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HPE GreenLake ‘Game-Changer:’ Partners Cheer Appointment of Phil Soper As New Head Of North America Partner Sales

Steven Burke

‘Phil grew up in the channel, so he uniquely understands the role that the channel provides as that last-mile connection to the customer,’ said Compugen Founder, President and CEO Harry Zarek. ‘Phil knows the value of the channel is our intimate relationship with customers.’

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise partners are cheering Monday’s appointment of Phil Soper as the new head of partner sales for North America as a critical step in accelerating GreenLake cloud services sales growth.

“From my perspective, this is a big game-changer,” said Harry Zarek, the co-founder, president and CEO of Richmond Hill, Ontari-based Compugen, No. 55 on the 2022 CRN Solution Provider 500, one of HPE’s top enterprise partners. “This is going to provide us a unified North America sales organization. There is a lot of value in leveraging the full capabilities of the North American geography. This is going to give us a more expanded view on the marketplace and the GreenLake ecosystem.”

[Related: New HPE North America Head Of Partner Sales Phil Soper: ‘This Is Not Your Grandfather’s HPE’]

Zarek said he is confident that Soper—a 23-year IT industry veteran with deep roots transforming solution provider organizations (pictured)—is going to have a big impact driving GreenLake partner transformation from commodity hardware to high-value workload pay-per-use consumption-based services.

“Phil grew up in the channel, so he uniquely understands the role that the channel provides as that last-mile connection to the customer,” he said. “Phil knows the value of the channel is our intimate relationship with customers. We understand the unique things that go on at every customer, and we put it all together into a great story. Phil understands how that works better than anyone else.”

HPE named Soper to the new job on Monday, integrating the U.S. and Canada sales operations in a move that effectively redefines the North America channel chief role for the GreenLake everything-as-a-service era.

Zarek praised HPE CEO Antonio Neri for leading an everything-as-a-service channel transformation with big investments and resources. “Antonio Neri has had a laser-like focus on this everything-as-a-service transformation,” he said. “Antonio was prepared to make the investment, bringing in new leaders like [HPE Executive Vice President and General Manager of GreenLake] Keith White from the Microsoft Azure business. Who understands this kind of transformation better than people who went through this transformation at Microsoft?”

HPE is reshaping the channel landscape with its stepped-up emphasis on the GreenLake channel ecosystem, said Zarek. “What HPE is doing is really solving the hybrid IT riddle. They are doing a better job than anyone else with this,” he said.

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, which has closed a number of GreenLake deals, said he was excited to hear that Soper is focusing on accelerating GreenLake sales growth.

“That is music to my ears, the reason being that we have already re-invented ourselves as an organization to drive consumption and everything-as-a-service with HPE technologies,” said Cohen. “Through our PKASolveIT Managed Services, we have sold a number of GreenLake deals, with over 20 opportunities in our pipeline. We are not your traditional IT systems integrator that you knew. We have evolved along with HPE into selling everything as a service.”

Cohen said he was heartened to hear that HPE is investing to drive GreenLake sales growth. “Whether it be through a new co-selling model, becoming more sophisticated in the entire ecosystem or new funding mechanisms to drive GreenLake, I’m looking forward to the HPE teams assisting in enablement, continuing our growth and building required competencies,” he said. “We are an Aruba Platinum as well as an HPE Platinum partner, which means we have the expertise to co-develop and collaborate on the transformational strategy with HPE’s edge-to-cloud platform as our bullseye.”

Cohen praised HPE’s local channel leadership team, led by Director of U.S. Channels East Kevin Blaine, for providing world-class support during PKA’s GreenLake go-to-market transformation and said he anticipates Soper continuing that push. “We look forward to Phil’s innovative strategies in supporting us going forward,” he said.

C.R. Howdyshell, president of Advizex, No. 104 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said Soper’s strong background driving transformation at PCM and CompuCom is going to be key to helping partners accelerate GreenLake sales growth. “Phil’s background in the channel can only help us accelerate the already strong momentum we are seeing with GreenLake and everything as a service,” he said. “I’m looking forward to sitting down with Phil and understanding his strategy for the partner ecosystem.”

Howdyshell praised HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter for “doubling down” on the HPE GreenLake sales strategy. “This demonstrates HPE’s commitment to ensure the channel’s success with GreenLake,” said Howdyshell. “Clearly Paul understands the channel and is reiterating the commitment that HPE is making to transform the channel along with the HPE business.”

Howdyshell said the everything-as-a-service channel transformation is being embraced by customers. “The sales funnel is so significant I am pretty confident that we are going to close between eight to 10 as-a-service infrastructure deals in the next two months,” he said.

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at sburke@thechannelcompany.com.

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