HP Enters Next Phase of Its Channel Strategy Revamp
After regaining the faith of its partners under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard is moving into the next phase of reinvigorating its channel business.
Ranging from new programs under which HP partners can close deals faster to dashboards that make it easier to determine how much compensation and revenue HP partners might be able to generate from any given deal, HP is looking to provide partners with tools that enable them to run their businesses better, said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of the HP PartnerOne Strategy.
In addition to the HP Discount Now and HP QuickQuote solutions to enable partners to close deals faster, HP is making available a MyComp Optimizer tool to better forecast compensation and rewards. HP has developed new joint business planning processes and a more structured process for sharing and managing leads and launched a market development fund (MDF) tool to make it easier for partners to track their MDF dollars.
Finally, HP has created the Co-Marketing Zone, where partners can access existing marketing materials and create new ones.
The new tools are being made available via an update to the HP Unison Partner Portal, which Eitenbichler said are intended to make working with HP a more natural and cohesive process for solution providers. In return for that support, HP expects its partners to focus more on selling solutions and services that include a larger number of HP products.
"We're trying to make it easier for our partners to become services-led organizations," Eitenbichler said. "Partners can be as much as three times more profitable when they include products from all our product lines."
All told, about a third of HP's partners have made the transition to business models based on hybrid approaches to IT that HP refers to as "the new style of IT," with another third of its partners in the process of making that transition and another third not likely to make that transition at all, Eitenbichler said
Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, named the HP partner of the year for 2014 by Ingram Micro, said that while it is generally true that HP partners are now seeing more business across the board, it's not necessarily an easy feat to accomplish. "HP has definitely given us a path to follow," he said. "But there are a lot of certifications you have to attain to become an HP Platinum partner."
HP, however, is a lot more responsive these days in terms of the support services it provides and its willingness to go the extra mile to help solution providers close a deal, Chernick said.
It's been a rough road for HP, which has been in turnaround mode for the past few years. In its third quarter, the company ended a streak of 11 straight quarters of declining revenue with a small but important 1 percent increase.
The degree to which HP is able to firmly regain its financial footing is going to be determined by the efforts of its solution providers in the channel. The challenge, of course, is striking a balance between rewarding those partners for their efforts and ultimately the profitability of HP itself.
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.