Partners: HPE Next Restructuring Set To Take Channel-First Strategy To New Heights

Partners said Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Next restructuring initiative is set to power a sweeping set of channel improvements that is going to drive double-digit channel sales gains.

Joseph Yang, director of professional and managed services for Microware Limited, a $140 million HPE Platinum partner, said he sees the Next initiative making HPE his No.1 partner in the digital transformation offensive.

"HPE is doubling down on partners with Next," said Yang, who, as the president of HPE's Asia Pacific and Japan Enterprise Partner Advisory Council (EPAC), has worked closely with new HPE Chief Sales Officer Phil Davis on a number of initiatives. "I expect to see double-digit run-rate growth from these initiatives. What I am most excited about is partnering with HPE to develop as-a-service cloud consumption solutions."

The HPE Next initiative is aimed at rearchitecting and simplifying the structure of the company with as much as $200 million to $300 million in cuts. HPE announced the next phase of the restructuring, including the new 11-geography organizational structure under Davis, who takes the helm of the sales force on Nov. 1. As part of the restructuring, HPE Thursday rolled out a flattened channel organization that combines channels and alliances under Global Channel Chief Denzil Samuels.

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"It took a lot of guts for HPE to do this," said Yang. "It's going to have a huge impact on making decisions faster, getting things done and executing in the field. Ultimately it is going to increase partner and customer satisfaction."

Yang, for his part, said he has already seen first-hand the dramatic impact of Next-like initiatives that were implemented by Davis during the HPE sales chief's three-year tenure in Asia Pacific.

Among those offerings, he said, are Partner of the Future workshops aimed at helping partners move from transactional to subscription-based cloud services."HPE is helping us move our business forward," he said. "We are transforming together with HPE. From my perspective, they are the one vendor that is providing this kind of a partnership opportunity for us, helping us develop the business for the future. Before we had a downstream-upstream relationship with HPE. Now I see it as a side-by-side relationship."

Yang said Davis has transformed the Asia Pacific sales culture with a no-holds-barred focus on listening to partners and customers and then quickly making changes. "He's action-oriented," said Yang. "He listens, gets feedback and acts after careful consideration."

One example: Davis' move to get active feedback from partners rather than HPE driving its own agenda for partner advisory council meetings. "Phil changed the whole agenda in order to get more partner feedback," Yang said. "There has been a culture change in Asia Pacific in terms of getting feedback rather than making top-down decisions without listening to partners. We see HPE being much more open, listening and getting partner feedback."

Another example of Davis' drive for OpsDev-like business transformation: a new Tech Pro Academy offering aimed at providing incentives and rewards to partner pre-sales digital transformation specialists. "That's a revolutionary program that is going to be rolled out globally," Yang said. "HPE is pushing the needle tremendously. I haven't seen anything like this from any of the vendors we work with."

With Davis at the helm, Yang said he expects HPE to drive further channel transformation with innovative new offerings. All the channel changes coming from the Next restructuring are a sign of Davis' drive and determination to simplify the organization to accelerate partner sales growth and customer satisfaction, he said.

Yang said he sees HPE's Next initiative driving sales growth in every segment of Microware Limited's business including software offerings like VMware and Citrix

Ken Lamneck, CEO of Insight Enterprises, the national $5.5 billion solution provider behemoth that has been driving double-digit HPE sales growth, said he expects "big upsides" for partners from the HPE Next restructuring.

"This is about simplifying the organization so clients and partners find it easier to do business with HPE," said Lamneck. "This is de-layering the processes to move things faster: for example getting price quotes quicker. What they are doing today is going to make it even better for partners going forward."

Lamneck said he views the restructuring as the next step in HPE CEO Meg Whitman's channel-first offensive. "HPE has been very consistent that the channel is a big leverage point," he says. "Meg has done a really good job of focusing the company on the data center. They have de-layered the company, moving the software and services assets out. It is very focused. We are very excited and bullish about what the future looks like with them."