HP opens Las Vegas channel conference with major PartnerOne refresh

HP makes a swathe of announcements and enhancements to its PartnerOne programme on the opening day of its annual Global Partner Conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Top brass at HP kicked off their annual Global Partner Conference (GPC) in Las Vegas, Nevada, Monday with a keynote address to EMEA partners heralding a number of enhancements to its PartnerOne channel programme, among them support for software enthusiasts, hybrid cloud deployments and new sales training options.

High on HP’s agenda this year is a concept it refers to as the ‘New Style of IT’ which, broadly speaking, is its way of referring to the transition towards services and trends such as software-defined, mobile, big data and so on. According to CEO Meg Whitman, this “requires a new style of partnering”.

Speaking to an audience of EMEA partners on Monday, HP EMEA MD and Enterprise Group SVP, Peter Ryan, said, “In EMEA, the new style is here, now”.

“The reason we’re excited we’ve got the most complete portfolio of any vendor in the marketplace if you want to make money out of the new style of IT,” continued Ryan.

“Whatever conversation you get into with a customer, I’m sure we can help you. The business we’ve created together in the market is in an incredible position, we’re number one in servers, two in storage, two in networks, one in printers and business PCs, one in workstations. Everything’s changing and we have the brand reputation to participate, and technology portfolio.”

IDC’s Matt Eastwood spoke about the importance of managing the transition effectively – noting that too fast a switch to cloud services could kill a channel business through starving it of sales as effectively as not switching would do, but noted, “You can have a nice run for the next five to six years as this business model starts to mature.”

Software heralds new style for PartnerOne

To get partners moving along the path to the New Style of IT, HP rolled out a major round of enhancements to its PartnerOne programme, and with EMEA HP Software VP and GM, Rafael Brugnini, making a clear pitch to hardware partners to get involved with the software, it was clear that HP wants to get the channel thinking about apps.

“I strongly believe that with software you can increase your strategic relevance in front of the CIO [and] help the CIO to become more relevant,” said Brugnini. “That will help you … tap the incremental infrastructure sales that big data requires.”

HP has brought a total of 38 other software vendors to GPC this year to show off their wares and partner programmes, and is also making room in PartnerOne for software players, opening up the scheme for the first time to ISVs, as well as system and OEM integrators, service providers and distributors.

“It all comes down to apps again, and this is where it gets interesting. We’ve got traditional app guys going to the cloud through SaaS. We’ve new generations of ISVs born in the cloud. We’re going to be successful by connecting to apps and ISVs, so our gift to you is this ecosystem of 40,000 ISVs,” said Ryan. “We can introduce you, join the dots, work collaboratively, fund some of it through HP Financial Services.”

ISVs, meanwhile, will themselves get access to a new tool, the HP Enterprise Cloud Services Software as a Service (SaaS) Accelerator – based on the HP Enterprise Cloud Services Virtual Private Cloud – enabling them to reduce time to market and risk by moving to a SaaS model in an HP-managed cloud.

Hybrid cloud deployments, sales, financial services, deal tools added

HP did not stop at software. Monday also saw the launch of HP PartnerOne for Cloud, a scheme designed to help partners meet customer demand for hybrid clouds across private, public and managed deployments

HP will also be opening up its full portfolio of support services to the channel, allowing partners to sell HP Datacentre Services, Flexible Capacity Services and Proactive Care Services, and renew their installed bases using an enhanced Services360 Pro application.

Elsewhere, the introduction of new training, sales tools and SMB Flex-Bundles specifically designed for the New Style of IT, will see the launch of a learning management tool designed to simplify the identification of needed ExpertOne certifications, which will be pitched at reseller education managers to help them automate training assignments. Partners will also get direct access to internal HP engineers for ExpertOne Master certified pros.

On the sales side, partners with Platinum, Gold and Silver status will now be able to receive exactly the same sales training as HP’s own sales staff, right down to role-playing dialogue on topics relating to hybrid cloud, IT modernisation and workforce productivity.

The SMB Flex-Bundle solutions – engineered for Microsoft workloads – will include server, storage and networking gear from HP, coupled with MS software, to help SMEs get on top of virtualisation and data management concerns.

HP will also attempt to equip partners to expand pipelines, win deals and grow their sales with a number of new and improved tools added to its HP Unison scheme. These will include a new partner portal, through which the channel can access eServices relating to joint business planning, deal registration and quotation, MDF management, lead and opportunity management, and enhanced compensation visibility.

Finally, HP also found time to dole out a number of awards for some of the top performing partners in the theatre, and the British contingent walked away with a good number of them, with honourees including Kelway, SCC and Westcoast.

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