HP To Launch Networking-Specific Channel Program

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Hewlett Packard is planning a new channel program specifically for its networking solution providers, part of what HP Networking's top executive is calling stepped-up investment by HP toward aggressively growing its networking channel.

"We have some things coming that are going to be very positive for our channel partners," said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking, in an interview with CRN at Interop New York this week. "We've carved out a segment of [HP channel program] PartnerONE just for HP Networking partners."

Mayer, who was officially named to head HP Networking this week after holding the title on an interim basis since May, declined to offer specific details on the program.

She said, however, that it will roll out in about four months and include training and channel incentives tailored for solution providers that sell HP Networking. It'll be open to all HP partners that sell networking, Mayer said, with a particular emphasis on HP's growing community of networking-only partners.

"We've spent time looking at how they go to market, how do they position products, what type of customers they should go after," Mayer said. "We have a lot of HP Networking partners that are networking-only and have a very specific focus, so we want to make sure they get all the same advantages we offer in other areas, so that they stay with us and continue to sell networking for HP."

Mayer replaced former HP Networking chief Marius Haas in May. Around that same time, she said, she began meeting with HP Networking partners to hear about what HP could do to build out its networking channel resources.

In recent weeks, Mayer said she has sought to assure HP solution providers that HP Networking's focus won't change even with Meg Whitman's ascent as HP CEO and much upheaval in HP's top executive ranks.

"HP Networking stays exactly the same," Mayer said. "It's very important, and critical to HP. HP wants to continue to be in the world of high-value networking. We believe the industry in networking needs a change, and HP is the company that can do that."

John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing at Denali Advanced Integration, a top HP partner based in Redmond, Wash., described HP Networking as among the richest parts of PartnerONE thanks to the level of investment and attention paid by HP to growing it. A number of HP's strategic partners, including Denali, have been informed of Mayer's goals for HP Networking and the partner program, he said.

"I've known Bethany and I'm really pleased to see her take the leadership role permanently on the networking side," Convery said. "They're doing the blocking and tackling here to drive partner behavior."

Convery said HP is continuing to encourage certifications and specific expertise. Denali carries, and is certified on, all of HP's portfolio, from networking to storage to managed print. Denali is an HP Elite Networking Partner and recently hired Brian Feeney, formerly a partner business manager for HP Networking, to run Denali's HP Networking practice.

Networking has been one of HP's most impressive growth stories, Convery said.

"Their guns are loaded, and they're hunting for bear," he said. "They can hold their own now with anybody, including Cisco."

Next: HP A Fiercer Cisco Competitor

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