HP Expands Tech Options for Small Business

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted June 12, 2013

HP is expanding its cloud-enabled content management system, Flow CM, to include more of the company's printer models and a bigger slice of the mobile device market.

Flow CM is HP's answer to enterprise content management. The cloud-based service provides businesses with document storage, capture, search and sharing services. A Web-based management portal and mobile apps provide document access and collaboration features in the office and on the go.

To date, Flow CM support was reserved only for select multi-function printers (MFPs). Now HP has "dramatically expanded the number of products that have Flow," announced Aaron Weiss, director of marketing for HP LaserJet and enterprise solutions. Flow CM is now integrated into "all of our Web-enabled OfficeJet Pro and LaserJet Pro printers," Weiss told Small Business Computing.

Content Management, Mobile Style

Apart from "an opportunity for us to expand the reach of Flow CM Pro," said Weiss, the move helps businesses of practically all sizes to streamline their document workflows and extend mobile collaboration, printing and document sharing to their workforces. In another mobile-friendly move, the company announced that it had embraced a big player in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Already available in the Apple iTunes app store for iOS, Weiss revealed that the HP Flow CM Professional App is now available for Google's Android mobile operating system. Now users of Samsung's popular Galaxy handsets and other Android-based devices can take advantage of the same print and document collaboration features that their iPhone-carrying colleagues already enjoy.

Flow CM security also received an upgrade. For small and midsized businesses (SMBs) venturing beyond on-premises IT, "the move to cloud-based solutions raises security concerns," said Weiss. In an effort to offer "bank-grade security," the platform now supports encryption-at-rest. Essentially, Flow CM's data-in-transit data security protections now extend to the data when it's stored in HP's data centers.

HP and SalesForce

In its guise as an IT-systems-and-services provider, HP unveiled a new cloud service for businesses that rely on Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM). Based on Exstream, the company's enterprise customer communications management offering, HP Relate offers organizations a way to quickly deliver personalized documents.

The tedious task of copying and pasting customer data from Salesforce into quotes, proposals, direct marketing and other customer communications is over, boasted Weiss. Once activated, Saleforce customers can press the Relate library, call up a template library and craft documents that auto-populate a customer's information.

HP Relate "integration is really seamless," assured Weiss. In addition to time savings, businesses benefit from consistent branding and the knowledge that all documents adhere to legal disclosure and compliance requirements. Relate "eliminates the risk of having your brand misused," said Weiss.

HP Relate is currently available in the Salesforce App Exchange.

HP and Google

Amid these new announcements, HP made further small business inroads by partnering with another IT giant. The company teamed with Google to announce its new HP SMB IT in a Box product. The offering will combine HP computers and printers with the cloud-based Google Apps for Business (Gmail, IM, Calendar, Drive and Docs) software suite.

Envisioned as a "one-stop shop" technology solution for small businesses, SMB IT in a Box can be a real budget saver, according to Google Enterprise president Amit Singh.

"By moving to the cloud and helping employees work the way they live, small businesses can serve their customers better—and save money in the process. We look forward to working closely with HP moving forward to help businesses make the most of technology," stated Singh in company remarks.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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