HPE Canada Boss Phil Soper To Step Up HPE GreenLake Ecosystem March As New Head Of North America Partner Sales

“It is a really exciting opportunity to do different things and to be part of a new HPE story,” says new HPE Head of North America Partner Sales Phil Soper. “We have made some progress, but my intention being in this job is to have people look back and say, ‘This is not your grandfather’s HPE.’”


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada Chief Commercial Officer Phil Soper, a 23-year IT industry veteran with deep roots transforming solution provider organizations, is set to accelerate HPE’s U.S. and Canada GreenLake partner transformation as the new head of North America partner sales.

Soper, who has been heading up HPE Canada for the past two and a half years, is taking over the new integrated U.S. and Canada organization in a role that effectively redefines the North America channel chief role for the GreenLake Everything-as-a-Service era.

Leslie Maher, who has been HPE North America Channel Chief for the past two years and nine months, meanwhile, is taking on a new role overseeing strategic initiatives aimed at “driving a data-first transformation with and for partners.”

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The changes come with HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter determined to accelerate the HPE GreenLake channel ecosystem transformation with a single combined North America channels and ecosystems sales charge aimed at accelerating GreenLake sales growth.

“We need to include different partner types and make sure that we incubate and grow [that GreenLake cloud services ecosystem],” Hunter told CRN. “The partner base is one that is constantly evolving. We need to constantly evolve with it.”

A new wave of born-in-the-cloud partners are coming to HPE to deliver GreenLake edge-to-cloud services to customers that will benefit from the new North America channels and ecosystems organization, said Hunter.

“There is a growing breed of partners that are very successfully selling cloud services, whether it be subscription services or custom cloud services—those influential partners are often coming from places we have not expected,” he said. “They are a mixture of strong partners we had and new partners that we are finding out about that we are meeting in the market, and they require a more connected ecosystem than we have had in the past.”

The new GreenLake ecosystem, in fact, means partners may need to co-sell with a workload specialist, an ISV or systems integrator, said Hunter. “Rather than segments of partners, we are managing the partners in the ecosystem that are influential in serving our customers’ cloud services,” said Hunter. “The partners that do that are increasing in their sophistication, their scope and their variety.”

One of the keys to the new organization is moving beyond serving just traditional partners, said Hunter. “We don’t want to just be observant to partners that we have grown up with,” he said. “We also want to be observant to partners that are rapidly coming to us and asking, ‘How do we participate in this market space?’ How can we help them get enabled? How can we help them grow expertise and build competency?”

Soper’s Experience Key For New Role

Soper’s experience overseeing a cloud transformation as president of solution provider superstar PCM Canada from April 2016 to October 2019 will be critical in accelerating the HPE channels and ecosystem transformation, said Hunter.

As the president of PCM, Soper led the transformation of the organization “from a traditional value-added reseller to a cloud services provider,” said Hunter in an email announcing the channel change-up.

“Phil’s background as a senior leader in the vendor and channel communities is unique,” wrote Hunter. “His industry acumen is an invaluable asset that will enable the HPE NA Channels & Ecosystem organization to accelerate execution on our priority to perform while we transform.”

Soper, who also spent nine years as vice president and general manager of onetime solution provider superstar CompuCom Canada, will report to Hunter.

Soper, for his part, told CRN in an interview on day one in his new job that he is going to move quickly to build a born-in-the-private-cloud ecosystem.

“There is a great opportunity to develop, co-develop and collaborate on a digital transformation strategy that has our edge-to-cloud platform as its centerpiece,” he said. “For those that are not currently HPE ecosystem partners, we are going to be engaging with them as quickly as we can to talk about how we create that born-in-the-private-cloud ecosystem.”

Everything-As-A-Service Is Here To Stay

The Everything-as-a-Service transformation that is taking place in the channel is in full swing, said Soper. “It is here right now and it is urgent,” he said. “The transformation is way upon us. I would say to partners: If you have not been talking to HPE about our edge-to-cloud platform and are interested in an [HPE GreenLake cloud service] practice, then you should.”

With a charter to accelerate the GreenLake partner transformation, Soper said his new job is not a traditional channel chief role. In fact, he said, partners can expect innovative new funding from HPE to help with the transformation.

“I would tell you that the funding that we use can’t be traditional funding,” he said. “We have to look at ways that we can take that funding model and be creative to help some of these partners build practices, things like funding assessments for customers, which gets the digital transformation strategy discussions started.”

Soper said his aim with the new funding initiatives will be focused on helping both born-in-the-cloud partners and HPE traditional partners drive GreenLake sales growth. “It is really taking funding and applying it to where we can help both the born-in-the-cloud partners that are not accustomed to our as-a-service offering and also our traditional partners to help them build their practices,” he said.

With his nearly 12 years heading up solution provider organizations facing massive technology shifts, Soper said partners can rest assured he has walked in their shoes.

“I have been a traditional VAR, if you will, who faced extinction or a downward trend in my business and needed to find new ways, new strategies and new vision,” he said. “I have done it. What I have tried to do at HPE is when we are looking at ways that we fund things or may want to invest, I put myself in the partner’s shoes.”

A New Role For Maher

Hunter said Maher will be working with himself and HPE Global Channel Chief George Hope to drive policies and processes aimed at transforming the HPE Everything-as-a-Service partner base.

“This role is all about designing the future of our partner policies and processes for a cloud environment,” said Hunter. “Think about the amount of work we are doing to change and modernize our own company. We also have to do the same thing with partners. Leslie is going to be working with George on how we do that with partners.”

Maher will also be looking at how to convert “data insights and instincts” that exist in the digital ecosystem into business for partners. “We are continuing to modernize how we help partners grow our business,” said Hunter.

Hunter thanked Maher for “laying the groundwork” for the HPE “partner ecosystem transformation and for her passion” driving the GreenLake co-selling initiative with the channel.

As for the future, Hunter said that “expanding collaboration” with the partner ecosystem while enabling the channel to lead with HPE’s edge-to-cloud strategy is key to HPE’s success. “I’m sure these changes will further strengthen our bonds with them and position our company to accelerate growth in the remainder of FY22,” he wrote.

Soper told CRN he is going to be moving quickly to drive a North America channel transformation. “The reason I am so excited about the role and appreciative of HPE and Paul giving me the opportunity is because this is really transformational,” he said. “I can’t emphasize that enough. It is a really exciting opportunity to do different things and to be part of a new HPE story. We have made some progress, but my intention being in this job is to have people look back and say, ‘This is not your grandfather’s HPE.’”