Hewlett-Packard will offer to share the risk of new installations with customers in an attempt to catch up with the ebusiness bandwagon.
Over the next few months, HP will consolidate a plan to help its customers co-develop their Internet business ventures, perhaps using pioneering technology that is not available on the market - but the customers will only start to pay when they begin to reap the rewards of the new technology.
The concept of risk sharing is not new - it has been incorporated into outsourcing deals since the early 1990s. But no other major vendor has yet taken this approach to ebusiness.
"The difficulty arises in trying to measure the damn thing, but it is clearly attractive to the customer," explained Roger Cox, research director at Gartner Group.
This unorthodox move is part of HP's attempt to recover lost ground in the ebusiness race. The company admitted missing out on what it calls the "first chapter" of the Internet, which concentrated on information access.(see Newswire 17 March)
According to HP, the second chapter will be about E-services like billing, automated supply chain management, procurement and modular ERP and hosting services like MIPS on demand, outsourced storage, directory services and data mining.
HP's sudden attack on ecommerce services may be the brainchild of Alison Johnson, who masterminded IBM's E-business campaign, and recently joined HP.
"IBM has spent tens of millions of dollars marketing ebusiness. It will be a lot cheaper for HP, maybe 50 per cent of the marketing cost," commented Gartner's Cox. HP is preparing to spend #120 million on marketing its ecommerce services.
The risk sharing model will not be restricted to 'E-services'. HP has introduced a similar concept to help sales of its Hyperplex systems consolidation initiative launched last week.
Hyperplex will enable HP's Unix customers to cluster all their servers together with high speed interconnects and be able to manage it as one datacentre using HP's new Servicecontrol management suite.
Customers will be offered a total cost of ownership feasibility study to show how much money they will save through consolidation. They will pay HP a proportion of that cost saving as it is achieved.
For more stories see 30 March issue of PC Week UK
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