Ewington won’t exactly be a new face, having been at HP and then HPE for 27 years, including many channel facing roles, and having been acting in this position on an interim basis since February, but his past experience provides him with views how partners can be made more effective.
HPE has announced the appointment of long-time HP and HPE executive Simon Ewington as Vice President, Worldwide Channel and Partner Ecosystem. He replaces George Hope in the role. Hope left at the end of January and Ewington look over as interim leader in February, before his appointment was formally made in August.
Ewington reports to Gilles Thibaut, the President of the Worldwide Channel and Partner Ecosystem, and someone who he has reported to before.
“Gilles is my boss, although both of our jobs have changed slightly,” Ewington said. “In November he got a remix, and now manages Zerto, and GTM for storage, compute and GreenLake. His scope has become very broad. I now run all the channel partner ecosystems.” This includes the ecosystems from both HPE’s Worldwide Channels and Ecosystem and the HPE GreenLake Partner Ecosystem.
“Earlier this year, when George Hope and Maurice Martin left, the decision was made to pull everything together in one place,” Ewington said.
This strategy has been branded as the Journey to One.
“The Journey to One means one integrated platform and customer experience, and unified experiences under one brand,” Ewington stressed. “That’s how customers today want to consume the portfolio. That’s a real evolution over the last couple of years.”
Ewington said that the GreenLake component, where the partners started with 0% share when GreenLake was first announced in 2018 as an offering that would start out direct, has made giant strides through the channel
“Overall, we hit over a billion ARR a couple quarters ago,” he stated. “Two-thirds of HPE revenue is now transacted through the partner community – and we aspire to have a similar percentage through GreenLake as we move to more standardized offerings. Flexible solutions were customizable, and that has both good and bad aspects to it. The bad one is that it does lead to an ability on the limit to which you can scale.”
Ewington emphasized that even though he is only formally taking the role now, in reality he has held it since February, and that helps a lot.
“I have been fortunate to be the interim leader for seven months, because it is the best job interview you can have,” he said. “I have learned that there are three opportunities that we can develop further, with the first being around greater innovation. We have a ton of way to drive innovation, to make sure that both we and our partners are relevant.”
The second opportunity is turning that innovation into profitable growth, which is not necessarily axiomatic.
“The partner community isn’t complicated,” Ewington stated. “If you can be predictable, you can be quite attractive.”
The third requirement is for HPE to provide partners with the best end-to-end experience.
“We can improve there,” he said. “The goal has to be not just to be better than we were before. We need to provide the best quote to cash experience for the partners.”
Ewington indicated that since he took the role on an interim basis, they have had a Partner Advisory Council meeting in Houston in April as well as the Partner Growth Summit in June.
“Partners have told me that they continue to be impressed by our overall strategy and vision,” he said. “They want to drive profitable growth around their own value-added services. They are very open about that.”
The major partner initiative coming up is the launch of the full HPE Partner Ready Vantage on November 1.
“Aruba softlaunched this at HPE Discover last April, and then expanded it at their own event in late April,” Ewington said. “They were ahead of the rest of the company by design. We will launch the full Vantage program with three tracks – Build, Sell [which is where most are today around GreenLake] and Service. HPE wants partners to be successful wrapping their services around our solutions, and we think this will attract additional traditional partners who are developing MSP type capabilities.”
Partner Ready will continue to remain a separate program, Ewingtom confirmed.
“The great news is the new competencies will apply both to Partner Ready Vantage and to Partner Ready on November 1 as we bring the two programs closer together,” he said.
“We want to thank the partner community for supporting us amazingly well, and we encourage them to reach out to us through their PBMs and provide feedback,” Ewington concluded.
Ewington is a 27-year veteran of HP and HPE holding numerous international management positions, including Distribution and Channel Sales Leader EMEA. He also led the Graphics Solutions Business at HP, managing a significant volume of channel-led business. Most recently he served as VP of WW Distribution at HPE where he empowered distributors to further monetize and embrace as-a-service selling strategies.