Worldwide Channel Chief Paul Hunter: HPE Greenlake Is A 'Shooting Star'

HPE Worldwide Channel Chief Paul Hunter says the off-the-charts channel sales growth of GreenLake Flex Capacity is due to its ‘perfect combination of customer demand and a hugely compelling partner proposition.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Worldwide Channel Chief Paul Hunter, who helped craft the wildly successful HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity offering, said the on-premises pay-per-use GreenLake channel model is driving off-the-charts channel sales growth.

“This is a shooting star of a business,” said Hunter. “It is very rare in a career that you get a shooting star like this where you have got the perfect combination of customer demand and a hugely compelling partner proposition. The mixture of those two plus our expertise is resulting in customer transformations.”

HPE partners are transforming right along with their customers, with HPE booking more GreenLake channel business in its second fiscal quarter than it did all of last year, said Hunter.

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“We are seeing disproportionate growth in the amount of new GreenLake business that is being originated and written by the partners, and we are seeing a faster-than-expected ramp-up of our partner capabilities to sell and deliver the services-led consumption part of our portfolio,” he said.

Tom Cahill, vice president of product management for Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW, the $16.24 billion solution provider behemoth that is expanding its services portfolio, said CDW is seeing an increasing appetite from its customers for on-premises consumption models like GreenLake.

“We are seeing solid interest from our customers in the GreenLake offer,” he said. “Our customers want to know more about GreenLake and how they can take advantage of it. This is right in line with how we focus on the customer to ensure that everything we do helps them accomplish their business objectives and outcomes. We are living in a consumption economy. GreenLake is another option that gives the customer choice in how they want to consume technology. It is delivered as a service and based on proven HPE technology.”

The partner adoption of the GreenLake Flex Capacity model is reaching into every segment of the channel, said Hunter. “We are seeing different-size partners—both big and small, both specialist and broad—transacting and winning deals,” he said. “We are seeing it globally.” One reason for that broad swath of channel adoption is the 17 percent up-front GreenLake rebate applied to every HPE Partner Ready membership tier (Silver, Gold and Platinum).

Hunter said he has been blown away by the channel sales pipeline for GreenLake. “It is like looking at the North Face of the Eiger,” he said referencing the great mountain of the Swiss Alps. “It is growing month on month significantly. Our job is to keep it on the same trajectory. That is our job: to continue expanding the offer, to continue to deepen the offer, to continue to make it easier to transact, to continue to standardize it and to continue to improve the experience.”

That is just what Hunter and the channel team are doing with a new midmarket GreenLake offer that significantly expands the partner opportunity. “With the extension of the portfolio downmarket, we are not thinking about this in the millions [of dollars] now, we are thinking about it in the billions,” he said, referencing the potential size of HPE’s GreenLake channel business.

As HPE expands GreenLake Flex Capacity to target midmarket customers, it is also inking new partnerships that extend the GreenLake portfolio. In April, HPE added the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software and Google Cloud with a Google Kubernetes Engine environment to the GreenLake offerings.

“We’ll continue to grow the breadth and the depth of the portfolio while looking to get more and more partners comfortably and accurately selling the proposition,” said Hunter. “The expectations are exponential. They are not about delivering double-digit growth year on year. They are about delivering double-digit growth quarter on quarter.”

Key to GreenLake’s success is the ability for partners to drive increased margins by adding on their own managed services, said Hunter. “If done well, this is an opportunity for partners to expand their margins,” he said. “It changes their cash flow because they move from getting one big purchase order to aggregating it to over 36, 48 or 60 months, but the opportunity to expand margins is there because they are layering on their own services, and the sophistication of the service they are offering to the customer is increasing in value. This is a great thing for the channel.”

Hunter said adoption of the pay-per-use consumption model—which is predicted by market researcher IDC to account for as much as 40 percent of enterprise IT infrastructure spending by 2020—is critical to the financial health of every partner.

“I think for every partner it is going to be vital to their healthy growth that they embrace consumption,” he said. “Customers are asking for it. This is a big opportunity for us to acquire new customers with our partners.”