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Hewlett-Packard has appointed Meaghan Kelly to lead
the vendor’s SMB channel sales and strategy, replacing Ramona
Thibeault, who has retired after only nine months on the job. 

Kelly will assume the role of vice president, SMB
Channel Sales and Strategy for HP’s Solution Partners Organization
(SPO), effective Feb. 1, and will focus on continuing her predecessor’s
strategy to drive partner growth and increase HP’s revenues through the
lucrative SMB channel.

“We will focus increasingly on growing our market
share with high-growth partners in the SMB space,” Kelly told Channel
Insider. “We are putting the bulk of resources toward partners who are
the most entrenched in the space, who best understand the needs of SMB
customers and who have the most SMB expertise.”

Like Thibeault, Kelly will be responsible for all
SMB-focused strategy and initiatives across HP’s three business units
and will chair HP’s SMB Partner Advisory Council. Thibeault was
promoted to what was then a newly created position in May 2008.

In an interview with Channel Insider, Thibeault said
her biggest challenge was to find common ground and develop consistent
strategy across SMB products from the three business units, though she
stressed HP already has a number of successful SMB-focused initiatives,
including free on-site training initiative for SMB partners and the
vendor’s SMB Expressway partner Web site, which offers marketing and
sales collateral, support information and other information tailored to
SMBs. 

Thibeault said there are numerous opportunities for
HP’s SMB partners, since HP has an incredible breadth and depth of
products for them to sell.

"We are soup-to-nuts—from handhelds all the way to complex servers, from consumers to business," Thibeault said.

"We have the products. What we have to do is bundle
the right product combinations together to get to the right customers,"
she said, adding that there’s not just one simple answer when looking
to fulfill as complex a market as SMBs. 

Kelly says she will devote resources to improving
marketing programs and facilitate greater integration with HP’s
PartnerOne program and the vendor’s TotalCare initiative. She also says
there will be continued emphasis on solution selling across HP’s entire
portfolio of solutions.

“Partners have to see HP as their No. 1 choice. We
are making sure we have the right products and solution sets to make
them profitable,” she says.

And storage, servers and virtualization continue to
be those "right products" for HP, as customers aim for greater
efficiency and cost-savings. Kelly says larger SMBs especially – those
with 500-999 employees – are increasingly adopting virtualization
technologies.

Above all, Kelly says, HP’s investment in the SMB channel will remain strong.

“We see no slowdown whatsoever. This is a $68 billion market that we will continue to focus on,” she says.