HP: Printer politics waste millions of pounds

Comdex: Battles between IT and other departments over hardware like printers waste time and money, says Hewlett-Packard

Politics between the IT and other departments is preventing organisations from saving millions of pounds on printing and imaging costs, according to Hewlett Packard. 

Unveiling its new range of printing devices to coincide with the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, HP said battles between facilities, IT, procurement and marketing departments means companies get a fragmented and unbalanced printing infrastructure.

Vyomesh Joshi, executive VP of the imaging and printing group at HP, said as a result many firms don't even know what printers they have.

"Customers really need to break down the politics," he said. "When we talk to customers they don't know how many printers and copiers they have in their environment. We need to have that conversation at a higher level [in the organisation]."

Peter Grant, principal analyst at Gartner, said most firms manage their printing environments on an ad hoc basis, which can prove costly.

"There's no centralised control and that's a recipe for disaster," he said. "This is the time to be looking at that and gaining those savings."

HP announced details of several high-end business printing devices that it says can cut an organisation's printing costs by 30 percent through consolidation, improved reliability and better services.

"We can reduce total cost of operation of our customers by 30 percent, improve productivity and help them find new customers," said Joshi. "Organisations have already done PC consolidation and server consolidation. Next it is going to be printer consolidation. It's real money and clearly for enterprise customers this is a big deal."

Joshi said improved reliability will mean users spend less time and money on 'break and fix' helpdesk and support calls and will be able to concentrate on improving productivity.

"We can reduce help desk calls by 50 percent. Break and fix costs should be minimal. It should be reliable. We are focused more on consulting services than break and fix and helpdesk services," he said.

HP revealed details of three new multifunction printing, copying, scanning and fax machines, four new laser and inkjet printers, digital pen and paper forms automation software and print server adapters for networking and remote administration.

A range of new customers was announced including fast food chain Subway's European operations, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, FedEx and Best Buy. Roman Fraulini, IT manager at Best Buy, said his organisation has reduced costs by 37 percent by centralising control.

"[Previously] department A is buying consumables and hardware, and IT is doing support and maintenance. As a result of that disconnect there is a lack of accountability for the printing environment."

With its new range of multi-function printers, Joshi said HP will take on the high-end copier market worth some $24bn globally. He said HP currently only has a 1.5 percent share of this market and aims to increase that to over 10 percent in three years.

Joshi admitted HP had made mistakes with its previous multi-function 'mopiers' but had learnt its lesson and improved networkability and manageability.