Streamlined channel effort designed to address challenges and opportunities of increasingly digital world
HP Inc. is consolidating its broad array of partner resources and training into a new streamlined channel program designed to enable partners to better address a rapidly evolving customer base that’s becoming more digital in how it researches and buys technology.
The Lowdown: The PC and printer giant on Wednesday unveiled Amplify, a simplified program built on a single integrated structure with two tracks that offer partners clear rules of the road around compensation and rewards commensurate with their investments.
The Details: Amplify is designed to give partners easier access to HP’s wide range of products and tools, enabling them to better meet the needs of organizations that are leveraging digital channels such as e-commerce sites, online marketplaces, and partner portals to buy technology for their ongoing digital transformation efforts. Transactional relationships are changing as well, with customers moving away from simply buying products and looking for a more contractual model.
HP is pulling together what had been a partner environment with multiple tiers, marketplaces, and programs for commercial, retail, and solution specialists into two tracks:
> Synergy: Aimed at most partners, it offers minimum entry requirements, standard benefits, a partner portal, and sales training, and gives partners access to specializations.
> Power: Built for partners that are willing to invest more in the program, it includes higher degrees of collaboration with HP, additional accelerators and capability rewards, access to HP’s managed services portfolio, and data-driven insights into customers and the market.
Foundational to the tracks are what HP officials are calling the three pillars:
> Performance: Partners will be rewarded on the basis of performance indicators that go beyond sales revenue to include investing in improving their digital skills, data-sharing, e-commerce, and service capabilities.
> Capabilities: Amplify leverages data analytics to give partners greater insights, allowing partners to become more competitive and relevant in the market as they invest in improving their capabilities.
> Collaboration: HP will work closely with partners to improve their digital skills and provide a more consistent customer experience across multiple channels.
There also are integrated, service-based print offerings that allow partners to deliver solutions around areas such as these:
> Remote fleet management: Includes solutions like HP Advance, HP Command Center, and HP Workpath.
> Enabling office workers: Solutions include touch-free printing, HP Roam, and HP Secure Print.
> Performing at home: These offerings include Instant Ink, with 7 million subscriptions worldwide.
Amplify will go into effect for commercial partners on Nov. 1 and for retail partners in the second half of 2021.
The Impact: HP officials said during a press briefing that they worked with partners as they developed the Amplify program over the past year, with the focus being on putting customers and their experiences at the center of the effort. Most of what customers do today is online, particularly now that millennials are becoming a driving force in decision-making at their companies. HP and its partners will have to increase their digital capabilities to essentially meet customers where they’re going — online. At the same time, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends, said Christoph Schell, HP’s chief commercial officer, during the briefing.
Through the Amplify program, HP is acknowledging the vendor’s role in helping partners improve their digital capabilities — through greater rewards and incentives, data analytics, and closer collaboration — to help them better serve these evolving clients. The simplified program also will give partners greater flexibility in how they work with customers to find the right products and services for their digital transformation efforts.
Background: HP continues to operate in markets that are seeing significant transitions. The PC space for years has been relatively stagnant, with companies keeping hold of their systems for longer periods of time and business users leveraging a variety of devices along with PCs for their work, such as smartphones and tablets. The printer market also has been under strain for the past several years as companies have begun shifting to digital documents. That was a driving force behind Xerox’s unsuccessful bid to buy HP for as much as $34 billion, an effort that ended in early spring because of the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Buzz: “Usually when we talk about the channel program, we put the channel partner at the center of the program,” said Luciana Broggi, global head of route-to-market for HP. “We really are to the point, together with our channel partners, with the customer at the center, because whatever we do, whatever we put in place in the ecosystem we create, has as an ultimate goal the possibility to deliver another capability, to deliver the best possible customer experience.”
“It’s amazing to see how much of the customer journey has started to move online,” Schell said. “And I’m not just talking about purchasing decisions that are being made online, but actually defining products and services needs and getting knowledgeable about these needs — defining outcomes that they want to have. What you see happening is that our program is addressing the need for us to map the journey that we will have our customers take in the future together with our partners. The partners are an integral part of this.”
“Customers are not interested in speeds and feeds. They’re more interested in technologies that make their businesses operate better and more profitably whilst simultaneously delivering better experiences for their users,” said James Hardy, deputy managing director at CCS Media Officer, an HP partner.