HP: We're Doubling Down On Channel Investments

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Adrian Jones didn't sugarcoat the challenges faced by VARs and solution providers in the past year, but the boss of Hewlett-Packard's Americas Solution Partners Organization used the XChange spotlight this week to remind partners that HP has doubled down on its channel investments during the economic downturn -- literally.

"We feel partners need more investment in tough times," said Jones, describing an increase in MDF funds for HP's partner channel so far in 2009, following a year in which the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computing giant spent a record $550 million on marketing and development support for HP PartnerONE resellers.

Jones built his World Premier keynote around the key numbers that make HP and its partner organization tick. "For us, it's all about numbers," he said, throwing out data points like the 40 strategic account flips from HP competitors that one HP partner has pulled off in the past year, and the $7 million in new business another partner brought in following a three-hour roundtable with several CIOs and HP CEO Mark Hurd.

One number that stood out from the rest? How about HP's recent tripling of benefits for partners selling ProCurve networking solutions into enemy territory? It's no secret that HP is gunning for Cisco on the network's edge and clearly Jones and his team are sweetening the pot considerably for partners prepared to pitch in on the effort.

The fact is, with a few exceptions like ProCurve, there really aren't that many HP product categories that have the vendor looking up at somebody bigger.

"We have 19 product categories at HP and we lead in 14 of those. We want to lead in all 19, but we cannot do that without the channel," Jones said.

"How do we get to be No. 1 in the markets we serve every day? How do we help you deliver the right tools, the right portfolio of products to go sell HP every day? For us, it's about real support, from the leadership of the company all the way down."

And what about the economy? HP announced earnings Tuesday and for a third straight quarter showed signs of recession-driven damage to the company's overall numbers. But Jones said his company will be ready for the recovery, which could come sooner than some think.

"Despite what the press says, we feel pretty good about the stabilization of the markets."

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