Partners Notch Gains From HP Unison Portal Investment

Hewlett Packard this week released the results of a partner satisfaction survey that shows a 38 percent improvement in the net satisfaction of HP partners using the new Unison portal.

What's more, 67 percent of partners surveyed said they saw an overall improvement in satisfaction with the portal. HP said it has seen a 62 percent reduction in partner support tickets in the wake of the new portal's rollout.

"For me it is 100 percent better than it was before," said Kimberly Grillo Mills, director of operations for TBD Partners, an HP gold partner serving the Southeast that is offering an HP pay-as-you-go, on-premise utility computing offering. "It seemed like the old portal would always crash or freeze when you needed it the most."

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The Unison portal was rolled out to all HP Platinum, Gold and Silver partners three months ago. That amounted to 40,000 partners in 171 countries.

Grillo Mills credited HP Chairman and CEO Meg Whitman for investing in new channel sales tools that were outdated and antiquated when she took the helm three years ago. Previously, HP merely paid lip service to the channel and did not back it up with sales tools investments, said Grillo Mills.

"In the past, HP spent a lot of time on end user, customer-facing websites and the partner portal didn't matter as much to them, even though we are their customer too," Grillo Mills said. "Under Meg's leadership, they have really taken the time to think about it from the partner perspective."

That is going to pay off in increased sales for TBD, which has been using the new Unison portal for the last several months with sales reps just getting trained on the breadth and depth of Unison, said Grillo Mills.

TBD expects to increase its HP sales by as much as 20 percent over the next year in part as a result of the HP Unison portal sales tools and efficiencies, Grillo Mills said. She said the portal is aimed at empowering TBD sales reps so they can provide better customer engagement in the field.

NEXT: Other Areas Of Improvement

One of the major improvements that Grillo Mills has seen with the new portal is a dramatic improvement in the speed of special bid price quotes, a long-time pain point for HP partners. HP itself said it has seen a 23 percent reduction in quote turnaround worldwide as a result of the Unison portal.

HP claims its pricing and quoting processes with HP Discount Now and HP QuickQuote has resulted in 70 percent of special bid deals being turned around in less than 24 hours.

Grillo Mills, for her part, said she has seen a significant improvement for complex, special bid deal quotes from 72 hours or longer to 24 hours. Most deals, she said, are quoted in less than two hours.

"HP has definitely streamlined the process," she said.

HP has also made a significant improvement in MDF (market development fund) planning and disbursements with a partner survey showing a new MDF tool driving a 32 percent improvement from the old MDF process.

Another big breakthrough is the HP MyComp Optimizer tool which is aimed at providing sales reps with solution options aimed at maximizing compensation. HP partners say they are just beginning to explore using the new tool, which they said could have a dramatic impact on their business.

"MyComp Optimizer is like going from zero to 100 in four seconds," said Patrick Eitinbichler, director of market strategy for HP's PartnerOne program. "We didn't have a tool like this for partners. They were flying blind and now they truly have information at their fingertips and can adjust accordingly."

HP's $100 million investment in Unison puts the company head and shoulders above competitor portals, Eitinbichler said.

"The Unison tools were all designed from the ground up as market leading from what was available in the market," he said. "These tools are way beyond best in class."