Hewlett-Packard made a huge stride toward unifying what has seemed to be a too-fragmented organization and culture with the announced merger of its PC and printer units.

From an office/business buyer point of view (whether enterprise or SMB), it seems like an obvious and long-overdue move to us, and one that can and should deliver wins all around – if HP is able to manage the transition and blending of operations and responsibilities smoothly.

In our experience, HP business units traditionally operate as businesses unto themselves, practical fiefdoms with limited inter-unit communication and coordination; and that communication has tended to be at the highest levels. HP is not the only large firm to operate in this manner. It’s a time-honored tradition that can force efficiencies when well-managed.

But it also makes cross-unit, intra-enterprise communication and coordination challenging, especially when it comes to development, marketing, and sales.

Why? Picture two upside-down funnels next to each other; now picture trying to get information from the bottom or middle of one funnel up through the increasingly narrow neck of one, out and over to the other – then figure out how the communication gets dispersed while traveling down and spreading out through the adjoining funnel.

Now picture HP as combining two of its biggest and most important funnels into one. It’s easy to quickly visualize how that could/should simplify the company’s paths to market, which can/should enable significant improvements in process and operational efficiencies, and therefore add a little margin to a couple of critically-important-yet-shrinking-margin business units.

The printer+PC union is only one part of a sweeping series of unification-oriented org changes announced by HP early today. Company marketing and communication is being centralized; Global Sales will now have responsibility for practically anything large enterprise/data-center oriented, including servers, networking, and storage.

In short, CEO Whitman is making long-overdue moves to strengthen and unify communication and coordination within HP, and between HP and its partners and customers. This is a very important, very positive move for HP that should improve partner and customer relationships, and improve perception of HP as stable and unified, while reducing and removing inefficiencies.

This blog originally appeared at Saugatuck Technology.

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