HP puts final touches on post-split partner programs

With under a month to go before HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise become separate companies, the organizations channel leaders are busily putting the final touches on the programs that will emerge after November 1 — Partner First from HPI, and Partner Ready from HPE.

Many of the details of the program were made public as early as this spring at the company’s Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, but future HPI channel marketing boss Vincent Brissot and future HPE channel marketing boss Patrick Eitenbichler provided ChannelBuzz.ca an updated look at what partners can expect.

Vincent Brissot, vice president of worldwide channel marketing for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems group.

Vincent Brissot, vice president of worldwide channel marketing for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems group.

On the HPI side of the house, the program will ramp up the volume around two of HP’s biggest growth opportunities in the PC and printing market, “immersive computing” or “blended reality” pioneered with the company’s Sprout PCs, and 3D printing, Brissot said.

The program is divided into three tracks — a volume track that emphasizes resale, a solutions track that emphasizes skill and value-add, and for the first time on the former PPS side of those, an Alliance track.

When it comes to volume, the program used to look at a single big number in terms of revenue. However, under Partner First, Brissot said the HP program will offer separate revenue clip levels for separate business areas: for PCs, for printers, and for print supplies. Partners will have to reach revenue limits based on any one (or more) of those categories to advance to the next tier, although the tiers are not directly tied to the program tier badging. In other words, a partner making platinum status on just PCs is not an HPI Platinum Partner for PCs, but rather simply a HPI Platinum Partner.

Under the solutions track, the new program does away with product-centric competencies and moves towards solutions-centric ones — the first two being mobility and production printing, both of which will be subdivided by vertical focuses.

“Our specializations today are very product-centric. They’re coming from HP into the market, and they’re less focused on how a customer actually tried to identify a partner,” Brissot said.

The addition of the Alliances track to Partner First reflects the fact that AllianceOne, the company’s main program for ISVs, systems integrators and other “alliance” type partners is leaving with HPE at the end of the month. With this segment, the focus will be on joint solutions selling, and developing new types of partners.

“We’re getting closer to 3D printers, and there’s a full ecosystem of new SIs and ISVs that we’re not yet working with,” Brissot said. “We want to make sure we have a program in place to welcome them as soon as they’re ready to work with us.”

Unsurprisingly, T said he expects between 60 and 70 per cent of HP’s partners, by sheer number of partners, to be in the Volume category, with about 20 to 30 per cent in Solutions, and about 10 per cent in the Alliances track.

Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing strategy for PartnerOne at HP.

Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing strategy for PartnerOne at HP.

If the changes over the future Hewlett Packard Enterprise side of the fence seem less dramatic compared to those envisioned by HP Inc, that’s by design. Eitenbichler said HPE is “intent on not making many changes to provide investment protection to partners.”

“They’ll still be Platinum or Gold, and requirements will not change much,” he said. “They don’t need to go through any more changes outside of the separation.”

In the long term, though, the program will become more solutions focused and less focused on hardware, software, or services as separate entities. And when it does so, it will likely do so around HPE’s four main focus areas — hybrid infrastructure, big data, workplace productivity, and security.

One change will see former Aruba partners provided incentives for selling HP networking gear, while HP networking VARs will also get access to Aruba products through Partner Ready, and the program will take over for Aruba’s own PartnerEdge program in November 2016.

Eitenbichler also reiterated the new “international” nature of Partner Ready, which will aim to make it easy for partners to leverage certifications in their home market to do business around the world, and will provide simplified pricing for global deals.

The company will also change how it trains and certifies partner sales people, doing away with product-centric certifications in favour of a certification that covers HPE’s four “transformation areas,” and focuses on “enabling the reseller sales reps to ask the right questions, to identify the opportunity, and to understand the clues from customers.”

“We see all of our partners moving away from product-centric selling to a services model, and we want to enable them to sell solutions for the new style of business,” Eitenbichler said.

HPE will also introduce a new partner locator that follows that same kind of path, helping customers to find partners by area of business focus and services delivered, and the company will open a Helion Partner Marketplace to sell cloud services based on its Helion cloud infrastructure to customers. The marketplace will allow resellers to price bundles of services and provision at the press of a button, Eitenbichler said.

“We’re adding Office 365, backup-as-a-service, and virus protection, with new cloud services coming up every week,” he said.

Finally, the two companies will operate separate partner portals, although they will continue for the foreseeable future to both be based on Unison, the pan-HP partner portal technology that was developed and finally implemented just before the company’s split was announced. HP Inc.’s partner portal will remain at partner.hp.com while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s partner porgram will be found at partner.hpe.com.