After posting some impressive growth numbers over the past year, HP is now informing partners that they need to start shifting their business models toward establishing contractual relationships with customers, rather than merely facilitating transactions.
At the 2017 HP Reinvent World Partner Forum, HP channel executives stressed the need for partners to embrace emerging technology delivery models, such as device-as-a-service (DaaS), mainly because end customers are starting to shift how they consume PCs and other tech devices. Ron Coughlin, president of Personal Systems Business for HP, told partners that more customers are relying on vendors such as HP to manage those devices, rather than buying devices that are either managed by a local IT team or a third-party managed service provider (MSP).
“DaaS is happening,” said Coughlin. “This is much more than leasing.”
To help partners achieve that goal, HP announced HP University, which will provide channel salespeople with the training and certifications required to establish contractual and subscription relationships with customers that are based on service and advanced digital office solutions. HP executives said they expect many partners to use market development funds (MDF) to pay for that training.
At the forum, HP also unveiled a slew of PCs, printers and software aimed at those digital office use cases, as well as delivering an update to HP DaaS. It provides access to device usage analytic, in addition to making available three different tiers of service options that partners can resell. The HP DaaS offering is based on the same cloud service foundation that HP employs to deliver managed print services that are augmented by Workspace One endpoint management software from VMware.
In the past year, HP claims to have grown eight percent year over year, which company executives said resulted in sharing more than a billion dollars in bonuses with channel partners. Most of that growth has been driven by gains in PC market share, but HP executives noted that the printer business is also experiencing modest growth after several consecutive years of decline.
Even though the overall PC market has been waning, Rob Enderle, principal analyst for Enderle Group, said HP—after being separated from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE)—has been able to confound expectations by focusing narrowly on generating demand for PC and printer technologies.
“HP doesn’t have any other distractions,” Enderle said. “It really was a matter of either doing it or going under.”
The rate at which IT organizations might shift toward a DaaS model for devices remains to be seen. Cultural and process changes usually take a long time for IT organizations to implement. Nevertheless, the fact remains that, in the long term, most partners are not going to turn a big enough profit by reselling endpoint devices as associated accessories.