Partner Ready 2021: HPE Steps Up Everything-As-Service Sales Blitz, GreenLake Cloud Service ‘Acceleration’

‘GreenLake is the biggest opportunity for the partners,’ says HPE Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope in an interview with CRN. ‘It is margin-rich and it is sticky. If you get GreenLake into an account and you start showing the value to the customer in that account you are immovable from that point forward.’


Hewlett Packard Enterprise is stepping up its no-holds barred everything-as-a-service software pivot for fiscal year 2021 with robust compensation and field sales investments tied to its $1 billion incentive-packed Partner Ready program.

First off, HPE has added its Ezmeral container and AI operations software platform to its 5x top sales compensation multiplier for partners alongside the GreenLake pay-per-use cloud service and its HPE OneView software management platform.

As part of the stepped-up GreenLake sales offensive, HPE is tripling its GreenLake channel investment and for the first time ever adding a GreenLake sales quota for HPE sales reps.

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“GreenLake is the biggest opportunity for the partners,” said HPE Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope in an interview with CRN. “It is margin-rich and it is sticky. If you get GreenLake into an account and you start showing the value to the customer in that account you are immovable from that point forward. You are their strategic vendor and it is just a matter of time before they move more workloads onto GreenLake.”

HPE is making big investments in Partner Ready to drive an everything-as-a-service partner revolution, said C.R. Howdyshell, president of Advizex Technologies, No. 110 on the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500, a top HPE GreenLake enterprise partner.

“We’re into GreenLake acceleration mode,” said Howdyshell, who is charting a conservative 20 percent growth for Advizex for GreenLake sales growth for 2021. “We feel like HPE is really backing our efforts to grow with GreenLake.”

Customers are increasingly looking to Advizex as a “single point of accountability” for a complete everything-as-a-service consumption based cloud on premise offering, said Howdyshell. He said Advizex’s “trusted advisor” status and its managed services muscle is powering its everything-as-a-service sales growth.

“We are that single point of accountability from solving the business challenge to billing, support, first-call and managed services,” he said. “We’re giving the customer a true public cloud experience with an on-premise solution.”

One healthcare customer, for example, that was moving forward with a multimillion-dollar capital expenditure deal is now looking at moving to an an Advizex everything-as-a-service deal because of that single point of accountability, said Howdyshell.

In order to fuel the GreenLake sales charge, HPE is investing in new GreenLake business workshops for partners and maintaining its long-standing 17 percent robust upfront rebate for GreenLake channel deals.

“Obviously GreenLake is more lucrative and a lot of partners are headed in that direction,” said Jesse Chavez, vice president of worldwide partner programs and operations for HPE. “We’ve done a lot of surveys talking to partners and those that have not yet made the move have it in their plans to start moving more to GreenLake. It remains very lucrative.”

HPE’s investment in GreenLake field sales specialists and the new HPE sales rep incentives for selling GreenLake are going to have a “huge” impact on the channel, predicted Chavez.

“Everybody (at HPE) knows that GreenLake has got to be part of their (sales) portfolio,” he said of the compensation and GreenLake field sales changes. “They have to understand the (GreenLake) message and be able to deliver that message, talk to the customers about it, talk to their partners about it. All the PBMs (Partner Business Managers) and all the reps will have this compensation metric.”

PKA Technologies Inc., one of HPE‘s top Platinum partners, is targeting 15-20 percent growth for GreenLake in the new fiscal year, said PKA Vice President of Sales Paul Cohen. “I’m very excited that HPE is recognizing the efforts the channel is putting into driving GreenLake consumption model opportunities,” he said. “It’s great to see the additional sales resources and enablement for GreenLake.”

GreenLake is powering add on sales on top of the multi-year deals at a 25 percent rate, said Chavez. Furthermore, he said, partners are benefitting by driving long term, strategic recurring revenue relationships with customers.

“Customers that go to GreenLake, stay on GreenLake,” said Chavez. “The stickiness is there. Partners realize that. Once they establish a beach-head (with the customer) it is very sticky for them.”

The GreenLake breach-head is resonating with partners like Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner headquartered in Ramsey, N.J. that is seeing a dramatic increase in its ComportSecure managed services business with GreenLake as a foundational element.

“Our ComportSecure cloud managed services business is absolutely the fastest growing segment of our business and we expect in 2021 to be able to double the size of that business,” said Comport President Mike Vencel. “The strategic imperative for everybody in this industry is to move to flexible, recurring revenue models. HPE is the mechanism to enable our managed services offering of the future with ComportSecure.”

Comport is also planning for double digit sales growth with HPE storage with a focus on Nimble, and significant growth for Aruba, HPE high performance computing (HPC), AI based solutions and HPE ProLiant DX Appliances for Nutanix.

A key part of the new Partner Ready go to market is a sizable investment in an inside sales organization that is charged with driving digital marketing demand generation, working hand in hand with partners to drive new logo account wins.

The reward for those new account logo wins in what HPE is referring to as its “growth” account engagement model is an additional six to 12 percent margin focused primarily on SMB accounts, said Chavez.

Vencel said he is fired up by the new account growth margin, sales targets and field changes. “There is additional emphasis this year on new logos,” he said.

On the storage front, HPE is providing a 3x compensation multiplier for partners with a focus on Primera, Nimble, SimpliVity, and dHCI. 3Par is not included in the 3x compensation multiplier.

The storage sales effort includes a Primera Storage Opportunity Engine (PSOE) which uses the AI based InfoSight platform to provide recommendations on migrating workloads from 3Par to Primera. “That will result in a reduction in time partners need to spend to move 3Par to one of those platforms,” Chavez said.

HPE is mining its 3Par installed base data to help partners drive the migration to Nimble and Primera. HPE estimates 70 percent of the 3Par installed base will move to Nimble with the remaining 30 percent going to Primera, said Chavez. “We are seeing a huge increase in Primera sales in the channel,” he said.

The lowest 1x compensation multiplier is for compute products including Synergy, ProLiant, Apollo and Mission Critical Systems.

HPE is also “amping up” its inside sales operation to drive digital marketing leads to partners particularly in the SMB market, said Chavez. “You’ll see a lot more digital marketing and more leads going into the SMB space,” he said. “That is also going to help with the new account logo acquisitions.”

The data driven digital marketing offensive could have a significant impact on the channel, said Vencel. “HPE is invigorating the partner community with a lot stronger, digital marketing strategy,” he said. “The sales organization at HPE is driving a data-driven, digital go to market transformation that is going to be a critical enabler to drive new account engagement.”

The new Partner Ready incentive blitz marks the third consecutive year that HPE has invested $1 billion in the channel program including payouts and market development funds.

HPE said it is not making any changes to revenue thresholds, sales and technical certifications, continuous learning requirements, or competency requirements.

Ultimately, recurring revenue services are a key to driving growth for partners, said Chavez. “For partners that go down the GreenLake path that is the biggest thing for them,” he said. “It really changes their EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amoritization).”

HPE – which first and foremost has remained a partner-led company under HPE CEO Antonio Neri- is committed to helping partners make the profitable everything-as-a-service transition, said Chavez.

“We still think there are going to be a lot of partners that will be attracted to this overall program and GreenLake as we go forward,” he said. “Of all the surveys we have done, close to 100 percent of all the partners said they needed to go to GreenLake.”

Hope, for his part, said partners need to embrace the HPE everything-as-a-service vision. “It may not be for every customer today, but for some customers it is going to be a game changer,” he said. “Partners need to get used to positioning GreenLake because that is where the business is going…Everybody is going to have to get there. We believe we are a couple of years ahead of everybody else with our approach to it.”