Other important changes include the integration of programs for other groups which used to be outside the old umbrella program and the integration of the Aruba PartnerEdge and HPE Networking channel programs into the new Partner Ready for Networking program.
BOSTON — Hewlett Packard Enterprise has kicked off its 2016 Global Partner Conference (GPC) – its first since the split, with 18 months since the last GPC. The company is making up for the long interval however, with a flurry of significant channel announcements.
Channel competencies are being introduced, to complement the existing specializations within the existing tier structure, and provide a mechanism to reward the relatively small number of partners with deep expertise around clusters of select HPE solutions.
“We redid the program 3 years ago to simplify it, but it was still focused to an extent on product by business unit, such as servers, storage, and networking,” said Jesse Chavez, Vice-President, Worldwide Indirect Strategy and Operations, Enterprise Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The specializations have been focused on product by business unit. We recognize that 90 per cent of business is still traditional resale, but going forward, margins will be richer on services and software around integrated solutions, and competencies are what bring all this together.”
Chavez said competencies reflect the fact that more customers are buying differently today, looking for solutions rather than products.
“The competencies are focused on solutions and come from reference architectures, and sizing tools,” he said. “They provide training and enablement for those who want to build solutions out. Once a partner gains a competency, they become a preferred go-to-market partner and get access to special branding.”
There are eleven competencies in all, six of which will be available at the formal launch on November 1: Application Development and Transformation, which is heavily focused on cloud app migration; IT Automation and Orchestration; Data Management Infrastructure and Architecture, which is focused on real-time analytics; Digital Collaboration, which is centred on Skype for Business; Incident Recovery; and intelligent Workplace, which is centred around client virtualization.
The remaining five will be rolled out over the next year. They are: Risk Management and Secure Design; Threat Detection and Response; Data Discovery and Assessment; Data Analytics and Business Insight; and Campus Mobility.
“The delay is more around the solution buildout for these other competencies,” Chavez said.
Chavez also noted that competencies aren’t something that most HPE partners will pursue.
“We have 86,000 partners, and they will continue to have specializations and membership tiers, but we think there will be a maximum of 500 to 1000 who pursue the competencies,” he said. “Partners don’t have to get a competency to sell point products.”
A second major series of changes involve bringing all partner business programs into the Partner Ready umbrella program, which is a new concept for HPE.
“In addition to the main program for solution providers, we used to have separate tracks for solution providers and alliances,” Chavez said. “Now all the partner business models are in the Partner Ready program. This includes the ISV program – the Partner Ready for Technology Partners Program – which used to be separate.” The idea behind this specific integration is to better enable ISVs and hardware vendors to better integrate, validate and market product integrations together with HPE.
The HPE Partner Ready for Service Providers Program has been significantly enhanced, as well as brought under the Partner Ready umbrella. Specific enhancements include a new Flex Capacity consumption model to allow service providers to align their data centre operational costs with subscription revenues. Specific service provider training and education has been improved, and a new Service Provider Certification to provide differentiation in the market for customers has been introduced. These enhancements will become available on November 1.
“This program is directed at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 service providers,” Chavez said. “The large telcos who make up the Tier 1 are treated more like customers.”
At the 2015 GPC, HP indicated that their networking program and the Aruba partner program would be integrated by this year’s event, and that has come to fruition. The new Partner Ready for Networking program combines what HPE is calling the best elements of the Aruba PartnerEdge and HPE Networking channel programs.
“The new program is a blend between the two programs,” Chavez said. “For example, the HPE Networking program had both a front end margin and a back end rebate, while Aruba was entirely front end margin. The new integrated program has a balanced approach between the two old ones.”
HPE has also made significant enhancements to their on-demand Partner Ready Marketing Tools. The new resources include a social media centre, a marketing concierge service, and new content syndication tools.
“The marketing enhancements are designed to better enable partners to go to market, recognizing the changes today to the buyer journey,” said Chris Ogburn, Vice President, Worldwide Channel Marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “These increased enablements fall into three areas.”
The first is the new Social Media Centre, which contains images, thought leadership pieces, infographics, You Tube videos, White Papers and other social media assets.
“It lets partners access this content, edit it, and push it out on social media,” Ogburn said.
Second is a new marketing concierge service for partners.
“This addresses a partner pain point by letting them ask questions about marketing through either email or functionality, throughout the business week, 24 hours a day, 5 days per week,” Ogburn indicated. “It also has support in 22 languages.”
The third enhancement is improvements to the existing content syndication platform.
“The enhancements to the platform are all about more engaging functionality for customers,” Ogburn said. “This means more engagements with videos and rollovers as opposed to plain text.”
“We ran all these changes to the program, including the marketing ones, through the HPE Advisory Councils, and we have had great feedback,” Chavez said.
Finally, HPE is making a number of product announcements at GPC, although only one is brand new. This is the Aruba Mobile First Platform. This software layer uses APIs to provide third-party developers and business leaders with network insights to improve applications and services. Aruba also announced new network procurement and consumption models for enterprise customers.
Other recent announcements, which are being ‘rebooted,’ so to speak, at the GPC event include hyper-convered HC 380 Rapid Bundles for the channel, new HPE StoreVirtual 3200 and HPE MSA 2042 storage systems for SMBs and the first HPE Docker-ready server.