Hewlett Packard is working with Alcatel and telecoms operators to target small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with Ready Office, a converged office package offered as a managed service.
Ready Office, part of HP's Smart Office initiative, allows SMBs to integrate voice, data and internet technologies, from PCs and servers to software, network access, voice, data and multimedia services.
PC support, remote configuration and management, software upgrades, messaging, conferencing and contact centre facilities can all be included, with a single point of contact for service and support offered through certified channel partners, the vendor said.
Ready Office will be offered on a pay-per-use model, with France Telecom the first telco to sign up as a partner.
"The Ready Office programme is an extension of HP's Smart Office initiative. It is a converged office in a box, wrapped up in a managed service," said HP chief executive Carly Fiorina at ITU Telecom World 2003.
"SMBs are willing to take risks on themselves but they are not willing to take risks on their technology. Ready Office delivers more expertise, more reliability, more service and service delivered in a pay-as-you-go and pay-as-you-use package."
Camille Mendler, research director at analyst The Yankee Group, said in a statement: "This important partnership illustrates the changing role of equipment vendors in the telecoms supply chain."
But Ian French, managing director at distributor Ideal, questioned whether many channel players were ready for Ready Office.
"HP is looking at a range of alliance initiatives around convergence. It'll be interesting to see how they package and take to market these ideas," he said.
David Smith, HP's UK and Eire SMB manager, said: "Ready Office is a great illustration of some of the programmes to come out of the Smart Office initiative.
"Ready Office is currently not available in the UK but we will be looking into the possibility of implementing a similar type solution in the future."
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