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Another industry analyst, Annex Research principal Bob Djurdjevic, took a much more negative view of HP’s billion-dollar investment pledge, going so far as to call it a “red herring” to “cover for the cutback of 9,000 jobs.”
“This is an EDS-related job reduction,” the analyst said, adding, “HP competitors like IBM and Accenture have already been doing [automated, consolidated data center services], not just talking about it, but doing it for years.”
But most solution providers were much more optimistic than Djurdjevic about HP’s strategic sense, if cautiously so.
Partners shouldn’t read too much into HP’s proposed shakeup of its Enterprise Services operations, said Dave Butler, president of Enterprise Computing Solutions, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider and HP partner.
“My impression is, this is not a new opportunity or a declining opportunity for us to work with HP,” Butler said. “It’s more of a consolidation in organizations.”
HP currently has two services organizations, Butler said. These include Technical Services (TS), which includes things like break-fix and support, and Enterprise Services (ES), which includes managed services and outsourcing. HP’s TS arm has traditionally been more involved in working with partners, while ES has worked with partners on a deal-by-deal basis, he said.
Butler confirmed other partners’ accounts about the effort HP made at the Americas Partner Conference to strategize with partners about getting more involved in services. This week’s big consolidation news won’t impact partners right away, he said, but it could in the future.
“This is more about how HP brings in EDS,” he said. “Now the question is how to get partners more involved. With EDS, the opportunity to work with ES could be even bigger than it is now with TS.”
HP has not really reached out to its partner base in terms of how to work with the vendor on offering cloud services, but the opportunity is there, Butler said.
“A lot of companies with private label services are coming to market working with partners,” he said. “HP needs to be competitive with them. Maybe HP margins will be lower, but it does have the ‘HP’ brand. The company would have to make sure the brand has value. If it does, I don’t mind a smaller margin.”
Joe Burke, vice president of worldwide services for Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, said cloud computing vendors and the distribution channel were a natural fit.
“It looked to me like they were mainly talking more about integrating EDS, taking bigger steps to get more operationally efficient,” Burke said of this week’s HP announcement. “There was some mention about a greater cloud and a greater service offering as the market changes the way IT delivery takes place.
“When it comes to cloud providers, I believe they’ll have different routes to market. I firmly believe that distribution can be one of their routes to market, for reach and for economics, delivery, logistics and capability.
"It reminds me of when the Internet took off and everyone assumed it would dis-intermediate distribution. That’s not going to happen. Cloud services will have different routes to market, just like hardware or software or anything else.”