Playing the IT Services Name GameBy Michael Vizard | Print
HP expands ability of partners to deliver branded services as part of effort to gain market share
There’s a lot of money to be made in providing IT services provided your organization has the wherewithal to invest in hiring the people that have the skills required to deliver them.
For that reason many solution providers have opted to simply resell services provided by vendors, even though that tends to detract from the value the customer sees them providing. Now vendors are starting to realize that solution providers are going to favor vendors that help them deliver IT services in a way that doesn’t detract from the value of their brand.
For example, Hewlett-Packard has expanded its ServiceOne partner support program to allow HP partners to deliver IT services with "HP inside." Previously HP had given this capability to partners selling storage equipment, but now the company is expanding this capability out to its networking gear as well.
In this model HP provides the services capabilities in a way that allows the solution provider to brand those services as their own. Partners can still opt to resell HP branded services if they perceive that customers value the HP brand. But in a world where the difference between one solution provider and another is the quality of the service being provided, solution providers are generally better off delivering services under their own brand.
According to Tom Tillar, HP worldwide director of go-to-market for network support services, allowing partners to resell HP services under their own brands should help HP gain market share. Given the fact that HP is not the dominant provider of networking equipment, many of the solution providers that HP is trying to recruit in the networking space have relationships with other vendors such as Cisco. By building out an IT services portfolio under their own brand it makes it easier for the solution provider to seen as being qualified to support networking equipment from multiple vendors. That in turn makes it easier for HP to make a case that solution providers should consider selling HP networking equipment alongside Cisco or any other networking vendor they choose to do business with.
Tillar adds that as the competitive landscape evolves thanks to the introduction of software-defined networking (SDN) technologies that make it easier to manage multi-vendor networks as a higher level of abstraction, solution providers should be rethinking all their options. The simple fact of the matter is that SDN technologies will lower the cost of switching vendors for customers, which means that solution providers will increasingly be required to support networking gear from multiple vendors.
In addition to making it easier to sell services, HP is also increasing the access that partners get to HP experts, while at the same time increasing margins on its equipment by as much as 15 percent.
While HP has had more than its share of management and financial issues as of late, the company continues to be pretty aggressive about competing in multiple product categories across the enterprise, not the least of which is an enterprise networking space where HP has a lot more to gain than lose.