Hewlett Packard (HP) is increasing its services focus by setting up a dedicated IT services business unit to work closely with resellers and systems integrators.
The announcement came in the same week that Carly Fiorina, HP's chief executive, announced at Cebit in Hanover that the company would need to make "surgical and disciplined" changes to the business to improve profitability.
The IT services division will be responsible for "strengthening HP's relationships with systems integrators", and will also help interested partners move away from volume hardware to services and support. The unit will be responsible for educational courses, solutions support and deployment, consultancy and company outsourcing.
Ann Livermore, past president of the company's business customer organisation, will head the division and report directly to Fiorina.
"It's clear we're in an era where business and IT strategy are now inextricably linked, and partners are more focused than ever on implementing solutions," said Livermore.
"The capabilities within this new division will be an essential part of HP's strategy to help partners and end-users develop and transform their businesses."
Nat Hart, managing director of HP hardware reseller Landscape, said: "This is marvellous news. Resellers want to bundle services with products, so this division will make a fundamental difference. It puts us another step ahead of box shifters."
Jane Ayers, marketing manager at HP software reseller OSCL, said: "This is good news for us. At a time when everyone wants to invest in services, I cannot think of a better development. HP is conserving its commitment to the channel."
Fiorina warned delegates attending Cebit that the European economy is likely to fall as sharply as that of the US, while HP's growth over the coming year is unlikely to rise much above two per cent.
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