No Magic Pill. HP Looks to Ride Dig­i­tal Wave Here

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech -

HP is fo­cused on the Dig­i­tal In­dia mar­ket and the com­pany is build­ing de­vices, such as tablets with fin­ger­print and iris read­ers, to de­liver Aad­haar-based ser­vices that will likely launch in Septem­ber, CEO Dion Weisler said. Weisler added that GST had col­lapsed some com­plex­i­ties and that the com­pany could re-look at ex­pand­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia. In an in­ter­view with ET’s Jochelle Men­donca and TV Ma­halingam, Weisler spoke about the com­pany’s plans for In­di­aspe­cific de­vices and its prospects in the In­dian mar­ket. Ex­cerpts:

IN­DIA PLAY We de­sign in In­dia for In­dia. We are then look­ing to fig­ure out how we can ex­port th­ese de­sign prin­ci­ples to other mar­kets

It’s been about two years since the com­pany split into two — HP and HP En­ter­prises. How is that sep­a­ra­tion go­ing? For us, 18 months into sep­a­ra­tion, I think we’ve even sur­prised our­selves. We’re of­ten asked ‘What’s your big­gest sur­prise?’ And my an­swer is, ‘The speed at which we’ve been able to ex­e­cute.’

Here we are, al­most two years into it, and the re­sults are re­ally start­ing to show. I char­ac­terised it on our last earn­ings call as a break­through quar­ter for us, where both busi­ness seg­ments grew and that’s the first time since 2010. We’re per­form­ing well in the mar­ket on the back of great in­no­va­tion. There’s no trick in here, no magic pill. It’s just a lot of hard work that we did. Our per­sonal sys­tems busi­ness has been grow­ing in the dou­ble dig­its over the past cou­ple of quar­ters and our print­ing sys­tem re­turned to growth as well.

You had said you would cre­ate a Dig­i­tal In­dia divi­sion. How is that work­ing out? In In­dia, we said we would go out and form a divi­sion to fo­cus on Dig­i­tal. And we formed that in 2016, it is very well funded and staffed. We have a cus­tomer wel­come cen­tre in Delhi, and I visit a lot of them all over the world, and this one is by far the best we have any­where in the world. Not be­cause of the size and scale but be­cause of its ap­pli­ca­bil­ity in so­lu­tions.

So, ev­ery­thing you see there is an­chored around a so­lu­tion that is geared to trans­form­ing the Dig­i­tal In­dia mis­sion that the gov­ern­ment is putting in place.

How im­por­tant is cre­at­ing In­dia-spe­cific so­lu­tions to HP? We only have two de­sign cen­tres in the world, fo­cused on de­sign­ing for lo­cal mar­kets, one is here and one is in China.

So, we de­sign in In­dia for In­dia. We are then look­ing to fig­ure out how we can ex­port th­ese de­sign prin­ci­ples to other mar­kets, whether emerg­ing mar­kets or even de­vel­oped mar­kets that we think has a vi­able op­tion for the so­lu­tion.

We are en­cour­aged by the mar­ket op­por­tu­nity and the work the team is do­ing.

HP al­ready man­u­fac­tures in In­dia. Would you con­sider ex­pand­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing here? As a global man­u­fac­turer and a global brand, when we’ve looked to In­dia in the past as a coun­try to set up man­u­fac­tur­ing shop, the eco­nomic equa­tions never made sense for a num­ber of rea­sons.

For one, the math just doesn’t work but, two, the com­plex­ity of getting anything done here with the tax reg­u­la­tions and du­ties was so dif­fi­cult that it just goes to the ‘too hard’ bas­ket and you go some­where else.

With GST, you col­lapsed a num­ber of those bar­ri­ers and that’s forc­ing us to do a re-look at how we look at our man­u­fac­tur­ing foot­print. One, will the math work and two, will we be able to ex­e­cute. Be­cause the ex­e­cutabil­ity is key and GST has

en­abled that.

Dion Weisler

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