For partners, the most interesting thing here may be the Small Business Marketplace e-commerce platform, an explicitly channel-focused online site, rather than a direct-to-customer site that competes with partners. It’s in pilot now in the U.S., but when it will be in Canada is not yet clear.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced a series of new offerings aimed at the SMB market, and the lower end of that market in particular. The company stressed its commitment to SMBs moving forward, and also to its channel partners. HPE announced Small Business Marketplace, which is designed to funnel small business customer inquiries to HPE to partners.
“SMB is a top priority for the new company, and we spent a lot of time with channel partners on these offerings,” said Flynn Maloy, Director of SMB Enterprise Group Marketing at HPE. “These are all distinct SMB products, even though they have enterprise grade technology. We are building specifically for this market.”
Maloy also emphasized that there will be a strong and regular flow of purpose-build SMB products coming out of the new HPE.
“All year long, we will have a whole series of products with brand new technology,” he said.
Two new servers, the ProLiant DL20 and ProLiant ML30 Gen9 servers, were announced.
“These fit at the entry portion of the portfolio, said McLeod Glass, VP & GM of HPE Servers, SMB Solutions and Towers. “The DL20 Gen9 is an entry-level rack server, designed specifically for space-constrained areas.” It features Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 series and Xeon E3-1200 v5 series processors and redundant power, and Glass said it is 29 per cent more efficient than the previous generation.
The other new server is the ProLiant ML30 Gen9, a tower offering with the same processor options.
“It is really an inramp for customers moving from a desktop,” Glass said.
Pricing is expected to start at around $USD 660 for the ProLiant DL20 and $USD 599 for the ProLiant ML30 Gen9. They will be available December 1, 2015.
“These also form the foundation of our Flex Solutions for SMB customers, pre-engineered solutions with servers, storage networking and technology from our ISV partners to deliver a turnkey solution that scales from a small to a medium business,” Glass added.
Two new Flex Solutions were announced. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Flex Solution for My First Server and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Flex Solution for Secure Encryption.
“We now have a total of 11 Flex Solutions today, covering a wide spectrum of areas from virtualization to encryption, all of which are SMB-focused,” Glass stated.
Possibly the most intriguing of the announcements for partners was HPE’s Small Business Marketplace e-commerce platform. For Canadian partners, there’s a big catch, however. It’s in the U.S. only for now.
“To succeed in the SMB space, in addition to having right offerings, we need as a company to invest to make things buy and sell,” Maloy said. “As a result, we are piloting in the U.S. a Small Business Marketplace e-commerce platform. The split has given us an opportunity to relook at our e-commerce go to market. We had a direct store before, led by the PPS business. But for the enterprise, we didn’t want to sell direct online, in order to avoid channel competition. So HPE is building and launching a new strategy. The online marketplace features partners’ pricing and inventory online. A customer visiting the site can choose from whomever has the pricing and availability they like, and we send them right to the partner’s website.”
Right now, in the pilot stage, four partners are on the platform.
“We really don’t know what that number is going to be when it goes live,” Maloy said.
Exactly when it goes live in Canada is a mystery as well at this point. The plan is for HPE to pilot the Marketplace in the U.S., which is already underway, and that it will appear in other regions, including Canada, at some point in 2016.
“We will start in the U.S. and see how that goes,” Maloy said. “This is the first time HP has built this kind of an online selling environment.”
Finally, HPE is launching a new financing option, the HPE Subscription for Servers program, available through HPE Financial Services.
“This new subscription offering to acquire SMB servers lets customers acquire and pay for them on an OPEX-based model,” Glass said. “It’s a simple leasing program tailored for small business. Previously, we had leasing offers, but not specifically for the SMB market.”
The HPE Subscription for Servers program is available in Canada.