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May 13, 2011
There’s another knock on the door. This time it’s Meaghan Kelly, VP of strategy and SMB at Hewlett-Packard. Kelly is sitting down with The VAR Guy in San Francisco to offer some updates on HP’s channel strategy, cloud and business relationships. Here’s the conversation…
1. Cloud Storage: HP continues to work closely with Axcient, a hybrid cloud storage service for VARs and MSPs. “We now have the HP Advisory Council engaged with Axcient,” said Kelly. “And more than half are actively doing deployments; we’ve also got hundreds of partners engaged with Axcient.” The HP Advisory Council includes influential HP channel partners.
2. Next Cloud Moves: The VAR Guy has criticized HP — just a bit — for announcing a public cloud strategy without discussing potential channel partner implications. But now he’s relieved: Kelly confirmed that the HP public cloud effort will involve channel partners. Details have yet to be announced. The VAR Guy’s best guess: Perhaps three will be an update during the HP Discover event on June 7 or so.
3. Startup and Venture Capital Council: About two years ago, Kelly had an informal meeting with HP Executive VP Todd Bradley and famed angel investor Ron Conway. Based on that discussion, Kelly saw the opportunity for HP to start working more closely with startup companies — providing HP brainpower (rather than venture dollars) to the startups.
The key goal: Ensure the startups leveraged HP technology. And in return, the startups can potentially leverage HP’s existing channel partners and market know-how. Fast forward to the present. HP now operates a Startup and Venture Capital Council, which focuses on five types of businesses:
infrastructure or platform as a service;
enterprise software or software as a service; and
Council members represent companies that focus on the bullet points above. “We want the members to build on HP technology and and buy from HP,” said Kelly. “And naturally we make sure the members can leverage our kn0w-how with channel partners and more. There’s a true synergy between the council members and HP.
4. HP Startup Central: Kelly says a key HP portal, called HP Startup Central, also continues to gain momentum. The portal allows startups to leverage HP product programs as well as specific solutions for marketing, intellectual technology and vertical markets.
5. The Big Switch: Now, not networking hardware. Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Somehow, The VAR Guy and Kelly get sidetracked on the Kutcher vs. Sheen debate. Ultimately, The VAR Guy and Kelly agree: Smart move by CBS.
6. HP Tablets Running WebOS: HP’s entire salesforce will soon carry WebOS tablets, Kelly says. The rollout will include HP-developed video chat software, so that sales team members can connect customers with the most appropriate HP technical expert at a moment’s notice.
Sounds slick. Oops… Time’s up. The VAR Guy’s Speed Date with Kelly has ended. Time for a quick lunch break. Back soon with another Speed Date meeting recap.
Meet The VAR Guy: For more information about future speed dating engagements send email to The VAR Guy [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com. Use the subject line “Speed Dating.”
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