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3: He Hates The Term "Emerging Markets"
Look for HP to be much more active in fast-growth global markets under Apotheker, who is fluent in five languages (English, Dutch, French, German and Hebrew). But don't call them "emerging markets."
"I have a real issue with the term 'emerging markets,' " he said. "It is hard to qualify a country that has a 4,000-year history as 'emerging,' " he said. "It is not like they kind of popped out of the ocean."
Apotheker said HP is already "pretty active" in fast-growth global markets but wants to be "way more active." In fact, Apotheker said, HP will be working to make channel partners "an even more integral part of our strategy in building up these fast-growth markets."
Apotheker is making frequent trips to fast-growth markets around world and always meets with partners. He recently was in India and met with a wide cross-section of solution providers. "I try to reach out to them all because they have a very important role to play in helping us be a much better company in these markets," he said, noting that the meetings provide a critical "feedback mechanism back to HP, telling us what we should do better and how we should align better so that we can actually cover these markets in a stronger way."
John Edwardson, chairman and CEO of CDW, an $8.80 billion solution provider behemoth, said of Apotheker: "I think one of the things I like best is he is going to bring a global perspective to HP," noting that such a perspective will be key in ensuring that HP--as the largest provider of IT products--remains healthy and vibrant. HP is CDW's largest partner, accounting for about $2.64 billion, or 30 percent, of Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW's business. "We are just a North American company," Edwardson said. "But this industry is a global industry. He really is a man of the world. I think he is comfortable moving around the world and doing business around the world. You don't meet many people that are fluent in five languages. That tells you a lot about his intellect."
To the all-important question of whether the new CEO is up to the Herculean task of running the world's largest information technology company, Edwardson replied: "The answer is yes. And very well."
4: He Is Advising Partners To Change Their Business Model
Apotheker sees cloud computing as a "great opportunity" for HP partners. But, he said, it won't happen without partners adjusting their business models. "If they have an on-premise business model that is only based on servicing yesterday's world, they are going to have a problem," said Apotheker. "Not because I want to cause them a problem, but because the market is going to move away from them."
Apotheker said the cloud era demands that solution providers migrate to a more services-based business model. "My advice for channel partners [that I have met] was: 'Guys, look at your business model, look at the value-add that you provide, see how you can scale this with the help of the cloud. Because if you don't then you are going to end up doing maintenance and not future business. It might take 10 years. It might take five years. It might take three years,' " he said.
"They should change their business model so they work with the customer of the future, not with the HP of the future," he explained. "Both HP and the channel partner would like to service the customer. At the end of the day, it is a customer-centric world out there, not an HP-centric world out there. And I think they have to adjust to that. So what are the major things happening? Talk about mobility, talk about the cloud, talk about all of these various intersection points. That is where the future for our channel partners needs to slowly and gradually move toward. Because at the end of the day, that is what the world will want from them. They should sell what customers want to buy."