Regional Business Manager
|Creating new customs and customers in
European customs have a way of breaking ground for the
rest of the world, and that trend has been true for the world of the
e3000. In managing a territory with more than a dozen distributors
and languages, leaders for the European e3000 business face
challenges in channels and communications that make managing a
country like the US seem simple by comparison. Earlier this year the
e3000 got a new business leader for Europe in Alexandra Wiedenmann,
Regional Business Manager for the Commercial Systems Division (CSY).
She joined the CSY Europe team four years ago at its Germany
headquarters, managing the Client Server program that gave her good
working relationships with Europes partners.
Last month Wiedenmanns team of managers presented
a full day of customers, telling their stories about Internet and
Web-based successes, at the Lets Go e! seminar in
Amsterdam. It was typical of the kind of positive and forward-looking
efforts of the European CSY team. Years ago, then-general manager
Harry Sterling cut this group loose to tailor its message and
business practices to a market very different from North America. For
example, at the seminar we spotted a Web site full of in-depth data
about virtually every Web-enabling tool available for the e3000,
products tested and researched and by French CSY partner Cheops
Technology. We asked Wiedenmann during a break in the seminar how
Cheops information will help the e3000 customer in Europe, and
how this sort of thing might set an example for similar programs in
the rest of the e3000 community.
Its exciting to see independent information offered
in a seminar organized by HP. What role do you see Cheops playing in
training e3000 customers about the possibilities of the Internet?
Cheops has already done 13 seminars in France, where
theyve talked about how to start with the Internet and about
the tools as well. We are thinking about how to bring these seminars
to other countries. There are different possibilities: train our
partners in different countries, or really promote Cheops through
different countries as well. As you know, in Europe we have language
issues, so we have to find a way to do the next step. In France they
teach in French, of course. The best thing is to do the training in
the local languages. Cheops is able to do the training in English as
well, but the customers in places like Germany want to get it in
How is the e3000 business in Europe?
Actually we had a difficult year. We recognized that
people really invested the year before, so this year was difficult.
But we have seen in the last month that its moving again, and
the Internet projects and all the ideas around the Internet are
taking off. Its really positive.
In the US, the number of available applications is an
issue that has limited the growth of the 3000 customer base. Is it
still true the number of applications in Europe isnt as much of
depends, and its different from country to country. We have
some countries where we have lots of standard applications, and we
have other countries where lots of the customers have home-grown
applications. What we had to learn was that it is not so easy to
bring a solution to another country. Its a local language
issue, how they do business, its really difficult. With some
applications like the Smith-Gardner application it works out, but
with others its really difficult.
Smith-Gardner seems to be pretty organized around the UK,
but are they making new sales for the 3000 in other European
It was their plan to concentrate on the UK first, and then
they want to move forward in the rest of the countries. They have
enough business for the moment in the UK. We just won a new customer
to HP in Denmark in Lego, the toys for kids. They went live three
weeks ago, and all the end-users can order directly over the Internet
their Lego kits. If you want blue bricks, you can put an order
together online. Since theyre a new customer to the 3000,
How much is the business falling off in the installed base
You see some attrition, but its kind of stable. We are
winning some new customers, and there are partners in Europe winning
new customers in specific markets.
Among the installed base, have you seen customers waiting
for the N-Class system and coming A-Class systems? In the US
theres a very large installed base of 9x7 systems is
that the case here?
Its the same in Europe. Yes, some customers are
waiting, at the moment they dont have a need for new systems,
so they can afford to wait. Others are still buying. One thing
weve done in Europe, and this is just for Europe, is our Bridge
Program. Thats where a customer who needs more power at the
moment and wants to buy a new system buys it now. And then as soon as
they order an A-Class or N-Class e3000, they get some of their money
back. Were rewarding him for having to invest twice, in order
to avoid having customers wait to buy.
How much impact has Oracles decision to move away
from the e3000 had on the European customers? Was it any more
installed in Europe than in the US?
I think it was kind of similar. I think the Oracle marketing
message was a bad thing, but we really couldnt do anything
about it. We wanted to influence it and change their minds, but we
didnt have any chance to turn their minds around. I think from
a business point of view the influence was big. It was more of the
marketing message. For awhile there was some discussion of it [by
customers], but at the moment its quieted down.
For us it was really difficult, because wed tried
for a long time to convince Oracle, but we had no message to give the
customers, yes or no. At the end, the impact wasnt too big
less than we thought.
Well, we did hear from Peter Herpich of Lindauer-Dornier
that they are glad to be moving away from Oracle in their 3000
Yes, we are thinking of putting together a success story
about what they are doing there. But that might be difficult to
Do you think the mobile aspect of e-commerce, like WAP
applications, will break here first for HPs 3000 community? Do
you expect your customers here in Europe will be leading in this
before those in other parts of the world?
Overall for HP, Europe is advanced in this area. On the 3000
side its a great message we can deliver. Its possible
with the 3000, but Im not sure people will really use those
possibilities. Its nice that its possible, and
theres already one solution there [from Smith-Gardner].
Overall, I think the mobile business is just getting started.
Definitely Europe is advanced in this.