New tools to promote as-a-service platform come as tech giant names new head of worldwide channel sales
The Lowdown: The partner enhancements to one of HPE’s key strategic programs came the same week that the company announced that George Hope, who came to the company in 2017 when HPE bought hyperconverged infrastructure software vendor SimpliVity, will now lead its channel business.
The Details: At its virtual HPE Distribution Partner Conference, HPE introduced enhancements to its channel program to give distributors and service providers more tools to sell GreenLake to their smaller customers. GreenLake was introduced in 2018 to give customers a way to consume data center technology as a service and create a cloud-like environment at their on-premises sites. It’s become a foundational component of HPE’s efforts to become more of a solution, software, and service vendor and key to its plans to sell its entire portfolio as a service by 2022.
The company sees the channel as a crucial part of expanding GreenLake’s presence in the market. Now the company wants to more easily include SMBs and midmarket customers in that expansion. The partner program enhancements include:
> Smaller starting capacity: HPE partners can offer GreenLake cloud services with options aimed at SMBs, with starting prices as low as $70,000. Distributors can expand their addressable market and HPE will continue offering a 17% reseller rebate.
> Specialist support: Starting in fiscal-year 2021, HPE will include GreenLake specialists and dedicated enablement initiatives to support partners, such as workshops with experts. Partners also will be able to speak with HPE “Storage Rangers” – technically savvy selling experts focused on outcome-based solutions who can help with the request-for-quotation (RFQ) process.
> SMB FlexOffers program: Distributors and service providers will be able to customize their built-to-order products to address unique customer and market needs, including selecting preferred units and options to ensure the best price.
> Partner onboarding: Distributors now are the key point of contact for newly onboarded partners as a way of facilitating additional selling opportunities for distributors that can support solution providers in their work with HPE.
> HPE Pro Series: Starting in fiscal-year 2021, partners can earn HPE sales certifications through the virtual HPE Sales Pro Learning Center. In addition, partners have new options in HPE’s Demo Program for showing HPE solutions virtually, at customer locations or in their own offices.
The Impact: HPE is not the only top-tier tech vendor moving to an as-a-service model. Others like Cisco and Dell Technologies also are shifting strategies in that direction, which gives partners more incentive to grow their skills in this area, including when dealing with SMB customers.
Background: Hope brings more than two decades of channel experience to his new role as worldwide head of partner sales for HPE. Along with his three years with SimpliVity and subsequent three years with HPE, Hope also spent almost 17 years with EMC, where he moved up the ranks to become senior director of the global channel for the company’s Isilon Division.
Hope takes over the position after Paul Hunter, who was in the job for almost three years, was named in August to run HPE’s North America business.
The Buzz: “The initiatives we’re announcing today stem from key partner feedback and aim to better enable distributors and all of our channel partners to monetize their as-a-service strategy,” Hope said of the enhancements around GreenLake. “We see our distribution partners not as an extended sales force, but rather as team members. As HPE advances along our journey to becoming an edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company, we see an opportunity for our distributors to strengthen relationships with our shared partners and become their trusted advisors, helping them embrace and accelerate HPE’s as-a-service business.”