Putting HP in a new light

When a company branches out in new directions, one of the toughest obstacles to overcome can be changing its reputation — especially when that reputation is already good.

That's the next challenge facing Bruce Klein, general manager of federal sales at Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Public Sector organization.

Instead of a re.liable provider of printing and imaging technologies, Klein and his team of about 100 employees want their government customers to view HP as an "infrastructure technology company" that can supply e-services, information appliances and an "always-on" infrastructure.

"We went through a reorganization in November, where we went from a product view to a customer view," said Klein, who took over the HP Public Sector at that time. "Before, there were two different groups: the enterprise group and computer-products systems, and we brought those groups together plus software and services, all focused on the federal market."

The first hurdle was changing the internal culture. "Sales reps turned into account managers who had to know the entire HP portfolio," Klein said. "There was a lot of cross-training and teams working together and that was a big change because they all worked independently before."

Since making the transition, the group has garnered some nice government wins, including three in the last few months:

* A five-year, $4 million deal for the U.S. Coast Guard's Homeport Web portal.

* A partnership with Micron Government Computer Systems Inc. on an Air Force contract worth about $1 million for equipment to be used on the battlefield. n The launch of an employee purchase program with the Army's Small Computer Program at Fort Monmouth, N.J., to provide civilian and active-duty personnel with PCs and peripherals at reduced prices.

But there's more work to be done, Klein said. "The challenge in the next step is putting it all together and having our government customers see HP in a new light," he said.

And despite grading his work as only a B since taking over federal sales, Klein's efforts have not gone unnoticed.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Bruce Klein for over five years," said John Guy, general manager of HP Public Sector. "During that time, he has performed with extraordinary skill and enthusiasm and has contributed to much growth for HP in the federal marketplace. Over these years, the annual revenue production of the federal organization has more than tripled, and Bruce's work has been a key factor in achieving that growth."

In fact, Klein's unit was spared the layoffs that recently affected other parts of the com.pany. "We're one of the shining stars inside HP," he said. "The corporate executives are looking to invest in us, not take away."

Outside the office, Klein, a self-described "sports.nik," spends many nights and weekends watching his three children play soccer, baseball and basketball. He's also been coaching baseball at various levels for the last 15 years and played shortstop for a nationally ranked softball team several years ago.

"My proudest moments were the births of each one of my kids, and I have been married for 18 years to my high school sweetheart," he said. "I have a great family life, and they are a big part of my life."

And so is making sure the federal market realizes everything that HP has to offer.

"We're going to keep doing what we've been doing, and build on it," Klein said.

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