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Seidl says that HP is finding success with CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs who want choice, but finding objections from Cisco "tree huggers" who have built a career managing Cisco networks.
At a recent large customer meeting, Seidl said the CFO, CIO and senior leadership technology leadership staff were "all fine with aggressively trying to get off Cisco and they felt they had enough power or control to help the tree huggers get their fingers off the trees."
Seidl, in fact, says top management at key accounts are 100 percent of the time excited to see a Cisco alternative. And, he says, "80 to 90 percent" are happy to see us be "aggressive to see what we can do to help."
Seidl compares the "FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that Cisco like to spread in the networking market to maintain its stronghold to the same kind of tactics that IBM used 20-30 years ago in an attempt to at the time maintain its exorbitant mainframe revenue margins.
The big issue for partners selling HP networking versus Cisco networking solutions is the substantial increase in profitability that will come with the HP networking solutions, promises Seidl.
"It's a lot," says Seidl of the increased margins that partners will get by teaming with HP over Cisco. "The margin they get off Cisco is not as much as what our value proposition is. We have a stronger value proposition relative to the margins they can get. And we have a more mature, disciplined channel."
"If you are going to invest and work with us on large deals and opportunities, we have specific programs like Value Big Deals, Value Express where we are going to co-invest with partners," he says. "So per deal, they will make more money. And they will have a better chance of the deal actually happening."
It's all about "more margin per deal and a better (sales) hit rate," says Seidl.
Seidl won't talk specifically about how many deals HP is closing in the head to head battle against Cisco. But he says that it is "improving" even as the HP legacy sales team and partners get ramped up on the 3Com products.
Seidl is on a tear to make sure that HP and its partners are showing up and being more aggressive in each and every networking solutions opportunity. He says the biggest challenge HP faces lies not with products or solutions but rather with "executing on the sales side." He says the key for HP and its partners is showing up "earlier and faster" to compete for the business.
Bob Venero, the president and CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holbrook, N.Y. VAR 500 power who opted to attend the HP conference rather than the Cisco partner conference, said Cisco should be concerned now that HP is getting aggressive in the networking market. "Is HP going to shut their business down? No," he said. "Is HP going to take a piece of that Cisco business? I think so. Just by default, people look for options."
As for HP networking sales growth, Seidl is confident. "We'd love it to be 100 percent HP networking everywhere," he said. "But if we get bread crumbs everywhere, we will have phenomenal growth."