HPE outlines channel vision, issues call to action at Global Partner Summit

At Global Partner Summit, HPE congratulated partners for the past year, and provided them with some details about key elements of thd company's strategy in the year ahead.

Paul Hunter, HPE Global Channel Chief, onstage at GPS

LAS VEGAS – HPE kicked off its annual conference here on Monday, as it always does, with the focus on partners at the Global Partner Summit [GPS]. It’s followed the next three days by the customer-centred HPE Discover. This year at GPS, HPE recounted its channel trumps, in what was a good year for partners compared to the company as a whole. They outlined their overall strategy to partners, and told them where they fit in. And they outlined the priorities and expectations for the year ahead.

Unlike past GPS events, reporting on this one was complicated because the event made repeated references to major strategy announcements which are not yet public – and won’t be until Tuesday afternoon. So ChannelBuzz has edited the account of what was said in a way that we believe is entirely faithful to the tone of the event, while staying in line with HPE’s non-disclosure agreements.

Paul Hunter, HPE’s Global Channel Chief, kicked off GPS by telling the assembled partners that HPE’s statistical barometer indicated that they had a very good year.

“We grew the partner business in 2018 by 13 per cent in total – twice as fast as the total company,” he said. The growth in HPE’s newer businesses, which started from a lower point, well exceeded that. Their SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] business grew at 61 per cent. HPE Synergy composable computing grew at 74 per cent.

“The home run was the GreenLake business,” Hunter said. It grew at a 275 per cent rate. “We have 400 partners with opportunities in pipeline now. We have 120 deals we have closed already. We are ahead of our plan, but I think we can do significantly more.”

The opening of GreenLake to the channel was the major announcement of last year’s Global Partner Summit, and a stated goal this year was to expand that business significantly.

“Last year, GreenLake was sold 5 per cent through partners,” said Phil Davis, President of Hybrid IT and Chief Sales Officer at HPE. “This year, the goal is 25 per cent. Next year, it’s 50 per cent.

HPE CEO Antonio Neri related the channel’s performance to that of the company as a whole.

“As a company we grew 6 per cent,  which was a very strong performance,” Neri told partners. “The market has not given us yet all the credit, but I’m proud of the results. I’m really proud of the innovation and the culture. I think we have the best portfolio we have ever had in the history of the company. There is more work to do, but I think we are on the right path.

“I think we have demonstrated that our vision is ahead of the market,” Neri continued. “We have transformed the portfolio to be more outcome-oriented, which means being more solutions-oriented.”

Neri also emphasized HPE’s commitment to the channel.

“This company has been, is and will continue to be a partner led company. Period, End of story. We know that the power of the ecosystem is second to none.”

HPE’s commitment to winning at the Intelligent Edge has been a strong focus over the past year, with Neri pledging a $4 commitment to the space a year ago at Discover. At GPS,  Keerti Melkote,  President Intelligent Edge, and Aruba Co-Founder, restated HPE’s commitment to the edge.

“The edge is really about disruption – the disruption of traditional business models,” he said. “Our platform is mobile-first, cloud-native and IoT enabled, with security built in.”

He stressed that the integration of HPE’s networking business within Aruba opens up new opportunities.

“Customers used to use Aruba at the edge, but use Cisco or someone else in the core,” he said. “Now they can do entirely Aruba from end to end.”

He also reminded partners of the Aruba Instant ON portfolio that was announced last week.

“This lets us take our enterprise grade technology out to small businesses,” he said. “Installing these for small business customers is very, very simple. There are absolutely no hidden fees or subscriptions. It lets us take the fight to the likes of Ubiquti and Netgear, where we have not fought before.”

Some new programmatic items for partners were announced. These included new sales, technical, and especially marketing initiatives. Hunter also announced that HPE will now be paying a 3 per cent rebate to partners for the sale of certified pre-owned equipment – the same as new. He also announced referral fees for all upcycling services as part of HPE’s commitment to the circular economy and its objective of waste reduction. This involved a 3 per cent rebate for the bottom two tiers of the partner program, and a 5 per cent one for the top two tiers.”

Davis concluded with a three-pronged call to action to partners.

“First, the world is changing and we need to make sure our sales teams are capable and competent to discussions with customers around financial services, and consumption, and software,” he said. “So get certified!”

The second call was to lead with HPE.

“Make HPE your vendor of preference!” Davis cried. “We truly go all out for those who go all in. “As we go forward, that will be selling the whole portfolio, not just bits and pieces.”

The third theme emphasized to partners was to make GreenLake central to their business.

“Lead with consumption,” he said. “We have the best offering in the industry.”