HP Mounts Massive Partner Services Push With ServiceONE Program

HP has opened the services floodgates for partners with the launch of the ambitious new ServiceONE specialization, which gives HP's services partners the ability to offer a full suite of HP professional and consulting services.

The move is seen by partners as a major opportunity to capitalize on the market shift that has led to a service-focused IT ecosystem.

HP opening up more services opportunities for partners comes as new technologies like cloud computing create an environment where partners need to lead with services beyond the HP Care Pack Services. HP ServiceONE lets partners offer a host of services like cloud computing, data center design, support and maintenance. It also gives HP and its partners a leg up on competitors like Cisco and IBM that are mightily banging the services drum within their respective partner organizations.

"Partners need services for their financial health and to compete," said Ken Archer, vice present of channels and alliances for HP's Technology Services group in the Americas. With ServiceONE, HP said it is giving partners access to a broader spectrum of services capabilities that will increase their margin potential, give them annuity business opportunities and enable them to go after more clients while also participating in the installation and implementation.

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Archer said the services engagements extend partner portfolios and compliment their strategy. With the ServiceONE program, which will launch as part of HP's PartnerONE program Nov. 1, partners can go into services deals with HP-branded services, co-branded services or to let HP into partner-branded services -- all as part of HP's Always On Support initiative.

ASI System Integration, one of HP’s top enterprise partners, which has a $3.5 million technology and proof of concept lab in its New York City headquarters, is investing heavily in the HP ServiceONE partnership and even plans to build an HP Cloud Center of Excellence, said Mark Romanowski, executive vice president of ASI System Integration.

"This is the most comprehensive services program I have seen in 35 years in this business," said Romanowski. "I know of no other vendor that has shown me in writing a road map and a services program that truly takes on the entire services lifecycle, lifecycle sales, lifecycle delivery and an enhanced services partnership that allows us to grow services profits and revenue."

Pat O'Connor, director of business development for remarketed services at Solon, Ohio-based solution provider Agilysys, said HP taking a services-first approach with ServiceONE and bringing partners into the fold jibes with partners' need to boost their services engagements and ensure they can tackle customer needs.

"Agilysys has taken the approach that services are very important and IT in its simplicity has become more complex," O'Connor said in an interview. With ServiceONE, HP recognized that both it and its partners need to join forces to tackle customer services requirements.

"They need to have a more collaborative relationship with the channel," O'Connor said. "This puts the seal of approval on this collaborative services environment."

NEXT: HP, Partners 'Really Need Each Other' For Services

In the past, O'Connor said, Agilysys had as many as five different relationships for services delivery; with ServiceONE that's wrapped into one streamlined program that gives Agilysys the ability to bundle in services they didn't already have and attack opportunities they may not have seen before.

"It gives us that tighter relationship with the customer," O'Connor said, adding that HP ServiceONE recognizes that HP and its partners "really need each other" to tackle increasing services opportunities.

While Archer couldn't put a specific number to the revenue and margin opportunity the new services play will open for partners, he said ServiceONE looks to close the gap between selling vendor-branded services and partners selling their own services.

For O'Connor and Agilysys, the ability to co-brand services offers enhanced margin, but will also give the company the ability to engage more clients with a more rounded services play. "By pulling these things together and co-branding it gives us a good margin and more at bats," he said.

"This is huge," Romanowski said of the profit and revenue impact that the ServiceONE program will have on ASI's business. "This doesn't mean we aren't open to what other vendors are doing with services. But nobody is even close to being as mature as HP is. HP has really pulled it altogether from a partnership perspective. The beauty of this program is it allows every type of channel partner to play in services from those with no services capability to those that want to expand their services offering. This allows you to move up the services stack."

The HP ServiceONE program is critical in that it opens the door to provide services across the breadth and depth of the HP product portfolio, Romanowski said. "HP is the only player that has a technology portfolio that cuts across all platforms from printers to servers to storage and software," he said.

Agilysys' O'Connor agreed, calling ServiceONE a "quantum leap" for HP compared to competitors' services programs.

ServiceONE comes in two distinct flavors: ServiceONE Specialist and ServiceONE Expert, which is the top tier. The Expert edition offers partners exclusive rebates and discounts, management tools and makes partners a true deliver partner, enabling them to take control of the sales, services, implementation, support and renewals, Archer said.

Archer couldn't say how many partners HP expects to join the ServiceONE program, but said that a good number of HP's Authorized Services Partners (ASPs) will likely join in. Additionally, VARs and some systems integrators looking to offer professional services and consulting will join ServiceONE.

NEXT: What Does HP ServiceONE Mean For EDS?

Overall, Archer said, the goal is to give partners a wider breadth of offerings and enable them to go into a client with end-to-end product and services play.

"There's never a situation where they'll have to say 'no' to a customer," he said.

HP's launching the ServiceONE program in the midst of a restructuring by HP CEO Leo Apotheker aimed at driving higher-margin, technology services sales growth. As part of that transformation, HP has launched a search for an executive vice president of enterprise services reporting directly to Apotheker, and HP combined its Technology Services group with its successful Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking (ESSN) business.

The services charge comes more than three years after HP spent a whopping $13.9 billion to acquire services giant Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in a deal that was aimed at going head to head with the likes of IBM Global Services.

The EDS services unit is "still trying to learn what the channel is all about," said one top HP solution provider partner, who did not want to be identified. "They don't really know the channel. They have $3 billion deals and think they can do it all themselves. There is a lot of transformation going on within EDS with regard to how they look at channel partners and how they subcontract work. EDS was doing a lot of subcontracting to players that were not channel friendly or even HP friendly. Now they are pulling that back and streamlining that subcontracting work so maybe the channel and HP can benefit from it."