VARs Rejoice: HP Delays PRI Program Actions

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Hewlett-Packard is delaying any action regarding solution providers' Authorized Service Provider status as it relates to low scores in the company's Penetration Rate Index program, according to a letter from HP.

Stephen DiFranco, vice president and general manager of HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization, sent an e-mail sent Wednesday afternoon to a small group of solution providers explaining that HP won't take any action until it examines the PRI program further.

"We have been working with partners to address questions and concerns that have come our way. As with any new program, there is a period of learning and adjustment -- both for HP and partners -- to gain a better understanding of the program and how it can achieve its intended goals and benefits for everyone," wrote DiFranco. "We have heard that PRI can be too complicated to understand, too time intensive to manage and too black-and-white on exceptions. We are working to address these concerns."

The PRI program was initiated last November as a means to get solution providers to sell more HP-branded services. Under the program, solution providers had to sell HP-branded services at 75 percent of the average HP partner or risk losing their authorized service provider status. Many partners felt the design of the program made it difficult for them to sell their own services and that it did not properly account for opportunities, such as RFPs, where it is difficult to include services.

"Based on your input, we have made a decision to delay any impact to partners’ Authorized Service Provider (ASP) status due to low PRI scores," DiFranco wrote in the e-mail. "It is important for everyone to understand that partners who sell $50K of hardware and $10K of services will not lose their services authorization in the near term, regardless of their current PRI score. Rather, HP plans to work with these partners to help them move their PRI scores up. Those who succeed in increasing their scores will continue to be a part of this valuable program."

HP's response was received as good news from some VARs.

"It's a good thing. It shows that HP is taking this seriously," said Gary Ellis, president of BPI Information Systems, a Brecksville, Ohio-based solution provider. "It seems like [DiFranco] is going to figure this mess out and not less this destroy top revenue [for HP] because of it."

Rick Chernick, president of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wis.-based solution provider who was given an extension to meet the services index quota, said he views the letter as a “victory” for partners. The letter from DiFranco shows that HP Is not going to "destroy what they have worked so very hard to build which is loyalty among the resellers. The last thing this program was designed to do was to alienate us," DiFranco said.

Chernick said he is optimistic that HP will make changes to the program aimed at "paying those resellers that wish to sell services handsomely, but not cutting off the services arm that cares for the customer base."


Next: Program Not Going Away

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