HPE lays out better, stronger, faster strategy for channel partners

Antonio Neri, executive vice president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Antonio Neri, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

On Monday, HPE kicked off its HPE Discover 2022 event with their Partner Growth Summit. The major hard news announced was the announcement of a new channel program, HPE Partner Ready Vantage, to complement the existing HPE Partner Ready program. However, the company’s executives also situated this within the broader HPE channel strategy, explaining to partners where HPE is going with that strategy and what they can expect in the near and longer term.

Antonio Neri, HPE’s CEO, emphasized that HPE has continued to drive the strategy of making everything that they sell available as a service, which he announced in 2018.

“We have not changed our strategy,” he stressed. “What we have done is doubled down and executed faster. We are now a different company. We have been in a massive transformation.”

Neri also emphasized that the as-a-service strategy is not at odds with HP’s traditional business – a good thing given that 90% of what they sell is still that traditional solution set, while only 10% of sales today are GreenLake.

“The two are very, very synergistic – but it’s a different experience,” he said. “ It’s part of the journey to one – one platform and one experience, in which the value- add between services and software will continue to increase.”

Neri said that creating the culture they want around as-a-service is not yet complete 

“Theres still a lot of work to be done in the culture – but when you have a common purpose, and people who can take this head on and drive it on behalf of the company for common purpose, it becomes easier,” he said. “Customers want us to go faster and together we can go faster.”

George Hope, worldwide head of partner sales at HPE, said they have been making good progress in this regard.

“We have been executing against our strategy to be an edge to cloud company,” he stated. “We closed Q2 with 4 billion in partner led business, up 15%. The number of partners who have sold multiple GreenLake deals is also up 15%.” Ths highlight here was DACH-focused partner ACP, who just won their 18th Greenlake deal.

“We have the best partner ecosystem on the planet and that’s not going to change,” Hope said. “With us, you have a choice in how you want to build your business. We want you to participate in the entire customer lifecycle.”

“We have pivoted the platform over the last year in a common architecture for customers and partners,” said Fidelma Russo’s HPE’s CTO. “Now every business unit in HPE is building services and offers on top of the platform, to provide additional security and compliance attributes. It brings together all HPE cloud resources, so it makes it easier to engage with us.”

Russo said that it’s an approach which is fundamentally different from the hyperscalers. 

“It’s built for partners first, and everyone goes in the same way, with no back doors,” she said. “It’s a hybrid cloud platform, so whatever customers can do on the platform, partners can also do. You will also see us enriching our MSP capabilities more over the next couple of quarters.”

“It’s all about having a common platform to bring absolutely everything together in one place,” said Maurice Martin, VP Partner Ecosystem, HPE GreenLake. “We  have always viewed partners as central. They set services, and they own the paper. That is absolutely vital from this partner flavoured program.”

When GreenLake first rolled out in 2018 as part of PointNext, it wasn’t even sold though partners.

“Ana Pinczuk, who ran PointNext then, said partners were interested in GreenLake, but we owned the customer, which was a problem,” said Jesse Chavez, Worldwide VP of Partner Programs & Operations. “We needed to figure out how to change the offer to make it partner friendly. We did that in 2019 when we changed the contract structure, although different organizations treat it differently on their balance sheet, and that really impacts how it looks.” 

Chavez estimated that it will take at last five years before the convergence of hardware and as-a-service that is at the heart of HPE’s strategy becomes a reality.

“Partners ask us that question a lot,” he said. “We know it will take time. Every company that makes major transitions to their business model requires time. We can’t just jump in and do everything as a service now. We have our own balance sheet to consider.”

Chavez said that while many partners are hamstring in their move to as-a-service because their customer base is reluctant, HPE is trying to help them by giving them better tools which are still very familiar to them

“We can now build configurable standardizations which allow some customization,’ he stressed. “We have to get partners using tools like our new integrated quoter, which is now in pilot.”