Can Hewlett-Packard's New CEO Engage Small MSPs?

Can Hewlett-Packard's New CEO Engage Small MSPs?

Big Business just got a little bigger over at Hewlett-Packard. The computing giant says its new CEO will be former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker (pictured). The big question for small managed services providers: Will Apotheker, who joins HP on November  1, show any interest in the managed services market, or will he focus mainly on HP competition against IBM, Dell and Oracle in the enterprise? Here are some educated guesses.

At first glance, I don't think Apotheker will show much interest in small MSPs and VARs that are seeking recurring revenue opportunities. During most of his career at SAP, Apotheker thought about major enterprise ERP engagements vs. Oracle -- a big market that has little to do with the SMB niche.

Still, let's not lose sight of the bigger HP picture: Apotheker has several traits that may help HP to compete aggressively in the enterprise, though Wall Street seems disappointed by HP's CEO choice, at least for today. Meanwhile, established HP Channel Chief Stephen DiFranco is very knowledgeable about the managed services market and the SMB sector. As I've mentioned a few times, DiFranco previously led many of Lenovo's early MSP-centric moves before he left for HP.

This September 13, 2010, blog post recaps many of the MSP-related moves HP has made this year. And I sense that more are come.

Expect the Unexpected

Some folks on Wall Street were disappointed that HP didn't hire a flashier executive for the CEO post, such as Apple COO Tim Cook. And some partners will certainly wonder if Apotheker did enough to serve channel partners during his time at SAP.

But remember this: It took a former cookie executive, Lou Gerstner, to save IBM in the 1990s. Now, HP is hoping an enterprise software veteran can take the company to the next level. Apotheker may not be well-known within MSP circles. But lieutenants like HP Channel Chief Stephen DiFranco will surely help the company to more fully engage MSPs.

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