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Sometimes when you talk to the very small partners and I think Mark Hurd has said it, that HP’s scope is one of its great assets, obviously, but it also means that HP does so much, has so much breadth and scope across business units that it can be difficult to deal with one single point of contact. And maybe the smaller partners have trouble with that. Is there anything that can be done to make it simpler to work with HP?
MK: Yes, that’s one of the fundamental focuses of the council and with this new rotation we’ve announced today, it accomplishes a couple things. First of all, it accomplishes what Romi wanted, which is let’s make sure we get each view represented. So we’ve got printer guys, we’ve got laptop and desktop guys, we’ve got server-storage, and we’ve got guys who specialize in services and all this stuff.
But we also brought on some very small partners with small amounts of revenue, not doing a lot of business with HP, specifically for this very reason. We’ve got these large integrated partners of HP that have been with us for years, who are loyal like Romi, who helped us with our more strategic plays.
Now we have some of these smaller partners who are coming in and being able to say, “This is what I find difficult about working with you, here is where I would love to see something happen with HP.” So I think we’ve made tremendous progress in terms of the last 12 months and how we’re trying to dig deeper into that lower part of the partner channel.
At APC we had members of the Advisory Council speaking to other partners and trickling that message down. And we’re also heavily leveraging some of the distributor networks to go out and proliferate our message that way. Like you mentioned, we are a very large company and we have a lot of different programs and practices, so it is hard to get to that long tail of the channel, but it’s absolutely a very strategic focus for us to be able to get to that long tail and make sure they know what programs we can offer them.
Well, it seems like the smaller partners might be able to recognize that part of their value-add to their customers is that they can run interference for HP and bring it all together.
Here’s a question for Paul -- it always must be a dilemma, where your company is moving towards or has moved towards being as you’ve said an all-HP shop, and there’s great benefit in that in terms of simplicity, but at the same time, there’s always a desire to keep your eyes open for other vendors who might have a better offer. How do you keep that balance as you assess technology and procure it and do what you do?
Paul Morris: Sure. We ended up being almost exclusively HP by accident. When we looked at the different options for storage, for servers, for desktops, in each of those instances, we looked at all the technologies that were out there. And individually, it made sense for us to go with the HP solution, technically, strategically and from a cost perspective.