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HP users decry Itanium, SAP issues and bad English

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Away from the Itanium issues, HP's customers also had serious concerns about numerous areas, including the company's support staff and services contracts.

Photo of a fake Xbox game called Carly Fiorina's Outsource: Exodus to BangaloreOne point of difficulty is the offshoring of HP's call center staff to India. Users complained that they can't understand the Indian workers.

"We do have some issues that we have identified and need to work through," said Bob Floyd, HP's VP in charge of customer services.

He insisted that HP will keep up its offshoring practice as it is a "global company" and is working to improve the accents of the Indian staffers. "We have to continue to work on the language so they can be understood," he said. Being understood does help.

Most of HP's Indian staff handle consumer PC calls, but as HP teaches these workers a Texas twang, it plans to have them handle high-end support issues.

Another customer complained about HP's three-year support services contracts. Unlike some vendors, HP makes customers pay the total price of the contract upfront, if they want any kind of price break for buying three years of support instead of just one. Other vendors allow customers to enjoy a price break and simply pay for one year at a time.

"I will take that back as input," Floyd said. "We'll see what we can do on that."

The Shipping News

But the biggest complaint against HP by far came as a result of its poor shipping practices. Many of these grumbles were covered here, but one user, who did not make that story, stood out.

Bob Lewandowski, of ASAP Software in Illinois, was outraged by HP blaming a difficult SAP supply-chain software rollout for recent financial losses and shipping problems.

"I can't get good delivery dates," he said. "It would help me if you would update channel partners so that we can get realistic delivery times. My guys come back and say, "Well, we can get IBM products but not HP products.'"

"As a shareholder as well as a customer, it's hard for me to say there is a lot of benefit in keeping (customers) as all HP shops. It's hard for me to swallow, as a shareholder, that HP makes us customers pay for a consolidation of SAP that is supposed to save costs."

Rather ironically, HP CEO Carly Fiorina was just bragging about HP's wonderful supply chain expertise back at the company's June meeting with analysts.

"Fiorina said that HP would bring the same focus on execution to selling products and services in this new technology era, as it did with the HP-Compaq merger," according to this report. "In fact, it is the merger that made HP aware that the lessons it learned in streamlining one of the most complex manufacturing, supply chain, and IT operations in the world made it realize it had to change not only what it sells but how it sells. When customers buy into HP's Adaptive Enterprise approach to IT, what they are buying is a piece of that HP merger experience."

After HP lost $400m in revenue from the failed SAP rollout, customers may well move as far away from the HP merger experience as possible.

As RedMonk analyst James Governor puts it, "HP is trying to build an application management business to rival IBMs. What better case study in proving your R/3 and Netweaver capability than a good old dogfood eating session - show everyone how to merge two SAP systems and they will come to you the next time they make a merger or acquisition and want to do the same thing. Who would go to HP now for a large scale SAP integration? The CEO just publicly said HP can't effectively manage such a project."

"There was a time when IBM's sales force had some issues with a Siebel rollout. But the world at large never heard a thing. IBM wasn't about to criticize its most important CRM partner in public. Well HP just did exactly that." ®

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