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The HPE Global Partner Summit kicked off with CEO Antonio Neri and Paul Hunter, global channel chief.
June 18, 2019
HPE GLOBAL PARTNER SUMMIT — Partner business growth at HPE hit 13%, twice that of HPE overall business growth, year over year. That was some great news that greeted partners even before global channel chief Paul Hunter hit the stage.
Hunter offered attendees a message of even tighter alignment between HPE direct and indirect sales teams going forward, as well as several new partner sales, solutions and marketing enablement programs and initiatives to supercharge partners’ businesses for the coming year.
The idea of HPE and partners growing together and winning together focuses heavily on two strategic HPE business shifts — a targeted commitment to midmarket customers and transforming to an as-a-service business.
“HPE’s partner route to market is a thriving one,” Hunter told the audience Monday at the HPE Global Partner Summit (GPS) in Las Vegas. Hunter provided stats on how well partners performed on the three things he asked them to do this time last year at HPE GPS: grow the partner business; grow the solutions portfolio, the Simplivity and storage business; and lead the charge with HPE Greenlake, the IT consumption model initiative announced at Global Partner Summit 2018.
For the first half of this year, partners grew the solutions business – Nimble by 22%, Simplivity by 61% and Synergy by 74%. But the real standout was the growth of Greenlake. Four hundred partners have opportunities in the pipeline.
“We closed more business (120 deals) in the last quarter than we closed the whole of the prior year,” said Hunter.
Several HPE executives addressed what the company has in store to help fuel partners’ business for the upcoming year that will help them take advantage of what HPE calls the Super 6 — a $160 billion market opportunity that consists of short-term and long-term opportunities, announced at last year’s GPS. They also talked about programs in the works, $1 billion for MDF and rebates, and what HPE is doing around systems, edge, AI, hybrid cloud and marketing.
HPE’s Antonio Neri
In a brief Q&A, Hunter talked with Antonio Neri, CEO at HPE, who shared his vision for the company — a focus on customers and having a solution mindset. He mentioned the recent acquisition of Cray, the supercomputing company, as part of the company’s innovation strategy; the intelligent edge and the explosion of data; the hybrid cloud story; and the bold message to be consumption-driven in every area. Neri has been with HPE for 25 years, with nearly two years under his belt as chief executive.
“We think about this in an architecture-driven approach, first about the user experience and second about the technology,” said Neri. “But our vision for our company is to deliver everything we do as a service.”
Eight-five years of being a partner-centric organization shows that partner intimacy is in the vendor’s DNA, said Anurag Agrawal, principal analyst at Techaisle.
“Every technology supplier is focused on simplicity, winning together, ease of doing business — but HPE is enabling all of these while transforming its own business model to as a service. [It’s] commendable that they are able to take their partners along the transformation journey,” he said.
Agrawal noted five points stood out for him:
The investment in marketing for creating a massive market pull to help partners.
Doubling down on the SMB segment.
The digital marketing acceleration and accreditation program, and HPE Social Media Center for partners.
A single platform for configuration and quotation across all business.
HPE Next (a single consolidated ERP effort).
It was Jim Jackson, chief marketing officer at HPE, who talked about the shift to digital, marketing investments, and how the company is doubling down on SMB. Not only does 75% of the buying journey happen digitally, 68% of customers prefer to engage digitally.
“We’ve also seen a 25% increase in the number of decision-makers involved in a typical deal,” he said. “That means we have to influence key decision-makers earlier in the deal on the buying journey.”
He talked about enhancements to HPE Marketing Pro Academy, including HPE Social Media Center for partners and the new accreditation program, and more investments in analytics for digital leads.
“Our focus is to …
… direct a large portion of our digital opportunities to you. We’ve been doing that and as we scale the program, you’ll continue to see us do more,” he said.
Jackson also talked about doubling down on SMBs.
“We think there’s a huge opportunity and you’ll see us brand a new campaign that is designed to drive more awareness, more pull, and of course, more digital leads,” he said.
Hunter talked about how environmental-friendly business is good business and told partners that financial services is investing in partners, offering a 3% rebate for certified preowned equipment (which is the same as for new) and offering a 30% referral payment for upcycling services.
He also talked about the HPE Technomics Platform, a digital platform that provides the opportunity for partners to get real-time credit assessment and approval for deals. It supports a broad number of vendors and integration with HP’s quotation tool.
HPE is working on HPE Next, a fast way to deliver on opportunities with minimal human intervention. It involves the company’s ERP platform based on SAP. A deployment will begin in Europe, and Hunter noted that HPE Next is a two to three-year commitment.
“Partners are noticing and responding [to HPE]. That is the key,” said Agrawal. “They are buying into the HPE vision.”
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