XChange 2014: HP Urges Partners To Embrace 'New Style Of IT'

As the industry shifts toward what Hewlett-Packard has billed 'the new style of IT,' solution providers need to evolve their sales models to succeed in the long run, according to Chris Ogburn, vice president of worldwide channel marketing at HP.

"From a partner perspective, we think about how partners need to evolve into this new-style-of-IT model to match what IT leaders and CIOs are so desperately looking for," Ogburn told solution providers this week at the XChange 2014 event in San Antonio. "It is a great chance to truly be a value-added solution provider, maybe more so than in any other recent time in the industry."

In order to capitalize on this new style of IT -- which, according to Ogburn, is being driven by new consumption models and disruptive technologies such as cloud, big data and mobility -- solution providers need to move away from the pure resale model and, instead, focus on "the design, deployment and management of IT" to provide more flexibility to customers.

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What's more, Ogburn said, partners need to start selling solutions that are optimized for specific customer workloads.

"We are starting to see more and more customers look at workload-optimized solutions, where it's a preintegrated solution developed for companies with certain requirements or user sizes to quickly enable and deploy workloads -- much like what we are doing with converged systems around Vertica, or some of our partners like Microsoft and SAP," Ogburn said.

In addition, solution providers should be focusing their customer conversations more around the business outcomes technology will drive, rather than the technology itself.

"These IT leaders are looking for us to step away from product-oriented discussions," Ogburn told partners. "They want us to talk about solutions. They want us to talk about business outcomes, and they want us to talk about how we enable workflows, workloads and how we solve business problems."

Ogburn said there are four main trends shaping this new IT era: big data, cloud, mobility and security. He said 25 percent to 30 percent of server shipments will go to cloud service providers' data centers in 2014, a number expected to grow to 43 percent by 2017. Meanwhile, 45 percent of organizations will spend at least $500,000 on mobility solutions over the next 12 to 18 months.

Security, in addition, continues to be a top priority for organizations, Ogburn said, especially in light of recent high-profile breaches, like the one last year at retail giant Target. Ogburn said the average cost of a data breach for a company is $5.5 million and that smaller organizations, especially, can be "permanently impacted" by those attacks.

Dean Pehlke, CEO of PC Avenue, an Edgar, Wis.-based HP partner, said he "definitely" expects his HP sales to be up in 2014, with that growth coming largely from his HP security business.

"Banking and health care is our forte, so there are a lot of security practices," Pehlke said. "We're focused on penetration testing and [providing] a lot of education to customers' internal staff to make sure they are configuring things correctly. We are really trying to get in there and educate them."

Ogburn's message to partners at XChange echoed that of HP CEO Meg Whitman, who at the HP Partner Summit in March urged partners to choose HP as their primary partner in the new IT era.

"[Meg] recognizes that we cannot win in the marketplace without a healthy channel," Ogburn said.

HP has rolled out several partner resources and incentives to help them win in today's changing IT landscape. Ogburn, for example, pointed to HP Enterprise Sales Plays, a new package of tools, including play cards and white board videos aimed at helping partners talk about business objectives and outcomes with customers.

He also mentioned HP iQuote, a cloud-based service for accelerating the configuration and quoting process. Ogburn said around 3,000 HP partners are using iQuote today.

Lastly, Ogburn urged partners to take advantage of the Partner Internal Purchase Program (PIPP), which he said offers solution providers "very, very deep discounts" on HP products they want to use in their own organizations.

"We know that, as you use [HP technology], you become more familiar with it, your salespeople are more familiar with it, your customers get exposure to it, and the easier it is to sell," Ogburn said.