HP CEO Weisler Set To Move Partner Sales Needle Higher As Competitors Grapple With Internal Turmoil

HP CEO Dion Weisler Tuesday said he is aiming to increase the percentage of channel sales at the $55 billion company from 80 percent to 87 percent of total sales by the end of the year.

"We are investing more of our business in increased R&D across core growth and our future," said Weisler in a presentation to several hundred analysts at the HP Industry Analyst Summit 2016, being held this week at the Hyatt Regency Harborside in Boston. "We are investing in our partners and our go-to-market motions."

HP executives, in fact, outlined an aggressive move to deliver more services through partners including an expanded device-as-a-service effort and additional focus on managed print services through partners.

[Weisler: HP Inc. Is Making 'Solid Progress' Amid Difficult Market Conditions]

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HP Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales and Strategy Thomas Jensen said a significant amount of the increase in sales going through the channel will come from HP's decision earlier this year to move 30 percent of direct accounts to partners.

"From a channel perspective, everything we do going forward in services and solutions will be channel-driven," Jensen said.

The move to step up channel sales efforts comes as several of HP's largest competitors are mired in uncertainty. Dell is in the midst of the largest acquisition in the history of IT as it works to close its deal with EMC, Xerox is splitting in two and Lexmark in April agreed to a merger with a group of investors led by Chinese manufacturer Apex Technology for $3.6 billion in a deal expected to close in the second half of this year.

"There is a tremendous amount of change going on in the industry," said Weisler. "Our competitors in many cases are fragile and distracted. They are evaluating strategic options. They are divesting. They are going through distracting acquisitions. They are otherwise engaged in changing their organizations. On the other hand, HP Inc. is the pillar of stability. We wake up every day thinking about printing and personal systems. We are investing today to become stronger, and I am confident in our future."

HP is moving faster since its separation as an independent company last November when Hewlett-Packard split in two, said Weisler, pointing to the decision just several months ago to quickly stop running HP.com as a business with its own separate Profit & Loss (P&L) statement that was sometimes competing against partners.

That decision was made in just a week and fully implemented in just six weeks, opening the door for the HP regions to work more closely with partners, said Weisler. "That's a tangible proof point of the speed with which we can now operate in an area that brings our product to market," he said.

"We looked at what is going on in the omnichannel world, recognizing that 80 percent of our business is done with and through the channel, and that is moving to 87 percent," he said. "That's not because we want to give these guys a gift. We just think it is a more efficient channel for us to get things done."

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 167 on the CRN 2016 Solution Provider 500, applauded the move to drive a higher percentage of sales through partners.

"That's great news," said Venero. "Any time a company makes a move to grow the channel business I am all for it. I applaud HP for this, but the devil is in the details, like is the channel going to be incented to support that business and where is that business opportunity: the enterprise or SMB?"

Weisler said change in the market equals opportunity for the new, nimbler HP. "It's a new HP," he said. "We are focused. We are accelerating, and we are delivering to our customers, partners and shareholders every single day."