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MicroScope at 40: Antonio Neri, HPE

President and CEO of HPE shares his thoughts about the past and future of the channel as MicroScope marks its 40th anniversary

As part of the ongoing celebration of MicroScope’s 40th anniversary, the publication continues to canvas views from market leaders about the evolution and future of the channel.

The latest to share their thoughts is Antonio Neri, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who has witnessed plenty of change during his time in the industry. Here are his answers to our questions.

How do you think the channel has changed over the past 40 years?

The channel has evolved drastically in the past 40 years, not only with the rise of new technologies like cloud, but most significantly in the past few years, as a result of unprecedented disruption caused by the global pandemic and geopolitical turmoil.

The role of technology in enabling businesses to thrive has never been more important. But the way customers want and need to consume technology has changed, as their focus has shifted from products to experiences and outcomes.

This means that to stay competitive, the channel have had to start changing their business model to go beyond traditional transactions and become the trusted advisers who can guide their customers through their digital transformation journey and deliver the outcomes they need.

Partners are rethinking the products and services they offer, shifting to delivering an integrated cloud experience with automated, flexible, scalable pay-as-you-go solutions that create ongoing revenues.

Where do you think the channel is going?

The market is changing fast, and customers are demanding a new consumption approach to their digital transformations. The channel will increasingly have the key role of the trusted partner to overcome customer concerns such as technical debt, cost control, data management and security risks, adding value with their own unique IP, expertise and offerings.

We are here to help our partners as they make the critical shift to as-a-service. This new consumption approach means that partners can deliver value throughout the customer lifecycle, creating far more profitable, recurring business.

Channel partners also have a huge opportunity to become the service providers for their customers. They can enhance their relevance by pivoting from just reselling someone else’s offerings to providing their own value-added cloud services.

For example, HPE GreenLake allows partners to launch their own managed cloud services with limited upfront investment and enables them to elastically scale services in line with demand. Numerous partners have taken this route in recent years and are a key part of the global GreenLake ecosystem.

We give partners choice by helping them be successful whatever their current or desired business model is. We are focused on finding new ways to put partners first, offering choice, flexibility, and the opportunity to adapt and grow their business wherever they are on their journey. 

That is why we continue to make significant investments in resources, tools and programmes, to meet the needs of our partners today and in the future, that support all partner business models, improve the overall partner and customer experience, and make it easy for partners to grow their business with HPE.

How important is the channel?

Partners are at the heart of our edge-to-cloud vision, and our strategy has been built with the same partner-first mentality we’ve always had. Our partners continue to be a critical key to our success, with over 70% of our business transacting through the channel.

As of Q3 2022, our HPE GreenLake year-to-date orders had grown 86% versus the prior year period. This growth is being driven by the channel, with twice as many partners transacting with HPE GreenLake in 2022 than in 2021.

We recognise the importance of incorporating our partners in every decision we make, from product development to strategy and planning, as they deliver our shared customer journey.

Relatively early, we realised that we are also a part of the partner’s ecosystem. They bring complementary capabilities, and we encourage them to build solutions that leverage HPE GreenLake and other technologies to drive better outcomes with customers. This includes both sides working together collaboratively and enabling partners to add their own value-added services.

To ensure it is a win for both sides, we regularly seek input on how to best support our partners through market challenges, changing customer demands, and in closing complex deals. The importance of our partners and their candid feedback are the reasons our programmes and solutions are enhanced and renewed continuously – so, together, we can drive transformation from edge to cloud and unlock superior outcomes.

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