HPE geared up for this week’s HPE Discover event with a GreenLake Day last week, when in concert with key channel partners, they held a major event to draw attention to the consumption-based offering.
HPE’s GreenLake consumption-based services were front and centre on the first day of HPE Discover on Tueday. CEO Antonio Neri highlighted them in his kickoff keynote, with the announcement of both new GreenLake services, which will be available to partners, and a new pre-integrated building block model designed to make the services quicker and easier to consume. HPE Canada geared up for the big GreenLake news last week, with GreenLake Day, a major initiative done in collaboration with key Canadian channel partners.
“Today’s an exiting day,” said Paula Hodgins, HPE Canada’s President. “We are really trying to make a buzz in Canada about GreenLake, with GreenLake day. We are reaching out to customers with webinars, working with seven partners in Canada to do customer reaching activities. The idea is to make a splash about our as-a-service offering as we go into Discover, and to make it clear we have the leading as-a-service model.”
GreenLake has been around for a decade, and has traditionally been a tiny part of HPE’s revenues. However, its emphasis has been greatly increased more recently. Two years ago at HPE Discover, GreenLake was opened up to channel partners for the first time. And last year at Discover, Neri committed to HPE offering everything in the company’s portfolio as a service by 2022.
GreenLake adoption in Canada has lagged somewhat compared with the United States – a not unfamiliar pattern.
“We saw that with the public cloud as well,” Hodgins said. “There was a 12-24 month lag in adoption compared to the U.S. Now, companies are looking for new and innovative things and are really looking to get a public cloud experience. That’s why we are really seeing a shift in the Canadian market, and partners are a huge part of how we go to market.”
“We have begun to see tremendous momentum in the last couple of years,” said Mike Hilton, Vice President & GM, Hybrid IT Canada at HPE. “In the last year the Canadian adoption rate has been better – and almost all of it has been through the channel.”
“Customers have embraced the public cloud, but many journeys have been hampered by having to buy on-prem for some applications,” Hilton stated. “With GreenLake, they don’t have to do firmware updates and patching. That makes it similar to the public cloud, and that resonates with customers. A lot of partners have built great practices around this, providing the feel of an off-premise model based on an as-a-service model.”
“With GreenLake, they can manage all the workloads for their customers,” Hodgins noted. “It gives partners a way to expand their offerings and not just focus on the public cloud.
The pandemic hasn’t been good for most businesses overall, but it has been good for consumption-based offerings.
“We have seen increased demand for GreenLake because of the pandemic, with companies looking to get better value from their capital, “Hodgins said. “59% overprovision on compute and 48% on storage was traditional, without delivering any new value to the business. The as-a-service model eliminates that.”
“Another advantage of the as-a-service model in these times is that it can save money if a company is in decline,” Hilton added. “Many have had to furlough staff because of the pandemic’s impact, and this model lets them save money in the short term decline period, while still having the infrastructure that they will need for a V-shaped recovery.”
Hilton also said that GreenLake also gives partners a good entrée to revisit customers in these tougher times.
“Cash has been an issue for many customers,” he said. “With GreenLake, we can approach them, ask them how they are doing, and provide a possible solution for their problems. GreenLake provides a mechanism for dealing with cashflow issues today.”
Hilton also stressed that it is important to differentiate between GreenLake and competitive offerings in the market.
“Our competitors have flexible leases,” he said. “GreenLake is a true metred as-a-service model that you can grow into and out of.”
The Canadian partners involved with GreenLake include both traditional solution providers and born-in-the-cloud players.
“It’s a bit of a mix,” Hodgins said. “We are seeing traditional partners evolve and develop cloud practices, and we are also working with new types of partners we haven’t worked with before, because they have been focused on the public cloud.”
Traditionally, most campaigns like GreenLake Day would involve a combination of virtual events, but of course that’s not the case this year.
“Its all virtual,” Hodgins said. “We are making sure our partners are fully trained, aware of the messaging, and fully up to date on our offerings and how we differentiate against the competition. We are reaching out to customers, setting up meetings. We are educating different audience groups, including a public sector webinar, to create this broad spectrum of awareness.”
GreenLake Day involved seven channel partners actively taking part, two of which, Long View and Powerland, have gone public about it.
“HPE Canada employees together with these seven partners is a powerful message.” Hilton said. “We sent out invites to three different seminars, recorded podcasts with Long View and Powerland, and funnelled folks into the GreenLake sessions in Discover.
“GreenLake fits into a new perspective for us, and helps us engage in the market trend toward the everything-as-a-service model,” said Curtis Dery Vice President of Sales and Strategy for Powerland. “We have been transforming with industry trends, and building up our managed service practice, and now have over 500 managed service clients. This has been a big pivot for a company focused on infrastructure sales. We were also the first partner to close a GreenLake deal in Canada.”
Powerland’s head office is in Winnipeg, but they have expanded in recent years, into Regina, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, and they have people in the ground in Alberta, and even a couple in Toronto. They now have 200 employees and over $100 million in annual revenues
“For GreenLake day, we worked with the marketing team at HPE and did several initiatives, including podcasts and interviews,” Dery said. “We do a lot of roadmapping with them to align to the market with their customers. We also created a landing page on our site and I had my outside sales reps to call out on our targeted mix of customers and prospects to tell them how they can better consume IT in a more effective way with GreenLake.”
Dery also noted that the GreenLake model, which he compared to a financial advisor model in providing a steady stream of cash flow, was well suited to this environment.
“In COVID, the projects get shut down,” he said. “The consumption model has flexibility.”
Hodgins emphasized that channel partners need to get on board this consumption-based model.
“For the channel, this is an opportunity to expand their managed service offerings, and to think more holistically about hybrid cloud and what they can bring to customers around that,” she said. “They will be hearing more about GreenLake in the market, and hopefully be more interested in working with HPE as a result.”