‘We are not in the race for the thinnest laptop…customers care about the ecosystem’: HP India’s Vickram Bedi – The Indian Express

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“People buy cars for Rs 25 lakh…they buy smartphones for one and a half lakhs. So it’s about understanding what they are trying to achieve… it’s not about force-fitting. I think having opinions that are straitjacketed doesn’t work for customers,” Vickram Bedi, Senior Director – Personal Systems, HP India, explains why his company believes in offering choices to consumers and how each product serves a different purpose regardless of how they are priced.
“You need to understand the product and start from that because the customers understand what they want to achieve, what kind of a company they want to build, what kind of culture they want to have and what kind of market cap they want to create over time. So understanding that and then working backwards for them does add value, further helping them get where they want to get to,” Bedi tells indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the launch of the HP Dragonfly G4 laptop on Thursday.
For the longest time, the high-end commercial laptop space has been looked at from a certain lens. It has a customer base that likes its notebook to look a particular way, be light enough to travel with, and have features that are, if not exclusive, reserved for a product that commands a premium price tag.
The Dragonfly G4 (starts at Rs 2,20,000) is a modern commercial notebook that is powerful, has a long battery life, offers a wide selection of ports and SIM connectivity and still weighs less than 1kg. “We are not in the race for the thinnest or lightest laptop…we could do it but then we would have to take the ports off and a lot of companies do that to make laptops thin and light,” Bedi explains.
But amid changing demographics, PC brands like HP are now pivoting towards young ‘aspirational’ consumers to sell premium commercial notebooks. Bedi says not the older generation but the younger demographic that is reshaping the premium commercial laptop market where the Dragonfly G4 falls in. “The fundamental premise of an enterprise is to create wealth, for themselves, for the society, for the shareholders, and this segment of new joinees of fresh employees are the ones who are creating that wealth,” he says.
Until now, the PC market has focused on increasing ‘customer perceived value’ to sell notebooks but now engaging with the new generation requires listening to them and what they value will secure their attention. “The purpose of a laptop has changed,” admits Bedi. “It’s not just about viewing or data entry, rather it’s about doing workshops…brainstorming and creating a blueprint for the future.”
There’s also been a fundamental shift in the focus of premium devices. While the need to purchase a ‘better’ product is a growing consideration among consumers, the desire for a great experience is stronger than ever. Bedi compares the premium laptop market with what is happening in automobile and smartphone markets: the demand for luxury products is growing. “The extraction of value now is far more than ever before,” Bedi reasoned when asked about why consumers are willing to pay more for premium laptops. Bedi claims the premium segment is about 20 per cent of the commercial space and will continue to grow.
For Bedi, though, the biggest change that is happening in the commercial PC space is the increased focus on personalisation and selling devices as services. “Customers are not looking to get advice, they are looking to achieve something, and they need an ecosystem. They need accessories – whether they need software, or services with it. We take all of that and bundle it up as a service, we call it a device as a service,” he says.
Bedi and his team also work closely with HP’s commercial customers and try to work on different models that reduce the cost of the devices by offering them on a subscription basis.
Indianexpress
Indianexpress
Anuj BhatiaAnuj Bhatia is a writer at The Indian Express, where he works on stori… read more

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