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HPE Distributors Key to as-a-Service Strategy

Hybrid cloud and edge present big opportunities for HPE's distributors, and subsequently, partners.

Edward Gately

February 1, 2021

5 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE)’s new worldwide distribution head says he’ll engage with distributors daily so they get what they need.

HPE last month appointed Simon Ewington as its new vice president of worldwide distribution. He previously was general manager of HP’s graphics solutions business in EMEA. Before that, he was HPE’s vice president of channel sales for EMEA.

Ewington replaces George Hope in the role. Hope now is worldwide head of partner sales, serving a dual role since his appointment in September.

Based in Switzerland, Ewington joined HP nearly 30 years ago. In 2015, HP split into two separate companies, HPE and HP.

More than 80% of HPE‘s indirect business goes through distribution.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Ewington talks about what HPE distributors can expect with him at the helm.

Channel Futures: What all will your new role entail when it comes to channel?

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HPE’s Simon Ewington

Simon Ewington: The channel has always been and will continue to be critical to HPE. And throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work closely with the channel, even in roles that have not been channel dedicated. In my new role leading worldwide distribution, I am glad that this close collaboration will continue. I will be engaging with our distributors daily, as well as talking to their customers, our resellers or solution providers. By better understanding the services and solutions that really move the needle for this community, the HPE distribution team can develop the right programs and initiatives to help distributors best meet our shared partners’ needs as they evolve over time.

CF: What’s your take on HPE’s current distribution strategy?

SE: Over the last three years, George and the team have done a fantastic job in driving growth and the development of HPE’s business with distribution, working with them together as one team. In addition, our president and CEO Antonio Neri has set out a very clear strategy for HPE to be the global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company. In order to achieve this, all of the portfolio will be made available as a service by 2022. Our focus will be on the execution of that strategy. This represents a big opportunity for our channel and distribution. The partners who get on this as-a-service journey with us can really stand out and shine.

CF: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

SE: That is easy. My priority is spending time with our distribution community both externally in the market and internally in HPE. I want to understand what we are doing well that we need to continue doing, as well as what we need to improve, and where we need to accelerate in order to deliver on the HPE strategy of being the global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company.

CF: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?

SE: I want to grow our collective business — HPE’s and our distributors. To do this, we need to continue to execute on what we have always done well, and deliver on our transactional business. But the world is changing. And we also need to enable our distributors to take advantage of the opportunities that the hybrid cloud and the edge brings. I want HPE to be viewed by our distributors and the market as …

… the leader in enabling a shift to offer the entire portfolio both transactionally and as a service, also powered by collaboration with our broad ecosystem of partners to deliver a cloud experience everywhere, and to all customers.

CF: How will your previous experience come into play in this new role?

SE: I have 27 years of experience across HPE and HP. And during this time, I have always worked with the channel. Channel is an integral part of the DNA of HPE, and as an extension, part of my personal DNA. In 12 out of the last 15 years, I have led distribution or channel sales in EMEA. And as a result, I know the market. I know the partners. And I have relationships with many of the distribution executives that are critical to HPE.

I hope this experience and knowledge will allow me to start quickly and have an early impact. Having said that, I also recognize that I have more to learn. This is my first global role, which brings a different dynamic. And although I am known in EMEA, I need to develop strong relationships with our distribution community in the Americas and Asia, which I’m really looking forward to starting.

CF: What sort of challenges are distributors and partners facing, especially with COVID-19? What will be your role in addressing those?

SE: The global pandemic has brought unprecedented change to our personal and business lives. It has changed the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we socialize, and at the same time, has accelerated many of the technology trends that were forecast. Companies now have a greater understanding of the importance of the edge as employees continue to physically work remotely from the office and data center, thus embracing a hybrid cloud strategy. A scalable onsite IT infrastructure for critical applications, like HPE GreenLake, has huge advantages to help companies navigate these shifts.

Companies have seen demand for their products and services change dramatically, either falling like those in the travel industry, or increasing exponentially like online retail while storefronts go digital. HPE GreenLake can help these companies to flex their IT capacity, meet demand, and pay for only what they use, with the added security of having their IT infrastructure on-premises rather than in the public cloud.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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