market and profit growth were main goals. Have the internal changes at HP affected your time-to-market goals?

No, actually not. IPSG is a $50 billion organization, and we need to work on our strategy aggressively.

The consumer is not interested in what technology we have. They want to really have an easy-to-set-up, easy-to-use approach from HP. In both the PC and printing business, we can really simplify the interface. We have a clear launch plan for our back-to-school and for our Christmas selling season. We will coordinate that and help to really drive time to market with the right kind of strategy.

In terms of profitability Im looking at what are key things that we know that we can bundle—PCs and printers—and also how we are going to get aggressive in our pricing and promotion strategy with the printing.

Industry observers have said that HP is hurting its profit growth by not partnering with PC vendors such as Dell [Inc.]. What is your response?

I dont believe that we need to do that. When you partner with Dell, you have to share profit, so I dont agree with that. It could be true for some other vendors, but its not true for HP.

At the time of the merger, you said this should table speculation that HP would spin off its PC and printing businesses. Can you speak with the same assurance now that a new CEO with new ideas will be taking over?

The portfolio that we have is very powerful. Using the assets that we have will [allow us] to grow our business from an IPSG point of view in a very effective way. For example, I give you digital entertainment, with some of the technologies we have in imaging and printing, in terms of how to really improve the quality of a display, and the assets we have on the PC side. So, the convergence is happening right in front of customers eyes.

Now that youre in charge of everything from printers to projectors to PCs and handhelds, are you making any changes to your direct reports or shifting responsibilities in any way?

My initial approach was listen, learn and lead. I really wanted to go to the various sides and understand the PC business. Find the right opportunity for our portfolio, and based on that, Im putting together a clear strategy for IPSG because I believe form follows function. Once I have all the strategies and priorities in my mind, I will reorganize.

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