Page 5 of 6
7: He Is A Good Listener
Nearly all the partners who have spent some time with Apotheker praise him for being a good listener. That could be critical as he moves to make changes at HP based on partner feedback.
"Sometimes you meet with a CEO and they kind of like to talk and listen to themselves. They will tell you everything and almost not allow you to ask a question," said Mark Romanowski, executive vice president at ASI System Integration, one of HP's top enterprise partners. Romanowski, a 35-year IT industry veteran, has met with nearly all of the top CEOs over the years. "Leo is different. He wants to hear what you have to say. He wants to have a conversation."
Romanowski said he appreciated Hurd's channel savvy, but he sees Apotheker charting an "extremely channel-friendly" course that will bring partners more software and services revenue. "He looked me in the eye and said, 'I can't do this alone. You are critical to our success moving forward. And the potential that we have together is huge,' " said Romanowski.
"Mark was an operational genius who came in and was able to cut costs and streamline the supply chain," said Romanowski. "But he also created the silos [within HP]. His successor is a visionary, a creative thinker who wants to grow the business, and invent and develop new things. What I like is he is saying, 'Let's do it with partners and the channel.' "
New York-based ASI, which has one of the largest technology services organizations in the Northeast, has always been an extremely services-oriented solution provider, but it intends to move even faster into software and services over the next several years. "Our software and services vision is very much in line with Leo's vision," said Romanowski. "We want to grow that business exponentially. That drives technology sales, customer retention and customer loyalty."
8: He Has Carried A Bag
One of the hallmarks of the Hurd era at HP was an aggressive HP executive account engagement strategy that put Hurd and his top lieutenants into the field with partners to win business. Apotheker, a self-described "sales guy at heart," said he will also do what it takes to help partners win in the field. "I carried a bag," he said. "So I sympathize with these people. So they can call. And I told them that in all our meetings. Here is my number. Here is my e-mail. If you need help, call. So we will do whatever we need to do to help these guys sell."
Kavanaugh said that Apotheker's sales and technology acumen should bode well for World Wide Technology. He said his company's HP sales have grown 20 percent over the past couple of years and he expects that sales growth will continue under Apotheker. "I feel very comfortable with the direction Leo gave with regard to his focus on continuing to invest in partner relationships and building out cloud infrastructures, private, public and hybrid," said Kavanaugh, who met with Apotheker earlier this year.
Kavanaugh said he is excited by the prospect of the cloud computing opportunity being even bigger than the dot-com explosion a decade ago. "The changes that we are going to see in the next two to three years will be pretty significant," he said.