HP opens Flexible Capacity to channel in ServiceOne 2.0 launch

HP announces a revamp of its ServiceOne partner program, including the introduction of Flexible Capacity consumption billing offerings to partners.

Dave Twohy, vice president of global channel services at HP.

Dave Twohy, vice president of global channel services at HP.

HP has announced a significant revamp to its ServiceOne partner program whereby solution providers have access to selling and in some cases delivering the company’s services offerings. With the launch of “ServiceOne 2.0,” there are a few new elements for the company’s partners, including access to its Flexible Capacity data centre payment structure, and more access to delivering a greater variety of HP-branded services to customers.

Flexible Capacity is HP’s name for selling on-premises data centre gear under a cloud-like consumption contract model. Under the structure, which HP has offered on a direct basis for about a year now, a solution is speced out by HP and delivered by HP, and remains under HP’s title, but is offered to customers on a utility model where customers pay for capacity used, explained Dave Twohy, vice president of global channel services at HP. The solution is sold based on the customer’s expected needs, with some “buffer” capacity added on that allows the applications running on the infrastructure to ramp up when needed, and the customer is only billed for additional capacity when it’s used.

Although Flexible Capacity really only makes sense in deals into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Twohy said that when delivered through partners, it can be quite lucrative for the solution provider.

“The partner sees the front-end margin for the hardware, and gets the back-end PartnerOne benefits for it as it flows through distribution as usual, but in fact, selling Flexible Capacity can be richer for partners,” Twohy said. “I’m shipping with the buffer capacity, and the partner gets paid for everything that ships, including that buffer. It’s also underpinned with our Data Center Care services contract, and partners get the agency fee for that four-year contract all up front.”

Flexible Capacity is an attempt to negotiate the challenges of organizations that want cloud-like economics for their data centre, but still want the infrastructure to exist within their own four walls.

HP is taking a staged approach in introducing Flexible Capacity for partners worldwide. The Canadian launch is expected to come in the second quarter of next year, Twohy said. The company is opening it up first to its Platinum partners first, with Gold partners coming a little bit later, and ultimately opening up the model to all partners during the company’s fiscal 2016.

Along with the Flexible Capacity launch, HP is making its Data Center Care services offerings available to the channel for the first time, and is making more of its other data center services available for partners to deliver. When ServiceOne started, it included just what the company terms “foundation care” services offerings – close to the box services like warranty extensions and other break/fix services. That’s expanded to contractual services, and now Twohy said partners have access to “the whole stack.” Partners can sell, and if certified to do so, deliver a variety of HP-related services, a change Twohy said will allow partners to move up the services value chain.

“Instead of showing up when something breaks, now they’re able to show up with patch reports, trending reports, security reports. It puts them in a position to help customers fine-tune their environments so that nothing breaks in the first place,” he said.

While the training and compensation offering remains the same for the 2,600-plus partners currently in the ServiceOne program, Twohy said the company has made it easier for many partners to achieve delivery certification – removing some pre-requisites in certain situations. It’s also stepped up its training materials for partners, making them available to partners at the same time as they’re made available to the company’s own services staff.

Rounding out the changes to the program, HP is introducing a new suite of tools for ServiceOne partners that aim to make things easier, especially around quoting services-heavy engagements. With new quote mechanisms including self-service quoting, Twohy said that partners taking part in a pilot of the new program have seen quoting turnaround time reduced tenfold compared to the old regime. The company is also preparing to make its own automated remote monitoring and diagnostics available to partners in the near future, a change that Twohy said will allow solution providers to provide even more proactive services to their HP data centre customers. That launch, due by the middle of next year, will come with new bonuses to encourage partners to sell their customers “the connected experience” when it comes to services, Twohy said.