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Hewlett-Packard has appointed a 24-year HP veteran to lead the charge on improving the company's pricing, promotions and programs aimed at getting more partners to sell the full HP product portfolio.
Mike Parrottino, who was previously vice president and general manager of Americas Channel Marketing/SMB, has been named to a new post -- vice president of enterprise group channels volume sales -- with the first order of business improving HP's ability to drive pricing, promotions and processes to increase "transactional" sales of the company's enterprise products.
That's an area where HP came up short in its second fiscal quarter ended April 30 with enterprise group sales down 10 percent to $6.8 billion compared with $7.5 billion in the year ago quarter in the wake of intense competition with Dell in the server market, Cisco in the networking market and EMC in the storage market.
Parrottino will report to Stephen DiFranco, vice president of HP's Enterprise Group Channel Organizations Americas.
DiFranco said the appointment is aimed in part at reinvigorating the HP charge to reward "franchise" partners -- those partners that sell the full HP product portfolio. "Mike [Parrottino] has the responsibility and authority to start to now take both our distributor/financial benefit programs and our PartnerOne [channel] programs and start to gear them to bring benefit when you go back into being a franchise reseller," said DiFranco in an interview with CRN. "For a lot of reasons we may have lost focus on that. We are going to bring that back."
DiFranco said it will be up to Parrottino to press the right levers to make sure those franchise partners are provided with aggressive incentives to sell the full HP portfolio. "We have not rewarded sufficiently or provided enough incentives to encourage VARs to buy across the portfolio," he said. "We should do that because it is the right thing to do."
The first order of business, however, will be focused on making sure the HP "engine" is "tuned" to drive more transactional sales of HP enterprise products including servers, networking and storage against tough competition from the likes of Dell, EMC and Cisco. In the server market, for example, HP lost share in the first quarter to Dell, according to market researcher Gartner. HP's storage business, meanwhile, was down 13 percent in its fiscal second quarter ended April 30 and its networking business was up just 1 percent.
HP has already made changes aimed at making sure the company is more price competitive in servers. For his part, Parrottino, who has already been meeting with HP's top distributors, pledged that HP will "become more aggressive and focused on some of the volume aspects of this [enterprise] business."
In fact, Parrottino said he is moving quickly to ensure HP has the right product "combinations" and incentives to assure that HP partners are driving a full HP solution rather than a "singular conversation around a single product.
"The fact remains that HP has the deepest product portfolio, services portfolio, software portfolio in the industry," added Parrottino in an interview with CRN. "We have got the depth and breadth to offer a world class experience both to our partners as well as our customers." That means looking closely at profitability for HP partners, he said.