HP to evangelize India’s digital transformation journey: Sumeer Chandra

Service-based models like MPS and Device-as-a-Service to redefine IT infra of PCs and Printers across Indian organizations, says Sumeer Chandra, MD, HP Inc. India

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HP Inc. like most technology giants is all geared to play a critical part of India’s digital transformation journey across enterprise, government, SMB and consumers. Sumeer Chandra, responsible for managing and growing HP’s computing, printing, solutions and services business, is focused on driving long-term growth initiatives while maintaining company’s leadership position.  CIO India spoke to Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP Inc. India at length on how he is strengthening HP’s efforts within Digital India, a critical growth area for the company.

Edited Excerpts.

We have been hearing for the past five to ten years that PC is dead. How do you demystify the myth especially from India perspective?

It has been clearly established over the past three to four years that PC is far from dead. At that time the tablets’ sales were ascending, and there was perception that users will switch from PCs to tablets. But it’s been the opposite. Tablet numbers are dwindling away except for few commercial vertical use cases and the lower end of elementary school children.

The PC industry has gone through a shift in terms of the lifespans getting extended as the users holding longer to the PCs. With the demand changing every year for PCs, there has been some shift over consumption happening over phones but personal computer remains an important device for users both - professional or consumer.

As far as India is concerned, the data of penetration of PC has a strong correlation to GDP per capita. It is still early days in India as PC penetration will witness an acceleration driven by factors like economic growth, strong adoption of digital technologies and availability of broadband (a major constraining factor earlier). Many telcos are announcing plans for wireline broadband to home that will drive greater adoption and facilitate the consumption of PCs. Smartphones will be the primary device for consumers but they will eventually feel the need for device like PC with bigger screen, more productive devices. There is much more headroom for PC growth in India.

The form factors of personal computers have changed from tower PC to all-in-one to small form factors to thin clients. What about the demand for workstations in India?

For consumers at a worldwide level the refresh cycle for PCs has stayed flat. Some industries have to upgrade (refresh) faster as their demands increased in a relatively short period of time. But there is a definite shift to mobile factors within PCs. There has been a transition from desktops to laptops to large degree in consumer segment.

PC is far from Dead: Sumeer Chandra, HP Inc. India

It has been clearly established over the past three to four years that PC is far from dead. At that time the tablets’ sales were ascending, and there was perception that users will switch from PCs to tablets. But it’s been the opposite. Tablet numbers are dwindling away except for few commercial vertical use cases and the lower end of elementary school children.

It is happening in commercial though some companies need desktops for issues like security etc. However most office workers over time will move to notebooks especially with the new form factor like detachable, convertibles. In some customers in India, we see the deployment of thin clients. Thin clients will make a comeback with upcoming 5G leading with more data and higher throughputs on wireless. Some computing workloads will move back to the servers and then using the thin clients.

Workstations has a huge potential going forward with the traditional use cases of computational intensive work in design, R&D. But the emergence of VR/AR, ML, AI need more powerful machines like workstations. We ourselves see the workstation growth more than average PC market in India. While desktop work stations continue to grow, we will see a shift for mobile workstations to emerge stronger.

HP Inc. and its extensive portfolio of PCs and Printers operates with varied GTM models encompassing Capex (traditional on prem), financial services and PC as a service. What’s been the response in India?

Financing or leasing is a reasonably well established practice with good number of customers in India. We see almost 15 to 20 percent of customers use our leasing options and some have leasing options on their own. It’s still early days for PC as a service to take off. We see more traction in SMBs opt for Opex due to cash constraint at their end. For large companies that are more Capex intensive, PC investments remains a small portion out of their total IT budgets. However over time, convenience and flexibility of Opex will appeal more to them as they can scale up and scale down little faster than go through traditional RFP process. Large companies will appreciate PC-as-a-Service and not necessarily the ‘Capex to Opex’ transformation model.

Who is the actual buyer or real influencer of products and solutions of HP Inc. at the corporate (enterprise and large enterprise) end? Is it CIO, LoB, CFO?

Right now, it’s probably one level below the CIO. It’s the department or LOB in case of specialized devices like workstations, thin clients or mobility based device. I do see some transition for CIO and maybe HR team getting more involved in purchase process. We realize the macro trends from the industrial or machine age to more of experience age which entails employee experience and customer experience through use of IT.

Customer engagement is becoming an important topic. We see many companies some of them in Asia where CIO is no longer just an IT provider but they own the responsibility for engagement and experience. CIOs and HR will play greater role in determining IT tools that are made available to company employees. We do have high level conversation with CIOs of most companies in India than before.

PCs especially laptops have various inflecting factors like user experience, customer experience, and sleek looks besides the cost factor.

Cost will remain an important component but the new considerations are also weighed in by corporate.  We see people replacing phones faster and it seems after three to four years company users will actually replace PCs much faster as long as TCO does not go up. Cost pressure will always be there as the IT budgets are static but IT leaders have to spend more amount on innovation.

... “It is still early days in India as PC penetration will witness an acceleration driven by factors like economic growth, strong adoption of digital technologies and availability of broadband (a major constraining factor earlier).”
Sumeer Chandra
Managing Director, HP Inc. India

HP Inc’s value prop of offering like PC-as-a-Service brings down IT infra spend and those budgets can be played up for innovation as it provides more value and lowers TCO of device, support and management and not just device cost.

MPS (Managed Print Services) business for HP Inc. is a mature and robust offering in India through direct-to-customer and partner-enabled models. We are on MPS journey since five years with many enterprises using MPS to consume printing today. We see SMBs adopt MPS more in near future largely driven through our channel partners.

What’s the update on your geo expansion plan which has been on HP’s agenda and how will channel partners play a role?

HP has the most comprehensive channel coverage across most Indian cities including remote corners of the country through a wide network of channel partners. To expand geographically, we will open own physical stores in tier 3 or tier 4 cities and we will also reach to businesses in these cities through channel partners.

We will be leveraging channels in India across metros and other cities as we expect more revenues from channel business. As a channel centric company globally and in India, we are ensuring lead generation, MDF funds and ease of doing business for channel partners. Post-acquisition of Samsung printing business by HP, we have integrated sales teams, channels and distributors of HP Inc. and Samsung.

We are also preparing the channels from long term perspective for future service-based consumption models like MPS and DaaS (Device as a Service) to stay relevant to their customers. There has been positive reaction from traditional HP channels on DaaS models which will help them get new enterprise customers on board. Also such service models can be a good up sell for channels to move their existing capex-based model to the new models. The powerful arsenal like HP financial services helps the corporate customers opt for financing for DaaS model

What technology trends will impact technology market at large and the business areas that HP Inc. plays into?

Mobility is critical which involves more than smartphones – the apps, notebook form factors.
End point devices are often the biggest threat for data security.  In particular, there had been remarkable innovation across laptop range in elite (premium) series and Probook (mainstream) series. For example Convertible ProBook 360 that fold like a tablet exuding compelling form factor.



Sumeer Chandra’s

5 Big Priorities for India



1. Accelerate India business with big focus on SMBs and consumer segment.


2.Focus on Omni- channel model (integration of off-line and online) extending to commercial segment too.


3. Adoption of service-based consumption models like Device-as-a-Service and MPS.


4. Geographic expansion in tier-3 and Tier-4 Indian cities through physical stores and channel partners.


5. Importance of security that’s in-built across HP’s range of PCs and Printers of HP for endpoint device protection.

HP has big focus with data security as security solutions are in-built into our hardware devices of PCs and printers. Sureview technology is now rolled out across every HP Elite platform which prevents visual hacking.  It’s been four quarters since we introduced A3 printers and also added the new lineup of printers from acquisition of Samsung. For SMBs, we have traditional laser printer portfolio is doing well and we sell ink tank products as well.

Consumption based Service models both on printers and PCs will be the new normal. Omni channel (including e-commerce, retail etc.) will be an important GTM for us in future  

As a very revenue and growth focused company, we are looking at opportunities to accelerate our business with key focus on consumer and SMBs. Omni channel will be important with integration of off line and on line in retail. But I expect that to flow into commercial space too.  Service models like Device as a service and MPS has been a mature business for us. Geographic expansion in tier-3 / Tier-4 cities through own stores and channels.

I am excited to invest in right talent for the company with a big focus on diversity to have a mix of women and other diverse groups at HP Inc. My professional goal is to make HP a very critical part of India’s digital transformation journey across all customer segments – enterprise, government, SMB and consumers.