HP Nixes Plan For Joint Confab

Instead, HP plans to host an expanded Americas Partner Conference Feb. 14 -17 in Las Vegas with only key executives from the HP Americas sales organization in attendance.

Some solution providers said HP's decision amounts to a lost opportunity. "We are skeptical of the messages being sent out to the field [HP direct-sales people] and how they are being executed on," said Charles Miano, corporate vice president of HPM Networks, a $30 million HP solution provider in Fremont, Calif.

"I don't question their vision [of how HP views the value of the channel], but does that get down to the individual folks in the field, and is that really the message they are sending with solidarity and strength in their internal meetings?" Miano said. "If we had a combined meeting it would be a reassurance level of 'Hell, yes, it's getting to the field because I was there when they delivered the message.' "

John Thompson, vice president and general manager of HP Americas' Solution Partners Organization, said last week that the decision to drop the combined conference was jointly made by him and Jack Novia, senior vice president, Customer Solutions Group, and managing director of HP Americas. Rather than holding the combined event, the vendor intends to double the number of solution providers invited to the partners conference to about 2,000, and it plans to make the event more focused on account planning and new business development.

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Thompson said last year's partner conference was attended primarily by HP Gold and Platinum solution providers. The plan is to increase the number of Business Partners and smaller solution providers at the next event rather than bring in the entire HP Americas sales force.

Some solution providers said it's good to keep the event smaller. "I didn't think the first idea [the joint conference] was a good one," said Mike Lewis, president of eLinear Solutions, a solution provider in Houston. "True connection with the [HP] sales team happens on a local basis."

HP's national field-sales conference will be broken up into smaller regional events.