Article

HP partner program helps VARs expand into SMB market

Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Contributing Editor
Click here to read the first part of this story -- HP tailors channel program to help partners manage specific markets.

The new program will have two tracks:

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a Technology Track (which will include a Services Elite designation) and a Solution Track (which will provide special support for partners with expertise in certain software solutions).

"If partners are already in this space, and understand the dynamic, we are there to create more benefits and margin opportunities," said LaRocca. "If they normally play up in the enterprise and want to grow their business and feel that the midmarket is the place to do it, we want to migrate them into that space with lead generation and training tools."

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The changes, which improve lead generation and offer focused training, are aimed at solution providers hoping to tackle midmarket and small business customers.

In addition, HP has increased financial incentives to partners selling to these customers. "We recognize that partners in this space need some different tools and focus," said LaRocca. "So, when they go into that space, they'll see more help from HP."

HP also tweaked its Attach Plus program to allow partners to gain financial incentives for adding options, accessories and services to product sales. HP has extended the program to include products from its Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), in addition to those from its Personal Systems Group (PSG).

"They had been kind of handcuffing partners with the holder requirements [of the AttachPlus program]," said Cathy Sousa, director of business development at ComputerLand of Silicon Valley, an HP Gold solution provider in San Jose, Calif. "These changes will free up folks so that they won't feel they have to package everything under the HP umbrella. Initially, the program did what it was supposed to do -- get everyone thinking about the synergy among all the product lines -- but now that awareness is there, they are taking a look at being more flexible."

Finally, HP introduced the Growth Accelerator, which compensates resellers for driving business growth. As the partner reaches a set percentage of a predefined sales goal determined based on the partner's historical HP sales data, they receive additional rewards. In addition, partners that exceed the previous year's sales revenue will make more on sales.

"HP does a good job of insulating my ROI," said Dan Schinsky, vice president of enterprise solutions at Relational Technology Solutions. "If I invest [in] selling and [make an] administrative investment [for operational enhancements], I feel comfortable that I will recoup that back with a profit. We won't spend six months on a deal and then find out we can't make money on it."

These additions are to a program that solution providers say has a variety of strengths. For example, HP offers notable support to partners in helping them market HP products to their specific audience. "We have recently gone to market with them on a cobranded effort on a marketing and advertising awareness campaign with the Personal Systems Group," said Jon Whitlock, vice president of marketing at CBE Technologies in Boston, Mass. CBE, a regional systems integration and managed services solution provider, is an HP Platinum partner. "They did all the heavy lifting around ad creation and incorporating CBE's message into that ad."

Keep It Simple

Even changes that bring additional revenue worry some solution providers -- who say that they need a program that's easy to manage.

"Simplicity is important. It's not about cutting back on programs but thinning [them] out so that [they're] easier to navigate and understand," said Schinsky. "Unfortunately, it's a longer path than anyone would like. HP has made steps, but they still need tweaks."

Perhaps the broad range of products brings complexity into the program inherently. "In order to support everything, the programs get complex and difficult to administer from a reseller point of view," said Jim Fall, vice president of strategic planning at Cannon IV. "If HP can continue to simplify and reduce the cost of administration from a reseller point of view, it would be of great benefit to us."

The number one complaint of resellers is paperwork. "We would love to see HP set up a simplified method of deal submission," said Timothy Aguilar, chief executive officer at Calculated Research & Technology (CR&T), "We have four or five pages of paperwork on every deal we do, and that takes lots of time. HP gets upset when it seems that the submissions are from a template -- but we find that there is no way we can compete on the fly."

These complaints aside, though, the channel agrees that HP provides a range of products and programs that make it a solid partner to the channel.

Untitled

Company Name:

Hewlett Packard Co.

Headquarters:

Palo Alto, Calif.

Founded:

1939

URL:

www.hp.com

Phone:

(650) 857-1501

Partner URL:

https://h20198.www2.hp.com/partner/partnerone.htm

Last Major Program

Enhancement:

May 1, 2007

Technologies Developed:

Printing, personal computing, software,

services and IT infrastructure.

Tiered Program Name:

ParnterONE

Tiers:

Platinum, Gold and Business

Number of Partners:

25,000 in North America

Senior channel exec's Name:

Tom LaRocca

Title:

vice president of program and product development

Size of company:

$94.1 billion in revenue as of January 2007;

150,000 employees worldwide; customers

in 176 countries on six continents.

 

 

Let us know what you think about this story; email Kevin Fogarty, News Director


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