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Hurd's First Move

Hewlett-Packard President and CEO Mark Hurd last week in his first public message to partners made a clear distinction between those that sell a broad HP solution demonstrating a high attach rate and those that go to market in a spotty manner with HP.

“What we don&'t like are the partners that lead with the HP brand and then hollow out the HP product and replace it with other content,” said Hurd. “That is not what we call a true partnership. So you are going to see us investing more energy in those partners that really line up behind HP and with HP, and within that respect, we are going to be highly energized.”

Can be reached at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

Clearly, Hurd&'s comments are a big win for the strong and loyal stable of HP partners who have been prospering through a PartnerOne program already ripe with incentives for partners that commit more sales time, energy and resources to HP. The big question now is, just how many partners HP will go broad and deep with as the vendor aligns those partners with HP&'s direct-sales force in both the enterprise and SMB segments?

Hurd says cutting partners is not the aim of the new channel drumbeat. “Our real objective isn&'t to cut partners,” he said. “That is not how we go at it. It is to really focus on the strategy by partner and to make sure we have the right alignment of what the partner is doing and what HP is doing so that we maximize the HP content as we go to market. If we could get that right with every partner, we&'d frankly keep the same number of partners.”

That said, the first sign of just how deep HP will go with this effort is a new initiative to improve the integration of valuable, value-oriented partners with the Technology Solutions Group&'s Value Sales Organization. That move, effective Nov. 1, will affect fewer than 100 partners in the United States. So how does this tightly focused strategy play out for the thousands of HP VARs in the SMB market? And when does the HP direct-sales force lead the charge vs. the channel? Will there be new compensation models and rules of engagement?

Right now, partners feel plenty of angst and conflict in the sales trenches each and every day. Hurd has made his first channel stand. Now the channel awaits his next move. That action could determine the fate of thousands of solution providers that have built healthy businesses over the years partnering with HP.

What do you think of Hurd&'s first partner move? Let me know at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

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