Recognizing that business models throughout the channel vary widely, Hewlett-Packard is opening up its Partner One channel program to include new types of partners. At the HP Global Partner 2014 Conference this week, company officials revealed that they are expanding PartnerOne to include service providers, systems integrators, independent software vendors, OEMs and distributors alongside traditional resellers.
The expanded HP PartnerOne program reflects what the company refers to as “the new style of IT” in which customers are fundamentally changing how they consume IT, said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of HP’s PartnerOne strategy. That affects not only the way customers interact with HP and its partners; it requires channel partners to think well beyond IT infrastructure, he said.
“Partners that focus on the box are not going to grow the business astronomically,” Eitenbichler said. “Partners need to be able to support multiple business models.”
The most profound change affecting business models has been the rise of cloud computing. In fact, Eitenbichler said, even when cloud computing turns out to be the more expensive option, customers still opt for it because the cloud makes it easier to deploy IT.
In addition to opening PartnerOne to a broader class of partners, HP is creating new programs aimed at providers of cloud computing solutions. HP PartnerOne for Cloud helps partners meet customer demand for hybrid cloud solutions spanning private, public and managed deployments.
The company is also adding an HP PartnerOne Cloud Reseller Specialization aimed at partners that resell HP Public Cloud in the United States, HP Managed CloudSystem Matrix systems and cloud services from HP partners.
HP is enhancing support for international deals by centralizing special pricing requests and extending certain HP PartnerOne benefits into satellite countries. HP is also opening up its services portfolio to channel partners that can now co-sell HP Datacenter Services, HP Flexible Capacity Services and HP Proactive Care Services, and renew their installed base of HP products and services using the HP Services360 Pro application.
In addition, HP is offering training and certifications and SMB Flex-Bundles for the New Style of IT, including a new learning management tool to simplify the process of identifying HP ExpertOne certifications needed for HP PartnerOne specializations. HP is also providing Direct VIP access to an experienced HP engineer for HP ExpertOne Master-certified professionals and access to New HP Sales Plays that help partners open more doors and close deals faster. HP Platinum, Gold and Silver partners now receive the same training as HP sales staff. HP has also expanded its portfolio of HP SMB Flex-Bundles engineered for Microsoft workloads.
HP Financial Services (HPFS) is addressing longstanding HP partner issues related to timeliness. The HPFS partner connection online portal allows channel partners to quickly respond to customer inquiries, process deals more efficiently and gain access to flexible investment solutions.
The company is also announcing HP Unison, a framework of infrastructure, programs and processes that helps partners advance their business. The new HP Unison Partner Portal enables joint business planning, streamlined deal registration and quoting, market development funds, lead and opportunity management and enhanced partner compensation visibility with simpler log-in, faster access to content, a customizable home page and targeted alerts.
HP’s changes to its channel program, along with similar moves other vendors are making, reflect new market realities, said Tricia Wurts, principal for the channel consulting firm Wurts & Associates. Most solution providers today need to support multiple business models to succeed, she said.
“During the downturn, solution providers embraced multiple business models out of necessity,” said Wurts. “Now, it’s not uncommon for the same solution provider to be providing cloud and managed services alongside reselling hardware and software.”
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.