Hard to Do Business With?By Michael Vizard | Print
At HP's partner conference, HP CEO Mark Hurd said he will help VARs make more sales, as the vendor hits the realization that it "has to win in the U.S."
But part of the HP loyalty equation, Hurd admitted, is that even after eliminating three layers of management over the past two years, the company has not become substantially easier to do business with when it comes to ordering products and getting them delivered on time. According to Hurd, this issue continues to be the biggest source of complaint from customers and channel partners alike. And Dell has seized on this issue in its recent campaign to convert solution providers to its camp.
Industry analysts attribute much of the blame for HP's apparent lack on progress on this issue to a major overhaul of HP's IT infrastructure. That overhaul, which Hurd said is about halfway done, has made it difficult to change channel business processes, thereby leaving solution providers to contend with many of the same Byzantine processes that have been a hallmark of HP's multiple product divisions approach to the market for years.
"We need more coverage, but I don't think that necessarily means we
need more partners," Hurd told the attendees. "We see partners as an
extension of HP, and for us the
Of course, that may be the real crux of the channel problem going forward for HP. As HP continues to struggle in the corporate computing market, solution providers will look elsewhere to grow their own business regardless of what HP is doing. And as this trend continues to develop, the real question solution providers will have to ask themselves is whether they really see themselves as an extension of HP as hardware infrastructure sales continue to decline in the face of massive technological change and economic uncertainty.