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Chris Case, president and CEO of Sequel Data Systems, an HP enterprise partner headquartered in Austin, Texas, that sells the full HP product portfolio, said he expects the changes being made by HP's Parrottino to step up the pressure on Dell in the server business and Cisco in the networking market.
"When competing against Dell and Cisco it gets very price competitive," said Case. "HP needs to be price competitive, and we don't want to be penalized for that. That's the reality of the situation. Since we are focused on HP, we don't have the luxury of flipping and going to another vendor. I know other VARs have picked up other server and networking partners because they can make more money on those and they decided to go in that direction. We decided to stick with HP. It's refreshing to hear that they are going back to rewarding partners that sell the full portfolio."
Case said Parrottino's experience in the channel and within HP will be critical in getting the pricing, promotions and programs to drive stepped up HP enterprise sales. "He [Parrottino] has been around long enough to know what needs to be done," said Case.
Adam Shaffer, senior vice president of marketing for PCM, formerly PC Mall, a $1.5 billion IT solutions and services company headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., agreed. Parrottino, he said, is an "assertive and aggressive player. It can only benefit HP."
Shaffer also applauded HP's push to get partners to sell the full HP product portfolio. "We agree," he said. "That is our business to sell the full portfolio. You need a power player to push these things through so they don't take forever. Since he [Parrottino] knows how to navigate that company and he is well respected there, he will help make things happen quickly."
Shaffer chalked up the Parrottino appointment as just one more aggressive move by HP CEO Meg Whitman and team to "take action to be faster to market, faster to make decisions, more efficient and simple. Everything they are doing is about trying to simplify life for the channel."
The full portfolio solutions push harkens back to HP's channel strategy three years ago when the company reported that franchise partners deriving at least 70 percent of their sales from HP products were growing at a 50 percent clip compared with 18 percent for those not bringing a full HP solution to customers.
As to just what kind of challenges Parrottino will face in his new job, HP's DiFranco said the channel veteran has access to the business units, HP's robust supply chain planning organization and the company's competitive analysis organization to assure that he can get the job done. "We have made sure we have given him the assets he needs to be successful," he said. "We are going to become much better and much more agile and much more efficient in this transactional [enterprise volume product] space."
Once that is done, DiFranco said, the next order of business will be getting partners to "optimize" their product mix to sell the full HP portfolio. "What we have to do first is really get that engine tuned for what we do every day," he said. "Before we get into the concept of franchise resellers and selling across the portfolio, we have to get the engine right. That is the piece we want to focus on first."
So just how big a job does Parrottino now have within HP? "It is a huge task so I have selected the person I trust the most to get it done," said DiFranco.