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HPE partners we talked to are feeling upbeat about the company's strategy and messaging.
June 20, 2019
HPE DISCOVER — The velocity at this year’s HPE Partner Global Summit and HPE Discover event has everyone – vendors, partners and business customers – moving at full speed. Channel Futures was grateful to get some unscheduled time with a few channel partner attendees to get their take on this year’s event and the value of HPE’s messaging for their businesses.
Here’s what three partners shared with us.
The 66-year old company that got started as a corner camera store has evolved into a large IT VAR selling AV, VoIP, physical security, and MSP services — and the partner still operates a specialty electronics store. Last October, CCCP merged with Arlington Computer Products (ACP Creative IT), creating a substantial solution provider with combined sales of $160 million, 250 employees and coverage that spans the SMB and enterprise customer markets. Together, ACP and CCCP rank among the top channel partners for HP, HPE and Dell.
Dave Pisani, senior vice president of strategy and operations at CCCP, told us that when you’re a key HPE platinum partner, you show up at the vendor’s big event to hear what the company has to say, have some executive meetings and learn more about how HPE interacts with its partners.
So, what’s resonating with Pisani at this week’s event in Las Vegas?
CCCP’s Dave Pisani
“A lot of what we do at Camera Corner is SMB-focused and a lot of the things here are not SMB-focused — but there were some nice announcements and a lot of direction indicating that HPE is paying extra attention to SMB, which is a great thing for us,” he said.
Pisani is pleased to hear that HPE’s GreenLake strategy now embraces midmarket customers.
“One of the things I have to do today is find out exactly what that means in terms of midmarket — which means a lot of things to different people. What’s important to us is … the minimum number of seats needed to make GreenLake a worthwhile discussion with customers.”
Once armed with that information, Pisani will take it back to his company’s salesforce to promote it with customers.
“GreenLake is interesting and it’s repeatable revenue, and everyone wants MMR (monthly recurring revenue). I don’t know how many of our SMB customers it will apply to, but it will apply to many customers at our sister company ACP because they’re more enterprise-focused.”
What does Pisani think about HPE’s strategic vision?
“I think that HPE is leading the game, and that’s what makes us excited about working with them,” he said. “I’m not a technical person, but [HPE] demonstrates how [its] technology applies to the real world and what it means to customers and partners. It’s pretty exciting.”
Sempre Technologies focuses on high-performance compute (HPC), higher education and media around storage and infrastructure, where the partner works primarily with Dell EMC. What brings Antony Bridle, director at Sempre, to sunny and hot Las Vegas (it’s winter in New Zealand) is to scout out another vendor’s product portfolio.
“We’re looking to see what HPE has to offer,” he said.
Bridle said that aligning with another vendor’s product portfolio will …
… improve Sempre’s competitive position.
Sempre’s Antony Bridle
“The way that vendor deal-registration rules work sometimes leads you down a path where you can’t go with what you would normally pitch, so we need more than one option that we can take to our customers,” he said.
With a focus on HPC, HPE’s pending $1.3 billion acquisition of Cray should be of interest to Bridle.
“Yes, I’m definitely interested to learn more about that, but its early now [in that process] and HPE will probably have more to say about that next year,” Bridle said.
And what about HPE’s current HPC portfolio (Apollo and SGI)? Bridle is aware of HPE’s HPC play and Apollo products but hasn’t done business with the company.
His interest in the HPC space is more on storage systems – focusing on parallel file systems – as well software-defined storage and commodity hardware.
“We do quite a bit of Dell EMC Isilon and I think that, currently, Scality (a strategic HPE partner) isn’t up to that standard yet. But I think that HPC, AI and machine learning [are] moving quickly toward more parallel file systems … and there are other things happening in that space.”
Bridle is meeting with HPE storage executives to learn more about where and if the HPE portfolio of storage products is a fit for Sempre and its customers’ use cases.
Founded in 1992, Probrand is a trusted adviser/reseller that does business with the government, has about 1,500 SMB customers driving in monthly recurring revenue for the partner, and does resell with larger organizations. HPE and Microsoft are two of Probrand’s long-term and key vendor partners. CEO Peter Robbins has attended HPE Global Partner Summit (GPS) and Discover for the past two years.
Probrand’s Peter Robbins
“I came this year because I think that the reorganization of HPE is huge and I think that it’s a fool who doesn’t think that they should listen,” said Robbins. “I think that it’s the fool who thinks that everything is AWS and Azure. Coming out here and looking at Aruba, looking at the edge — I look at what’s going on here and I think that [HPE] is connected to the world.”
Robbins sees an enormous organization like HPE reinvent itself in a manner he’d associate with an SMB.
“As a business owner, I do transformation systems and write software as well; I know how it’s great to see on a screen, which is maybe 250 feet tall and 250 feet wide, that the biggest problem is technology, people and outcomes — and HPE has got that absolutely right.”
GreenLake, which Robbins first looked at last year, remained a mystery until he took another look at it this year’s event.
“Now, I get it,” he said.
The loyal HPE partner said he also likes how the company is consolidating the Aruba brand and the way products are coming together for delivery.
“It’s very clever,” he added.
What he really appreciates is how HPE is taking its strategic vision, making it real — and making it about business outcomes rather than technology.
As an HPE partner, Robbins is attending the Las Vegas event because the company is connecting the dots between its strategic vision, products and outcomes, and how they translate to the partner’s business.
“The people in the U.K. who look after us have been excellent, totally accessible — from the guy who comes into the office all the way through to senior people in the U.K,” said Robbins.
Were there any surprises for Robbins at HPE GPS and Discover? Yes.
“The fact that resellers are building IP,” he said. “At a breakout session, the presenter talked about the requirement, if resellers want to stay relevant, to build …
… their value with IP, whatever that looks like. If you’re in farming, build farming apps; if you’re in whatever, build those apps but invest your money in building IP.”
That was music to Robbins’ ears since he’s been doing that for a long time.
“For many years before that, the message was to go out and find the IP and be a partner of it. Now, that’s not good enough; you have to have that IP,” he said.
So how does this feedback from three partner attendees at HPE GPS and Discover 2019 align with industry watcher Cyndi Privett, vice president of research and co-founder of Viewpoint Research?
“From my perspective, HPE partners are energized around the momentum and direction on GreenLake and better synergy between the hybrid IT side and the Aruba side of the company. The technology messaging is resonating, and partners tell us that GreenLake is out in front of the on-premises consumption models they see elsewhere in the market.
If HPE can help partners monetize the too well-kept secrets InfoSight and Cloud28+, they have an opportunity to outperform significantly via the channel in the next three to five years.”
In 2014, HPE launched the Cloud28+ community for the European market, followed by its cloud service catalog in December 2015. In mid-2017, HPE expanded the community and platform worldwide. The idea behind Cloud28+ is to bring together all the components of a hybrid cloud strategy and the ecosystem that supports it to promote enterprise cloud adoption.
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