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Partners said just as important as the more predictable revenue and competency-driven medallion program is the simplicity being driven by HP in the new PartnerOne program with fewer certification requirements and a single worldwide global program. In fact, they said the fewer certifications and reduced paperwork requirements that come with PartnerOne will significantly lower vendor management costs associated with HP.
"I have been watching HP's channel partner program for 20 years, and historically the issue hasn't been not putting enough money on the table; it's that they have made the money too hard to find and collect by virtue of administrative burdens of the program," said Cyndi Privett, a principal for Viewpoint Research, a Scotts Valley, Calif., channel program research company. "The most impactful and important changes of the program are almost less about the actual incremental dollars but more about making it simpler and easier for partners. They have made PartnerOne much more transparent. You no longer have to have an MBA in PartnerOne to leverage the program. There is a real opportunity here to drive sales behavior with the partner dollars they are putting on the table."
In the enterprise group alone, HP's certifications will be reduced from 42 to 22. In HP's server line alone, certification will be reduced from 10 to three.
The single, unified global program, meanwhile, will also make it significantly easier for larger HP partners selling around the world. Between the enterprise group and printing and personal systems, HP had 18 different partner programs in different countries. That means partners selling cross-border for the first time will be able to benefit from a single PartnerOne compensation model.
Brandon Harris, vice president of HP solutions for Logicalis, a $1.4 billion IT services giant ranked No. 29 on the SP500, said HP's drive to simplify and streamline PartnerOne will make it easier to do business with the computer giant. He said HP under Whitman's leadership is "making all the right changes" to drive sales growth in 2014.
"I think they are going to make significant progress going into next year," he said. "From a partner perspective, Meg [Whitman] is sending all the right messages, and it is trickling down into the organization. The whole attitude and behavior in the field is dramatically different. Meg has made it clear HP needs to engage and invest in the channel, and she is holding people accountable to how HP is interacting with channel partners."
As HP implements sweeping new PartnerOne changes set for Nov. 1, the company holds a significant profitability advantage over competitors, said Harris. "HP has the upper hand," he said. "There are some radical differences between PartnerOne and the other vendor programs. PartnerOne is the most lucrative program in the industry. If you look at the pure profitability of the relationship, you have to give HP credit for being at the top of the rung where partners make money."