New programs more aligned with partners’ go to market, solution provider says

By: Scharon Harding

HP’s new partner programs highlight customer needs instead of the previous focus of pushing products, according to Al Chien, EVP of HP partner Dasher Technologies.

On 7 October, HP announced two partner programs that will replace its Partner One program when the company splits into HP Inc., focusing on printers and personal computing, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, dedicated to hardware and services, on 1 November. Partner First will accompany the former, while the latter will have the Partner Ready Program.

According to Chien, both programs have a deeper focus on selling solutions, which is how Dasher goes to market, he said.

“We’re not looking to sell piece parts, but looking to solve problems and have the best customer outcomes,” he told Channelnomics. “I think the new programs are directed in that direction. If you look at the way HP’s now structured their transformational areas, it is more customer-centric rather than HP product-centric.”

Chien said this customer-centric approach is beneficial for partners who view the world through their customers’ lenses and hope to target their best interests.

This differs than HP’s previous approach, he added.

“In the past, HP has definitely been much more about how do I sell [products] and less interested about the customer outcome. I think most manufacturers operate that way,” Chien explained. “It is the solution provider or VAR’s responsibility to look out for the customer’s best interest. So the fact that HP is now tailoring its program in that direction is an indication that there’s a realization that we need to be much more customer sensitive.”

Vincent Brissot, VP of worldwide channel marketing, printing and personal systems, Hewlett-Packard, also highlighted the shift from products, especially within HP Inc.’s Partner First solution track.

“We are gradually moving away from the product specialization, focusing toward solution-oriented aspects that resonate much more with our customers…and getting much more advanced into verticals and the way a customer is looking at the partner,” he toldChannelnomics. “It’s not an HP inside out view. It’s a customer outside in approach that we’re taking on the solution track.”

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Partner Ready program does not introduce any radical changes because partners are already challenged by changes brought by the split itself, according to Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing, PartnerOne Strategy, Hewlett-Packard.

“We wanted to keep as many other things stable,” he toldChannelnomics. “Right now we wanted to keep it as familiar as possible so it doesn’t create additional uncertainty and predictability.”

Over the next year or two, the program will see a “significant” focus on truly aligning the program across the Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Eitenbichler added.

And for partners nervous about HP splitting, Brissot said they can be assured the two entities will work together where possible, such as in security.

“Whenever it makes sense, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise team up to make your life easier at the end of the day,” he said.