10 Things Wrong with the Current HP Way in the ChannelBy Michael Vizard | Posted 2008-02-27 Email Print
Channel Insider sat down with HP's channel chief to discuss the ways in which the vendor needs to ease partner frustrations.
No matter how great the potential is, there comes a time when hope gives way to frustration. The general consensus among the solution providers attending Hewlett-Packard's annual partner conference in Las Vegas this week seems to be that no matter how much they love HP, progress on key issues that cost them time and money seems to be agonizingly slow.
Channel Insider sat down with Adrian Jones, HP's channel chief for North America, to discuss many of these issues, and what follows is a description of 10 specific challenges facing HP and the company's planned response to the issue.
1. Ease of Doing Business: HP and its partners continue to be victims of the company's profit and loss structure around different business units that have to negotiate with each other every time a partner needs help closing a deal. This greatly extends the amount of time it takes for the solution provider to get a price quote or approval for specific types of solution configurations. There appears to be no plan to shrink the number of major HP business units, which are responsible for servers and storage, personal computers, printers, and software. But Jones did say the company is working diligently to improve the coordinated response times of the territory managers associated with different business units.
2. Lack of Competitive Storage Products: HP has struggled in this category for the past four to five years. The company says its latest storage introductions will close the gap with rivals, but Jones concedes it will be another six months before HP sees any real results from this latest effort. Meanwhile, several solution providers expressed dismay that HP allowed Dell to acquire EqualLogic and feel that HP may need to do something dramatic in the storage space to recover momentum.
3. Slowing Server Sales: Beyond the simple fact that it's more difficult to sell servers when the companion storage products are not that strong compared with the competitors, solution providers report that server sales might be slowing because customers are getting better utilization rates by deploying VMware on top of their existing servers.
4. Lack of a Virtualization Strategy: HP has signed some recent alliances with companies such as VMware, but the company has yet to put together a meaningful virtualization strategy in the channel that creates more opportunity for its channel partners. Jones says the company is working on a plan in this area.
5. No Coherent Approach to Managed Services: The business model of solution providers is transforming rapidly, but beyond a few programs for managed services in the printer space, HP has been largely caught flat-footed by the rise of managed services in the channel. Jones says solution providers should watch HP in this space in the coming months.