I've been live blogging from HP's (NYSE HPQ) ImagePrint 2007 the last couple of days, as readers of this blog will know. The event itself has been impressive both for its rather massive scale as a whole, as well as for the sum of its many impressive parts. (For the official HP blogger view of the event, see Mike Feldman's post at HP's Enterprise Printing Blog -- and thanks for the link, Mike!)
One topic that's been on the docket here and that I vowed to take a closer look at has been "Print 2.0 for the Enterprise". I've posted numerous times about both some of the Print 2.0 consumer applications and partnerships (e.g. see "Printing talk at the Web 2.0 Summit") and also some of the challenges HP faces in communicating this most ambitious shift in their Imaging and Printing strategy (e.g. see "Follow Up on HP's Print 2.0"). My interest and understanding of the end-user-oriented subject area comes naturally to me as both someone who helped develop the nascent Web printing strategy in its infancy at HP a dozen years ago, and as a user and proponent today. And on the communications angle, I've speculated that perhaps a share of the challenge in HP defining and then marching towards a "Print 2.0" vision might be from pulling in "too much under the tent", questioning at least privately whether an Enterprise story was helping or hurting the clarity of the message.
Anyway, after time at the conference with HP executives like Keith Moore, Chief Technology Officer for HP's Global Enterprise Business, I'm beginning to believe. Common strategic basics like "connecting bits and atoms" (with credit to Nicholas Negroponte) really do link the worlds of Enterprise and Consumer. Crucial to this is the acceptance (and understanding) of an altered role of paper and printing in a still-physically-oriented but radically changing world of information (see "The Changing Role of the Printed Page"). The HP story holds together and even begins to build. I said at the beginning of the paragraph I'm beginning to believe, and I think by its end, I believe even more...
In my opinion, embracing the moving target of how paper and printing is changing puts HP, and its printing industry competitors who join in, at a major advantage in crafting a business strategy for the future. I'd say those who point to GDP-level-growth in printer and paper markets (see "...Analysts Hold Firm on Print Demand") as evidence of unchanged behavioral patterns are "whistling past the graveyard".