HP: Enterprise Group merger will make us easier for partners to work with

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HP top brass to shed a little bureaucracy

The creation of the HP’s Enterprise Group is set to generate more opportunity through its channel, HP top brass said at the firm’s UK partner conference, removing some of the headaches associated with dealing with the company.

HP, the world’s largest IT company, is still in the beginning stages of wholesale changes to its business, with Meg Whitman attempting to steady the firm through a number of measures such as reinvesting savings from cutting 29,000 staff worldwide in research and development.

Some of the other major operational changes have included the consolidation of various elements of HP’s rather labyrinthine corporate strutrure to create a more streamlined approach.

So aside from the cutting staff numbers, acronym-heavy HP has been chopping down the number of divisions it has, previously announcing that its printer division would be joining up with its PC unit, as well as creating the Enterprise Group by pairing up its Enterprise Server Storage and Networking (ESSN) unit with its Technology Services Business.

At HP’s Gold Partner Conference in London today, Kevin Matthews, UK&I Director for Indirect Sales at HP told ChannelBiz UK how the operational changes are going to impact the channel.

“The tangible changes in the business from six months ago is that indirect is really centre stage in terms of what we are doing and how we are selling our products,” Matthews said. “We have now have the traditional reseller business, the service provider business, which is now an established indirect channel, its a way of delivering technology in a different way.  The alliances business, the systems integrators, the key software vendors such as Microsoft Oracle and SAP, and then the final component is the technology services channel.

“We brought that into one place now, the indirect business has a scale and size that will help us drive sales and get better coverage in the market,” Matthews said.

According to Matthews, at its most fundamental level, the changes being made will mean that HP’s channel partners in the UK will benefit from less bureaucracy.

“Tactically for resellers it will mean quicker decisions [from HP staff], and introduce resellers and service providers to exploit new opportunity areas,” he said.

The  main message for partners in among the changes is “re establishing the opportunity” for HP partners, and communicating that “in terms of opportunity, whether that’s server storage or networking, imaging, – there are great opportunities for partners”.

According to Nick Wilson, Vice President & Managing Director, UK&I, this means that HP will now be able to start moving ahead with plans to offer its services to smaller businesses, and acknowledges that this is somewhere where there is room for improvement by HP.

“In terms of the channel we would like to start actively addressing as much of the market as we can,” Wilson said,”we historically have probably covered the larger companies better than some of the SMB space”.

With a dedicated sales team in Scotland, HP plans to continues its investment in upping its business levels particularly in the ‘small’ section of the SMB market.

The amount of investment through the channel will not change as a result of the merger, however.

“The envelope of money available hasn’t changed,” Wilson said, “what we are doing is making sure that when we do invest we have got the  commitment and we get the return on investment. We are being deliberately more focused in investing in the right partners, and I think partners appreciate that it gives us the ability to give more to them.”

Although it is not possible to give a figure on the number of staff working with the channel as a result of the structural changes, Wilson says that HP is making every attempt to avoid disrupting partners existing relationships with HP staff, with t.

“I don’t think that there will many day to day changes for the resellers, it will more managerial changes,” he told us. “If a channel partner has had a good relationship for two years we don’t want to change that for the sake of it.  What we want to do is to give them better content to deal with – we would like a level of continuity.”


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