HP outlines storage biz strategy for SMB IT deals

HP India on Thursday said it would expand its storage products presence to 66 towns from the present 40, as part of its strategy to strengthen SMB IT business.

In the recent quarter, HP’s market share in storage products segment in the SMB space declined to 22-23 percent from 25 percent earlier. This was due to HP’s shift in focus to mid-range products in India. Dell, HP’s main rival, has also started eating into its SMB market share.

The technology giant and the storage market leader in India will identify new channel partners to boost its SMB business. “We will continue to rely on our strong channel partner eco-system. But we will train 400 channel partners to focus more on SMB business,” said Barun Lala, director, Storage, HP India, told InfotechLead.com.

Indian SMBs spend around 1-2 percent of their annual revenue on IT infrastructure. Hence SMB is a strong focus area for HP.

AMI-Partners says lack of finance coupled with low awareness of IT benefits are the major hindrances behind low ICT adoption by SMB clusters.

“It is imperative for IT vendors to enhance awareness about specific IT applications within SMB clusters and how they can increase SMB RoI in the long run. Vendors should emphasize how IT applications can increase competitiveness of SMBs within clusters, enable them to move up the technology-adoption ladder and enhance efficiency and productivity,” said Subrata Sarkar, senior research analyst, AMI-Partners.

According to HP’s Barun Lala, who spent more than 16 years with the IT major, HP’s strategies are assisting the company to land deals in the SMB market. Recently, an Indian IT publication recognized HP for customer satisfaction.

“There are several factors that assist us. HP — thanks to our products in the desktop, printers, etc. segments — has a strong brand recall in India. No other company can offer better quality support to our customers. Clubbed with high quality products and reliability, we continue to lead the storage market,” Lala added.

Around 800 sales partners and 300 service partners are supporting HP’s SMB growth strategy. HP’s storage products are also competitively priced. But price is not a game changer.

AMI-Partners’ Sarkar says IT vendors can consider introducing hosted IT solutions for SMB business needs. This can help SMBs tide over cash-crunch problems since they can adopt these solutions through the pay-per-use method.

Indian SMBs are plagued by low cash issues and possess an unmanaged IT infrastructure.

“I have been around 16 years with HP. SMB customers focus on reliability when they migrate or buy a storage product. In fact, migration to HP storage products from our competition is increasing significantly,” Lala said.

As part of its SMB growth plan, HP India on Thursday said it is helping SMBs and government agencies to maximize storage investments with new offerings that include the next generation of its MSA entry disk array, enhancements to the HP StoreEasy Storage portfolio and a new program for HP channel partners.

These solutions are available under HP’s new Simply StoreIT program. This program offers training, marketing and incentives for HP channel partners to quickly address their small and midsized customers’ challenges and pursue new revenue opportunities.

Picture source: flickr.com

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