HP's Whitman: Channel Key As HP Splits To Speed Customer Transformation

Hewlett-Packard's pending split into two companies means huge opportunities for channel partners who can help customers navigate to what HP calls the new style of IT, and the channel is the primary means for ensuring HP's separation will succeed.

That's the message from Meg Whitman, chairman, president and CEO of HP, as she Monday officially opened the HP Global Partner Conference to a packed audience of about 2,000 of the company's top solution providers.

The theme of the conference is accelerating growth, which is something HP and its partners can achieve together, Whitman said. "You're the team on the front line serving our customers every day," she said. "We know you are the face of HP."

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Whitman said during her presentation that this is the first time at an HP Global Partner Conference that HP did not focus on specific products but instead was focused on solutions that target customer business needs. "Make no mistake, we are pivoting here from selling products to selling solutions," she said.

That message is a highlight of this week's program, said Mark Gonzalez, regional vice president of sales at ePlus, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"In the past, IBM used to say, 'We're in the services business, and by the way, we'll sell you products,' " Gonzalez told CRN. "HP used to say, 'We'll sell you products, and we'll sell you services.' But today Meg made it clear that HP is not talking products. It was a conscious decision."

The new style of IT on which HP is focused includes four major transformations that customers are facing, and where solution providers will find opportunities, Whitman said.

This includes on-demand infrastructure, which requires modernizing workloads and building infrastructure to support them; protecting digital assets using new big data technologies to increase security; empowering a data-driven enterprise that can find new value from data; and enabling productive workspaces, Whitman said.

Whitman's focus on those four transformations is one of the key messages of this event, said Dan Molina, CTO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"If you take away all the words that Meg used, she's talking cloud, mobility, big data, and security," Molina told CRN. "And HP is definitely moving that way."

However, Molina said, it was important that Whitman termed those transformations the way she did.

"I like the way Meg said them because it's all about the business outcomes," he said. "When you start talking to customers in those terms, they understand what it means for their business."