EB: It is the one-year anniversary of the HP Inc – Hewlett Packard Enterprise split. How have you found the first year of business as HP Inc.?
NL: Simply incredible. A year ago, we set out to reinvent everything – our industry, our company, our products and services, our culture, and ourselves. In that time we’ve come such a long way, and forged a very firm foundation for our future.
This year was also my first year as President for EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa]. Taking the helm of EMEA’s largest start-up has been hugely exciting, and a privilege. The journey we have been on has been extremely rewarding, and we are just getting started.
From major product and service innovations to strategic acquisitions, we’ve achieved a phenomenal amount in such a short space of time. And we’ve done all this in a time of market softness and rapid change.
But our biggest achievement has been building such a strong team. Across the region we’ve harnessed the energy of the new HP – everywhere I look, I see a team that’s motivated and invested in the company’s success.
EB: The market continues to struggle amid weak PC and printer demand. Faced with a declining market, a market which has traditionally sat at the core of your business, what’s your strategy for growth moving forward?
NL: HP’s strategy is to be selective in where we play; that means remaining strong in our core, seeking relevant growth opportunities, and delivering customer and partner value-add at every chance we get.
In the past 12 months we have also announced a host of incredible category and product innovations, including the thinnest consumer and business laptops in the world, our high-spec Omen range for serious gamers, and the revolutionary HP Elite X3 – the first phablet, laptop, and desktop in three-in-one, a new standard for mobile working.
2016 was also the year we introduced the world’s first production-ready 3D printer system, with output that is ten times faster than competitor models at half the cost. Finally, we announced the acquisition of Samsung’s printer business. Combined with our own technology, this will deliver our customers and partners true innovation and a winning proposition in the global $55 billion A3 copier segment.
Separation was a catalyst for 12 months of endless innovation. We have a newfound independence that’s driving more focused R&D, and allowing us to invest in customer-relevant new technology.
EB: What about your plans for HP specifically in EMEA?
NL: Our global and EMEA strategy has not changed in the last few years. Tactics and executional focus change when needed, but we don’t believe in changing a winning strategy. Delivering technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere is our goal.
EMEA will continue to play a lead role in product and service introductions. Many innovations that are changing our industry were launched here in 2016: our Jet Fusion 3D printer and HP Elite X3 in Barcelona, HP Spectre in Versailles, and our HP Slice and Pavilion Wave desktops in Berlin, to name just a few.
We’ll also continue to reinvent our relationship with the channel. Among other things, you’ll see us focus even more on our services and solutions offerings. In EMEA we’ve made great progress in these areas, and in October, HP Inc. ranked first for Channel Satisfaction amongst all vendors, according to the Canalys Vendor Benchmark.
We have an ongoing commitment to our customers and our brand in EMEA; these are two things very hard to separate when you have been in this industry for over 75 years. You’ll see HP’s logo on the Renault e.dams Formula E team, the electric-only motorsport. You’ll also see it at the Cannes Film Festival, where we help deliver much of the buzz and excitement, not just for the duration of the festival, but behind the scenes every day as a core provider of technology to movie and design houses.
Beyond that, we’re more focused than ever on our core business. Something we’re currently proud of is our share in the PC market in EMEA – the highest we have ever had. Rather than a goal in itself, we see this as a reward from our customers who value the brand and the innovations we bring to market. Our goal is not share for share’s sake, it is to continue creating satisfied customers.
EB: You have made a grab for an even bigger share of the printing market with the acquisition of Samsung’s printer business – the biggest acquisition made by either companies since the split. What are your plans for the copier space?
NL: HP didn’t just acquire Samsung’s Printer Division; it set out to disrupt an outdated copier market with superior multifunction printing technologies. The acquisition shows our commitment to reinventing the A3 copier space, a $55 billion market. By combining Samsung A3 technology with HP printing technologies, we’re creating a powerful portfolio of superior and secure A3 multifunction printers in a part of the market that has not seen innovation for a long time.
For channel partners, this launch represents the industry’s most advanced lineup of A3 laser, MFPs and A4 laser printing solutions for the office.
And we won’t stop there. We’re planning to continue transforming the market, both in the short and long-term future. Watch this space!