Cisco-HP Conference Battle In Vegas Has Partners Feeling The Love


Compugen CEO Harry Zarek, who was in Las Vegas this week shuttling back and forth between the Hewlett-Packard Global Partner Conference at the MGM Grand and the Cisco Partner Summit down the road at the Venetian, doesn't want to hear any talk about a battle between the two technology superpowers.

"They are both great businesses, we are doing well with both companies," said Zarek, whose company is No. 58 on the CRN SP500 with $443 million in annual sales. "It's all about growth. Both businesses are popping. They both have their act together. They are both focused on the future. There is just a great business opportunity, and it is all going to happen with partners. Partners are the center of the universe. They are killing us with love."

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Zarek says the HP and Cisco grab for the business and technical acumen that solution providers bring to the boardroom in the cloud era shows that it's simply a great time to be in the IT services business.

"They are almost cousins, they are giving the same message," said Zarek, referring to the keynote sessions from HP CEO Meg Whitman and Cisco CEO John Chambers. "It is about business value. It is about making sure we understand our value. It is not about the product or product specs. Both of them are saying the same thing and ultimately customers will make the decision. They are both big organizations, both looking at the market and they are coming to the same conclusion."

Zarek's sanguine view of the dueling partner conferences, with Cisco stealing some of HP's thunder by announcing its own public cloud on the first day of the HP partner conference, is shared by a number of top partners who were jumping between the two conferences this week. But that does not mean all partners were happy about making the trips back and forth down the Las Vegas strip. "If they do this again, I'll kill them," said one senior executive for a national solution provider organization rushing from the HP conference to make an appointment at the Cisco conference. Another SP500 CEO said he had already spent $100 on cabs and it was only the first day of the conference. The conference schedule had significantly raised his cost of doing business, he said, because he had to bring twice as many staff members to Vegas to attend sessions at both events.

NEXT: An Awesome Technology Battle Benefitting Partners And Customers