HP To Partners: Now Is The Time To Beat Dell, IBM

new CEO

"Today is the time to beat Dell and IBM. We don't want to wait for a new CEO. Forget it; let's do it right now," Joshi said in a keynote address at the HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas.

"If we work together as an extended team, nobody can touch us," he said to loud applause.

Just as HP handed accounts to enterprise partners, Joshi promised to deliver a new SMB account engagement model to partners serving small and midsize businesses. "We will have a plan for small- and medium-business customers very soon," he said. "We absolutely believe growth is in our hands. Shame on us if we cannot grow it together."

By combining imaging and printing with PCs, HP's Imaging and Personal Systems Group (IPSG) is on a path to be "bigger than Dell, both in top and bottom line," Joshi said.

Sponsored post

"We can beat Dell. As a matter of fact, we can lead Dell," he said. "The common competitor we are all focused on is Dell, and it took me two minutes to get there," said Joshi, who recently was named to head the new IPSG unit.

Conceding that HP and its partners have a lot of work to do to wring cost out of the supply chain, Joshi said the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor is committed to making it easier for partners to deal HP. "We want to simplify it," he said.

HP's vision is that the PC is "just a socket for services and solutions," Joshi said. "Every PC is an opportunity to sell extended warranty services and many, many accessories."

One of HP's critical factors for success against Dell is "an absolute reliance" on partners, Joshi noted.

"We cannot grow this big a business just by ourselves," he said. "There are some competitors who think this. I don't care; nobody can be world-class at everything."

IBM's deal to sell its PC business to Lenovo Group also presents a tremendous opportunity for HP, according to Joshi.

"No one wants to work with a Chinese company when they don't know what is going to happen," he said, referring to industry and channel concerns about whether the IBM-Lenovo deal will go through and what its impact will be. Such uncertainty led HP to launch an incentive program for partners to convert IBM accounts to HP accounts.

Joshi urged partners to e-mail him and HP's top management their best and brightest ideas on how to beat Dell and IBM. HP executives aren't interested in "what we can do two months from today but right now," he noted.

"The message is shifting inside HP to more of a partner-centric, value partnership vs. product volume," said Pete Busam, COO of Decisive Business Systems, a Pennsauken, N.J.-based solution provider.

Busam said he was excited by the prospect of new programs in which HP aims to work more closely with SMB partners. "We don't know what the new programs are going to look like, but there is clearly some new energy around SMB. They are trimming SG&A and driving more business to partners," he said.

Joshi, known as "VJ," is reinvigorating HP's PC business, Busam added. "When you see someone like VJ who has had such a positive impact on the gains with imaging and printing get involved with another line of business, you've got to believe some good things are going to come," he said.

After his keynote, Joshi told CRN that he was counting on the new SMB sales engagement model to ease conflicts with HP's direct telesales organization.

"We need to have the right rules of engagement because there is a lot of business to get," he said. "So why go after the same thing?"