What HP Partner First partners should know about FY 2017

After celebrating its first year as an independent company, HP Inc. said it will continue striving to improve HP Partner First and channel initiatives; more news from the week.

The complex disentanglement of the Hewlett-Packard split is now a thing of the past.

Nov. 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the companywide split, which is the start of HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) fiscal new year. With HP Inc. and HPE established as independent companies and the challenges of the split behind them, fiscal year 2017 will focus on capturing market opportunities, according to HP Inc. The companies will also strive to enhance their channel initiatives.

"It's been an exciting ... 12 months within HP," said Stephanie Dismore, vice president and general manager of the Americas commercial channel at HP Inc.

Dismore cited a number of accomplishments related to the reworking of HP Inc.'s channel strategy. Among them was HP moving more of its business to the channel, to the extent where about 87% of its annual revenue is "driven by our channel partners." She said that number had previously been about 80%.

The Hewlett-Packard split involved converting the PartnerOne program into HP Partner First and HPE Partner Ready, which the companies revealed significant updates to at the Global Partner Conference in September. Changes to the HP Partner First Program included the creation of new specializations for partners and an omnichannel sales strategy to ensure a "seamless and holistic experience with the HP brand across all platforms," she said.

Other successes included HP Inc.'s "record-high share in our personal systems group, which when you're at the top of the stack, especially in the U.S., holding that share and ... even driving it further north is remarkable" in today's competitive landscape, she said. Additionally, HP has taken its services business to over $1 billion in revenue and launched an array of "breakthrough products" in areas like commercial mobility and A3 printing. She also noted the launch of HP's x2 and x3 platforms, calling them "a brand-new category of products."

Stephanie Dismore, vice president and general manager of the Americas commercial channel at HP Inc.Stephanie Dismore

From an infrastructure perspective, HP Inc. made strategic moves that will allow it to improve operational efficiency and "move with the trends," Dismore said. She pointed to HP transitioning its customer relationship management structure from Salesforce to Microsoft's platform as an example.

"When we look at the split, we really view it as one of our greatest strengths," she said. Unlike competitor Dell, she added, with its megamerger with EMC and its strategy around the breadth of its combined portfolios, HP Inc. decided early on to be "extremely focused, extremely agile and the best in class in what we focus on, which is print, personal systems and services."

Looking ahead, Dismore said HP will look to align its partners with the market's shift from transactional to contractual business. "We want to continue to align our tools, resources and expertise with channel partners that are making that transition ... to a utilities model, whether that is managed print services, device as a service or a subscription model."

As another priority, the company will look to drive business around its core portfolio. "Winning in the core for us means making sure that we're delivering best-in-class products and solutions, and providing the best-in-class team ... that any of our partners deals with."

In addition, HP will look to ensure it's enabling its digital content, assets and resources to optimize its brand with its partners.

"What I would tell partners as we go into the new year is ... No. 1, what you've seen from HP over this last year is an example of the journey that we're on," she said. "We're going to continue to strive to make sure that our programs and our model follows the tenets of simplification, predictability and profitability for the partners."

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KnowBe4 launches channel program

KnowBe4 Inc., which provides a security-awareness training platform, launched a channel program for North American VARs and managed service providers (MSPs).

The company, which does a quarter of its business through the channel, has been "laying the groundwork for having partnerships" over the past three years, said Tish Williams, vice president of channel sales at KnowBe4, based in Clearwater, Fla.

The new program formalizes its relations with channel partners, providing a three-tier structure: Authorized, Certified and Premier. The Authorized tier offers partner portal access and a margin discount. The Certified tier requires a channel partner to train at least one staff member on the platform and offers additional benefits, such as a dedicated channel manager and ongoing sales, marketing and training support. The Premier level, which requires at least two trained staff members, provides further benefits, such as access to top-tier support.

Williams said more than 2,400 partner companies have shown interest in the KnowBe4 platform. Out of that group, about two-thirds of the companies are actively working with KnowBe4, she added.

The KnowBe4 platform lets channel partners provide their customers with security-awareness training, which focuses on the detection and avoidance of ransomware, phishing and social engineering tactics, according to the company.

Williams said partners such as MSPs are attracted to the platform because it helps their customers stay in compliance with Payment Card Industry and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act mandates. Regulatory compliance frameworks call for ongoing security-awareness training, she noted.

KnowBe4's security-awareness-training offering is available through distributors Tech Data Corp. and Lifeboat Distribution, as well as direct marketing resellers.

InfoVista unveils channel initiative, SD-WAN tech

InfoVista, which provides application-aware SD-WAN products, introduced a global channel program. The program provides training, sales and marketing support, as well as financial incentives. A partner portal provides access to features, such as discounted demo kits, channel marketing materials, and sales and marketing enablement tools, according to InfoVista.

The company also launched IpanemaGO, a service management platform the company said eases the deployment of SD-WAN technology. According to InfoVista, IpanemaGo lets channel partners avoid upfront costs in startup infrastructure because the service management platform is cloud-based.

"From my experience ... deployments [prior to IpanemaGo] would require almost a cabinet full of equipment," noted Jose Delapaz, COO of GBH Communications, a telephony, video conferencing and unified communications solutions provider based in Monrovia, Calif.

In addition, previous projects would also call for specialized skills to deploy, support and manage, Delapaz said. InfoVista's technology, however, has lowered the cost of entry for customers, he added. GBH Communications has gained experience with IpanemaGo before its official debut, having begun working with the product in July.

Other news

Here's a look at other highlights from the week:

  • Networking vendor Extreme Networks Inc. updated the Extreme Partner Network with new incentives and programs for delivering ExtremeCloud. The new programs include the Cloud Specialization Program and the Cloud Managed Services Program to build and sell managed services around ExtremeCloud. The vendor also introduced the Ultimate Warrior Partner Incentive Program, which offers partners challenges to complete for prizes, as well as new deal registration programs. In addition, Extreme said it completed its buyout of Zebra Technologies' wireless LAN business.
  • Salesforce unveiled the Lightning Partner Community, a new platform that aims to help companies develop partner ecosystems. Using the platform, companies can connect with channel partners and provide them with sales tools. Features of the platform include integrated customer relationship management and Salesforce Einstein for Partner Community.
  • Qualys Inc., a cloud-based security and compliance vendor, integrated its Qualys Cloud Platform and Vulnerability Management network security product with the HPE managed security services portfolio. The integration aims to provide improved visibility in data centers and public and private clouds.

The Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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