HPE Partners: George Hope’s Channel Leadership Will Be ‘Missed’
‘During our everything-as-a-service transformation there were several times I reached out personally to George Hope for his support to help us execute,’ says Advizex President C.R. Howdyshell. ‘George always responded and went above and beyond to help Advizex.’
When Advizex needed help in the sales trenches to drive its HPE GreenLake sales offensive forward, Advizex President C.R. Howdyshell knew he could count on former HPE Global Channel Chief George Hope.
“During our everything-as-a-service transformation there were several times I reached out personally to George Hope for his support to help us execute,” said Howdyshell, a member of HPE’s worldwide partner advisory board. “George always responded and went above and beyond to help Advizex.”
Howdyshell is one of a number of HPE partners that said Hope, who is leaving HPE effective Jan. 31 to pursue new opportunities, will be missed.
“I was surprised by the announcement that George was leaving HPE,” said Howdyshell, who has transformed Advizex, No. 104 on the 2022 CRN Solution Provider 500, into an everything-as-a-service powerhouse. “I have an excellent working relationship with George from his time at HPE and during his time at EMC and Simplivity. George has always been a forward thinker who is committed to the channel. I have a lot of respect for George. He will be greatly missed.”
The departure of Hope, who was named by CRN the No. 1 most influential sales leader of 2021 and No. 2 in 2022, and HPE Vice President of Partner Ecosystem Maurice Martin, sets the stage for the appointment of a new worldwide channels and ecosystems leader in the next several months.
The change comes with HPE moving aggressively to grow its partner ecosystem by combining the Worldwide Channels & Ecosystem and HPE GreenLake Partner Ecoystems teams under one leader.
Howdyshell, for his part, said he is looking forward to meeting with and working closely with HPE’s yet-to-be announced new channel leader.
“I am looking forward to meeting the new channel leader,” he said. “If you are going to execute on the everything-as-a-service strategy, it is about selecting the right channel leader. I am confident HPE and [HPE CEO] Antonio Neri will continue to double down on the channel.”
Howdyshell said he remains impressed with HPE’s GreenLake everything-as-a-service channel prowess and commitment. Advizex’s GreenLake sales and services were up 23 percent in 2022, and Advizex expects another year of double-digit GreenLake growth in 2022, he said.
HPE Senior Vice President of Global Partner Sales Gilles Thiebaut, who oversees global partner ecosystem sales, praised Hope for simplifying the HPE GreenLake sales model and for unveiling HPE’s landmark Partner Ready Vantage ecosystem program last June.
The changing of the channel guard at HPE comes with Thiebaut leading the charge to accelerate the GreenLake Partner Ready Vantage ecosystem charge.
“With GreenLake we are the leader in the as-a-service transformation in the partner ecosystem and the channel,” Thiebaut told CRN. “With the announcement of the Partner Ready Vantage ecosystem program at Discover in Las Vegas last June, we took the lead in defining a channel program to help our partners transform. We want to continue that.”
The new Partner Ready Vantage program—HPE’s first everything-as-a-service program that unites both HPE and HPE Aruba edge offerings—includes the full range of GreenLake partners, from influencers that do not want to sell hardware to born-in-the-cloud providers to ISVs and even traditional partners that evolve to provide their own powered-by-GreenLake services.
The new Partner Ready Vantage program—which is designed to address all business models—features three primary tracks: build, sell and service. Each of those tracks features Centers of Expertise, based on Aruba’s Centers of Expertise model.
Scott Dunsire, the CEO of Melillo Consulting, No. 209 on the 2022 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Hope was a “trusted” advocate for partners who will be “missed” in the channel sales trenches.
“George was someone with a tremendous amount of channel experience who knew how to get things done,” he said. “He was a trusted advisor for partners with a great understanding of the channel landscape. The relationships that he built over many years with partners are going to be hard to replace.”
Dunsire said he is looking forward to seeing where Hope lands to continue the strong working relationship he had built over many years with Hope.
Dunsire said Thibaut and HPE Vice President of Worldwide Distribution Simon Ewington, a 27-year veteran of HPE and HP who is now interim head of the combined HPE Partner Ecosystem, are both highly respected advocates for channel partners. “I’m looking forward to working Gilles and Simon,” he said. “They both have a great understanding of the channel, a passion for partners and a lot of experience in the channel.”
Pat O’Dell, general manager and managing partner for Clinton, N.J.-based CPP Associates, one of the top GreenLake partners, said Hope was a strong channel advocate who will be missed.
“We have strong channel advocacy in North America, but George was the advocate and voice of the channel from the [HPE] corporate and global perspective,” said O’Dell. “George understood the challenges that partners face. He was a positive force for partners.”
CPP’s GreenLake sales were up triple digits in 2022 and the company’s pipeline is strong, with expectations for at least double digit growth in 2023, said O’Dell.
“GreenLake has matured over the last several years, and it is now part of every client conversation that we have,” he said. “There is no doubt that George Hope’s leadership helped propel GreenLake forward. His advocacy for Partners and GreenLake will be missed.”
Rob Schaeffer, president of CBT, a top HPE enterprise partner that has received wide acclaim for its Refinery of the Future solution, said he was sorry to see Hope leave but he is confident in the strong channel leadership of HPE North America Channel Chief Phil Soper.
“George is a friend of the channel and a talented channel executive,” said Schaeffer. “I have known George since our EMC days decades ago. On a personal level, I was surprised and sorry to hear about him moving on. But that is a worldwide job. In North America we have Phil Soper as a strong channel advocate. Phil is a seasoned channel leader with strong channel-specific experience and knowledge. He knows the channel audience well and is having a big impact in the field.”
Schaeffer said he is “bullish” about the HPE GreenLake opportunity and has robust growth expectations for 2023. “We have had good success with GreenLake,” he said. “HPE is a cloud company with an on-premises cloud. It’s not just a hyperscalar public cloud world. It is a hybrid world, and HPE GreenLake is the industry leader in hybrid cloud. With GreenLake you can have an on-premises managed hybrid cloud that works closely with pubic cloud. HPE is the only company on the planet that can do that.”