No budget for tech services? Charge it

HP this week has introduced programs to enable IT buyers to create a credit account and purchase services from the vendor for up to five years.

HP Proactive Select lets customers engage HP service professionals more quickly than, say, traditional service contracts, HP says, because the program involves establishing a line of credit and ordering select items as needed. Essentially customers purchase credits that can be used for between one and five years toward 85 services that include technologies, projects and applications that span HP's server and operating system, storage, software and environment expertise.

"HP is letting customers buy a suite of services from which they can pick and choose the ones that are most appropriate," says Gerard Nolan, worldwide director of HP Mission Critical Services. "It can be likened to a coffee card with a balance, except it is a card that allows you to apply that balance to HP's select services menu."

Nolan points out that the services cover popular technologies such as virtualization and efforts to make environments more energy efficient with power conservation tools. The service offerings include an account support manager and "streamline" the procurement process because the relationship with HP has already been established.

"Buyers don't have to go back through the same process to acquire new services and they can top off the card with new credits as they see fit" Nolan explains.

HP has been piloting the program for the past 6 months in the U.S., and the services are generally available worldwide now. Customers can start with HP Proactive Select by buying 30 credits for about US$10,000. Two other packages are available for 60 credits and 180 credits, and credit plans run between one and five years, depending on the services purchased.