HP Urges Customers To Dump IBM, Jump To An HP Partner

Hewlett-Packard is urging customers to dump IBM and jump to an HP partner in the wake of the angst caused by IBM's decision to sell off its x86 server business to Lenovo.

The latest shot in HP's Project Smart Choice -- aimed at winning over IBM customers and partners -- is a full page advertisement in Thursday's New York Times with a call to action pointing to IBM's uncertain partner relationships in the wake of the proposed $2.3 billion sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo in January.

"Do you rely on a local IBM partner for compute, end to end infrastructure, service, and support?" the ad asks. "If so, IBM's decision to abandon the x86 server market could hurt your business. Even if you don't have technology or vendor issues now, you may later if your partner makes the wrong choice. Which means it's time to make your move to an HP Partner."

[Related: Gartner: HP Maintains Big Q1 Server Share Lead]

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The New York Times ad is a watershed moment in HP's drive to aggressively drive demand to its top solution providers. In fact, HP is aggressively promoting 48 of its top Platinum partners in the ad, featuring partner logos with an invitation to customers to watch "5 Questions That Every IBM Customer Should Ask Their Partners Today" and find an HP partner who can help at hp.com/go/smartchoice-partners."

That move to drive demand to partners is part of a sweeping HP campaign to accelerate sales growth by aligning tightly with partners. HP, in fact, has implemented a major marketing overhaul aimed at letting partners leverage the $112 billion computer giant's marketing machine.
HP Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Chris Ogburn told CRN that the ad promoting partners is the first of a new wave of aggressive HP marketing initiatives aimed at driving demand specifically to solution providers.

"One of the things you are going to start seeing us do a more effective job of going forward is giving more visibility in the marketplace to our partners, especially our highest-tier Platinum-level partners," said Ogburn. "We are looking for ways as we move into the next fiscal year to get much more active driving visibility for those partners making the biggest investments and bets on HP."

Among the partners featured in the HP ad is MCPc, a $262 million national solution provider power that was ranked No. 77 on the CRN 2014 SP500 list that is aiming to double its HP business over the next year.

NEXT: 'I Have Never Seen Anything Like This In The Channel'

MCPc Chief Marketing Officer Jed Ayres, a 20-year technology marketing veteran who is driving an aggressive HP - MCPc marketing offensive, said the HP focus on helping partners drive sales growth is unprecedented.

"I have never seen anything like this in the channel," said Ayres, whose company is in the midst of a 32-city road show focused on HP 3Par, HP Converged Systems and HP's Helion cloud offering. "No one is making the kinds of investments in partners that HP is to drive a new style of IT. The tenor of the relationship is different than any other vendor relationship. The way we are being treated as partners is exceptional. They truly listen to us. They truly understand our business and the complexity of the transition to the new style of IT. It just feels like a true partnership."

Ayres said it is highly unusual for a major vendor to promote partners in national campaigns. He said total alignment with partners is a critical piece of HP's "New Style of IT" strategy. He credited HP CEO Meg Whitman and HP Enterprise Group Executive Vice President Bill Veghte for driving a new style of IT partner.

"It is an immersive relationship with HP that starts at the top of the organization and makes its way into every fabric of our company," he said. "We are looking at the metrics of the HP relationship every single day. It is a level of integration and focus that we have never seen before with another vendor."

One of the more innovative HP partner programs that MCPc is taking advantage of to drive cloud-era growth is a flexible consumption model that allows customers to buy infrastructure services on a consumption-based model. "That is a really unique program," said Ayres. "That is going to reduce the capital requirements we would have had to make to get into the cloud so we can start building hybrid cloud environments with Helion."

HP, said Ayres, is changing the partner landscape with the breadth and depth of its product and service offerings and partnering initiatives. "It has world-class products, big investments in innovation and an unmatched partner program," he said. "That is the Trifecta. Combine those three things and you have something very special."