HP and the Rapidly Evolving Hybrid Work Ecosystem

Keypoint Intelligence dives into the small office/home office market segment



Colin McMahon


In November 2021, HP surpassed tough competition to win Keypoint Intelligence’s first Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) PaceSetter Award, cementing them as a leader in hybrid working print solutions. The award came after extensive research into numerous organizations, all of which brought unique and often powerful solutions to the space (look no further than Xerox’s Workflow Central platform for just one example).


That said, if asked to categorize the SOHO space in one word, it would be “dynamic.” If you were to press us for a second word, it would be “ecosystem.”


Unravelling the SOHO Hybrid Ecosystem  

Prior to digital transformation, it was common to think of components as modular. Security was only a method used to keep doors locked and unfriendly hands-off confidential equipment. Archiving was done by a department and had a designated space. Communication was paper-based and meetings happened in boardrooms or by the water cooler. Everything had a space and was easily segmented.


That is not the work environment of today. In truth, there is no magic bullet priority when looking at the SOHO space because nearly every component is linked. Even for a function as simple as printing, the situation has changed. Printers are now connected network devices, meaning they need to be compatible, secure, and reliable—regardless of where the primary user is. Competing in the SOHO hybrid space requires an understanding of cybersecurity, smart features, accessibility, and even print-as-a-service (PaaS). Simply doing one of these aspects well while neglecting the others will hurt every facet of the desired solution.



The Increasing Necessity of SOHO Solutions

The SOHO space is not new, and neither is its hybrid component. Work flexibility existed and was a rising trend before March 2020. That said, when the pandemic happened, it was essentially expecting to serve a one-person lunch but was suddenly met with a thousand people. The amount of hybrid home office workers ballooned dramatically, and Keypoint Intelligence’s data shows no signs of this trend reversing—even if the pandemic should shift into endemic territory. Data from our recent 2021 Future of Office Survey found amazing consistency in employee flexibility expectations. In short, knowledge workers—regardless of age, industry, or geography—expected to work three days a week at home, while only commuting to work twice during the week.


Should these expectations be met (and we strongly suggest they should), it means a massive increase in the number of colleagues who require efficient, scalable, and secure SoHo solutions that will empower them to do their best work regardless of location. It is comforting to know just how many print OEMs are already tailoring their needs to best suit this market segment.


Does HP Truly Lead the Hybrid SOHO Space?

As stated above, when we evaluated our data at the end of 2021, we determined that HP led the SOHO market segment in terms of software and hardware solutions. As this blog has hinted, they did not do it through any singular stand-out production (although their digital security offerings are exceptional), but rather because of a focus on a complete and intricate ecosystem solution, one largely built around transforming print from a one-time purchase into PaaS.


That said, the SoHo space truly is dynamic. Our recently published market insight captures SOHO at the end of 2021, but we do not believe the space will be static throughout 2022. Numerous organizations, such as Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, Konica Minolta, and others have been demonstrating their versatility and innovation—and it is already clear HP will continue to have serious competition in 2023 when we revisit our PaceSetter Award.


The important advice to remember is this: SOHO is hybrid and hybrid demands an ecosystem of solutions, not modular answers to only specific problems. The working environment is changing and the print OEMs who tailor their solutions accordingly will have a profound advantage on those who simply practice business as usual.



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