Whitman: HP Sales Pipeline From IBM-Lenovo Server Deal On The Rise

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HP has put a number of sales templates and tools on its partner portal aimed at targeting the x86 IBM opportunity, including customer letters, sales presentations and HP financial services support, said HP PartnerOne Director of Marketing Strategy Patrick Eitenbichler.

HP also is focused on increasing its share of the business from IBM partners sure to face issues in the wake of moving to the Lenovo partner program for x86 servers, said Eitenbichler. Key to attracting those partners is an HP enterprise product portfolio with rich margin and partner opportunities in areas like cloud with Helion, big data with Haven, and security with ArcSight and TippingPoint.

A vendor benchmark study focused on 10 specific metrics, including margin retention/profitability and ease of doing business from channel research company Canalys, based on partner feedback, showed HP’s Enterprise Group scoring 6.6 on a 10-point scale compared to a score of 6.1 for Lenovo. "Lenovo’s program needs to undergo a  transformation as it adopts the IBM x86 portfolio and starts having more enterprise-level engagements which are more project-oriented than transactional,” said Alex Smith, a senior analyst for Canalys, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

Lenovo is sure to face tough questions from enterprise customers on how they are going to provide enterprise-level support and integration, said Eitenbichler.

Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBM's System x business, who is expected to transfer to Lenovo with the completion of the sale, has pointed to a "renewed and very aggressive" push to drive the System x business forward. "We launched a 'Winning in Transition' website and have connected with 1,300 partners," he recently told CRN. "We have put in place a revenue growth fund program and a loyalty program."

What's more, he claims, HP has taken a beating in the PC business since Lenovo acquired the IBM PC business.

"Lenovo continued to innovate and the rest is history," he said. "Lenovo is the worldwide leader in PC sales." Lenovo, in fact, was the No. 1 PC maker in worldwide shipments in the first quarter of 2014 with HP No. 2, according to market researcher IDC.

A top executive for a large IBM partner, who did not want to be identified, however, said he sees HP as a better long-term bet than IBM or Lenovo. "I can be more successful and make more money with HP," he said. "I expect my business with HP to double this year."


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