(10/04/99) - Hewlett-Packard's US$6 billion customer service and support group will launch several new initiatives during the next few months to keep pace with the company's frenetic electronic-services push.
The moves are aimed at expanding HP's services and consulting capabilities, especially in key industries such as manufacturing and communications.
Among the planned initiatives are the following:
* A consulting service called Discovery Workshops, initially for large companies in the automotive, aerospace, high-tech electronics and pharmaceutical industries. HP will help customers explore opportunities for adding Internet functionality to enterprise resource planning, supply-chain and customer relationship management applications.
* A services partnering program under which HP will increase the number of partners qualified to deliver critical support services on its behalf.
* Under the program, HP will group its partners under four broad categories, ranging from hardware support and sales to joint-selling and joint-service delivery partners.
* A Web-based instruction and certification course for users of HP technology, to be launched by HP Education services next month.
* An increased emphasis on joint ventures in the outsourcing space, especially in the Internet area, such as Intria-HP, the result of a joint venture with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
HP still has a way to go before it gets the kind of brand recognition that Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM have for Internet technology, said Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
"But HP has been on the ball when it comes to the energy and number of practical things it is doing on the services and technology front to get there," Eunice said.