HP Implores VARs to Help

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

CEO Mark Hurd tells partners at HP's annual partner conference that the vendor needs their help, and it will do whatever it takes to ensure partners' success.

Although he was battling laryngitis, Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd's message to VARs Feb. 25 at the vendor's partner conference came through loud and clear: HP needs the channel's help and will do whatever it takes to help them drive new business.  

Hurd spoke to HP channel partners at the vendor's annual partner conference, held Feb. 25-28 in Las Vegas, and emphasized the importance of channel partners to HP's continued growth.  HP has grown from an $80 billion company in 2004 to $104 billion in 2007, he said, driven by channel success.

"We are not the biggest IT company in the U.S.; we are not leading in the U.S.  I know no other way to change that trend rapidly than to ask for [channel partners'] help," Hurd said, acknowledging that conflict still exists between HP's direct sales force and HP VARs.  

Read more about Hurd's comments here.

Hurd said he and other HP executives recognize that partners often have difficulty working with HP, and that the company is often slow to respond when dealing with VAR questions, deal registrations and even order fulfillment. However, he said, HP is doing everything it can to eradicate those problems and has cut multiple levels of bureaucracy in the past few years.  Changes to the PartnerOne program were aimed at making it easier for VARs to work with HP, Hurd said.

Hurd pledged to partners that he and his executive team will go to great lengths to help them close deals and upsell across HP's entire portfolio.  

He added that he is willing to make phone calls and send e-mails to existing and potential customers on partners' behalf, or even visit with those customers face to face if it could help close a sale. "I would be willing to sit with [VARs'] customers if that would help.  There's no commitment we won't try, unless it's illegal or unethical," Hurd said.  

All HP executives were told they have support from the top to make any changes necessary to drive new business and new product lines through the channel, he said.  Hurd said HP recognizes that while currently 65 percent of revenues are generated from mature markets, the 35 percent that come from emerging markets and SMBs (small and midsize businesses) represent a huge opportunity both for HP and its VARs.  

Is HP showing signs of desperation? Read Sara Driscoll's blog.

"We don't have resources today to take advantage of all the opportunities out there," he said.  Hurd added that HP is extremely eager to engage with partners to take advantage of those opportunities in the SMB and midmarket space where VARs have the greatest foothold and hold greater influence.  

Hurd said that analysts predicted the company will post revenues of between $111 billion and $114 billion in 2008 and that the channel is HP's key weapon in its go-to-market strategy. 

He also said HP needs to focus on increasing market share in the United States. Based on the company's second-quarter results, Hurd said that only 31 percent of total revenue was generated within the United States, with the other 69 percent coming from outside of the United States, a balance he said he hopes channel partners can help to shift.  


Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.