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News from HP GPC: HP revamps PartnerOne framework, adds engagement models

At HP's Global Partner Conference, the company maps out its plan to expand PartnerOne to reflect channel companies' evolving business models.

LAS VEGAS -- The theme of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Global Partner Conference this year is driving growth for both the vendor and its partners. With that in mind, HP kicked off its annual partner conference here today with the announcement of an expanded, or common, PartnerOne framework.

"Today, PartnerOne is strictly focused on resellers. [Effective in November], PartnerOne will include five other partner types, or business models, under the PartnerOne umbrella," said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of PartnerOne strategy at Hewlett-Packard (HP). The channel executive said the additional five partner types are distributors, service providers, system integrators, independent software developers (ISVs) and OEM integrators.

The change announced at HP's Global Partner Conference (GPC) reflects the blurring of partners' business models. For example, Eitenbichler pointed out that resellers are no longer resellers only; system integrators are also resellers, ISVs also offer their software as a service and become service providers, and distributors are becoming hosting providers and service providers.

"Partners just don't work in one silo or in one business model; rather, more partners are expanding beyond silos," he said. "So we're building a common foundation across all of these six partner types that allow partners to easily engage with HP and get benefits for every one of these engagement models."

Slated to go into effect in the next fiscal year, which begins in November, HP is laying out a roadmap so that over the course of the year partners can prepare for the program changes, which are:

Partners just don't work in one silo or in one business model; rather, more partners are expanding beyond silos. So we're building a common foundation.
Patrick Eitenbichlerdirector of PartnerOne strategy, HP

Unified membership structure: Under the expanded PartnerOne framework, there will be a consistent membership structure for partner types that have multiple tier levels (not all types will have multiple tiers). That membership structure consists of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Business levels.

Here's what some of the changes will look like: Today, HP has a PartnerOne service provider program for cloud called Cloud Agile. Going forward, that program will be called the PartnerOne Service Provider program and will have Silver and Gold levels instead of, respectively, Select and Premier levels.

System integrators, meanwhile, will adhere to the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Business level tiers. According to Eitenbichler, the company's Global Integrator Program, which covers mostly European partners, will have the above-mentioned tiers.

Software developers, or ISVs, will initially have a single level of membership, but partners should expect to see this business model sector also evolve to a Platinum-, Gold-, Silver- and Business-level structure, Eitenbichler said.

Distributors will remain authorized distributors, with no separate tiers, and OEM integrators will retain a single-tier status.

Updated partner portal: In addition to the streamlining of the partner-level naming conventions, the Unison Partner Portal is being optimized for all business types. Using a single login, partners will be able to see the information that is relevant to them. Reseller partners will be the first to access the Unison Partner Portal, and other partner types will gain access in six to 12 months, according to the company.

"It's everything that our partners have asked for with one place to go for all of their compensation information, MDF [market development funds] and funding information, marketing tools. It's their starting point for deal registration and turnaround," said Page Murray, vice president of worldwide channel marketing at HP.

At HP GPC 2013, the company announced the Unison Partner Portal initiative and dedicated $100 million to improve the portal and the tools that partners use to engage with the company. Going forward, there will be a single partner locator.

Streamlined MDF processes: HP is also consolidating the MDF request process for all business types. Under the old PartnerOne, there were distinct MDF processes for the different business model types, different compliance requirements and so on.

Simpler contracts: The vendor is also simplifying contracts. Historically, each partner type had a different contract. When the new partner types emerge, there will be one partner agreement supplemented by addenda or program guides specific to each of the business models, according to Eitenbichler.

Cloud services specialization and designation: Also announced today at HP GPC is the new HP PartnerOne Cloud Reseller Specialization, which is designed for partners that resell HP Public Cloud in the U.S., HP Managed Cloud System Matrix and cloud services from HP PartnerOne Service Providers (formerly CloudAgile).

"What is new here is enabling partners to move into the cloud services reselling space," Eitenbichler said.

HP is also launching PartnerOne for Cloud to help customers with hybrid cloud solutions. HP also is adding the Platinum Cloud Specialist designation, which requires multiple Gold specializations.

The new designations and the benefits associated with them go into effect in November. Between now and then, HP will publish information as to what certifications and revenue levels are required to achieve Silver and Gold levels. Additionally, the trainings for certification will be available by November, if not sooner, according to the HP executive.

Opportunity to sell HP support services: Another announcement made today is that partners can now sell and deliver all HP support services, including HP Datacenter Services, HP Proactive Care Services and HP Flexible Capacity Services.

Partners that decide to sell services can expect to see margins increase by as much as 31%, and up to 46% if they are qualified by HP to also deliver the services, Eitenbichler said. This is the first time HP is allowing partners to sell its high-end enterprise services. Rollout is expected over the next six months.

New financial services portal: HP's Financial Services team, for its part, is launching a Partner Connection Portal where partners can get quick quotes, credit applications, and proposals and contracts via a self-service interface.

Certification changes: Finally, HP made several announcements around certifications. The ExpertOne team is launching a new management tool that locates the person within a partner organization who is best positioned to complete a certification, which should take some work out of the process for partners.

Also, all Master ASE individuals within HP's partner community will get VIP access to support (in most cases that's Level 2 support).

HP also said it continues to decrease the time it takes to achieve certifications -- across the board. The company is able to slash the time and cost of attaining certifications by focusing the HP solutions content and job role and eliminating requirements for broader industry content. According to HP, some reductions have already been made and any remaining changes to reduce certification requirements will occur over the next six months.

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