HPE is backing its thousands of partners in Europe with resources, rebates and transformation support. “As we refocused HPE on a more agile and nimbler strategy around hybrid IT and IT at the edge and services and capabilities, we have recommitted to a new importance of the channel,” says Carlo Giorgi, EMEA channels VP who is responsible for all the partners, distributors and service providers.
“We have moved away from any channel conflicts, and while the channel has always been important, we really recognise the new environment and we have done that with our channel programmes. We know this is working because our competitors are trying to play catch-up with us,” he adds.
The channel continues to evolve – around half of the partners have embarked on a consumption-based, more solutions-selling model. “We continue to help them go through this transformation. We are basically bringing innovation much more than before, with organic ideas and products, and also innovation in how we target the market such as in hyperconvergence, high performance computing and other areas.”
And then there is innovation in partnering, which gives channels new ways to work. Traditional is still a big revenue stream for HPE although it is, of course transactional selling. “For that they still need the best in class partner programme with enablement, tools and the right pricing and philosophy. We are not taking our eyes off this. But we have moved to help solution selling, providing more to customers through competencies. We are giving incentives to the partners to sell solutions, using reference architectures."
And HPE is adding more, he says: “We can also help with the consumption model and service provider business, with flexible capacity services, and financial capabilities, so they can build their data centre business, and also pay as they grow and as the revenue stream increases.”
Service Providers working with HPE through the partner-ready service providers (PRSP) scheme are also part of the channel, and HPE also has the Cloud28+ open community of Cloud Service Providers, Cloud Resellers, ISVs, System Integrators and state bodies dedicated to accelerating cloud with many service providers working with HPE infrastructure.
Financing is one of the important elements to help resellers with the transition, particularly in growth times like now when there are more opportunities than issues, he suggests. Capabilities can be enhanced and they probably need marketing funding and help in generating awareness and demand.
“We will continue to enhance our offerings to partners and in our programme - with innovation in solutions, predictability and how we protect their investments. We have announced an extension to the deal registration for the installed based. Once a deal is registered, we will not give special pricing to any other partner, and if it is a new end-user customer, they get a significant enhancement. Then on profitability – we have moved to pay on net rates so we can compare well with competitors and the feedback has been very good, saying our rebates are now higher than the industry average. This allows the partners not just to fund the presales on projects and to increase their profitability. We will continue to enhance our solution selling with more competencies for the partners, with customer references, enablement and incentives. This is a continued evolution of our partner ready programme,” he concludes.
As an example, ITEN is a systems integrator in Portugal. “Portugal is mainly an SMB Market, but we have enterprise and government customers. We are small but very innovative country,” says Jorge Machado, CEO of the long-time HP and then HPE partner.
“HPE is helping us with hybrid IT and solution-selling and helping to bridge the gap. HPE has increased its capabilities in the public cloud and on-premise and with tools for cost effective deployment of hybrid systems. A few years ago, customers were just keen to learn about cloud, but now the business model and selling is changing quite rapidly. Our contact points are no longer just the IT people, but the CFO, CEO and marketing. They are more concerned with business issues than technology. They want cost effectiveness and agility and I think HPE has been addressing this. There is now a clear alignment on the new model. It is more about business than technology but it is a challenge for everybody and especially the salesforce.”
He has worked with HPE on realigning the traditional sales people and the results are good – not as immediate as expected, but it is working, he says. “It is a different game and the added value the partner and HPE have together means we can be more competitive. The channel programme is the best and the brand works very well – the compensation is very good, but in the end it is down to the trust and relationship with HPE which means we can be a trusted advisor.”
“I’m very pleased with the way it is going – the cloud might seem a menace to the traditional business, but there is a lot of opportunity as customers want what it offers,” he concludes.