HPE Flattens Its Channel Organization, Samuels Leading New Channels-Alliances Offensive

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is flattening its channel organization as part of its Next initiative eliminating layers of management by combining its channels and alliances groups under a single organization headed by Global Channel Chief Denzil Samuels.

Under the restructuring, HPE has combined all indirect organizations (value added resellers, channel programs/operations, big system integrator alliances, the big India six alliances, the top ISV alliances, Internet of Things alliances and OEM alliances) under a single Channel and Alliances organization headed by Samuels, who reports to HPE Enterprise Chief Sales Officer Phil Davis.

"The future belongs to the fast," said Samuels in an exclusive interview with CRN. "We had too many layers. We couldn't make decisions fast enough. We have now become lean, mean, agile and fast, and that is going to help us really compete hard. The people most scared about this are going to be our competitors. They know we are going to be fast now, and they weren't worried about that before."

[Related: HPE Global Channel Chief Samuels On Removing Layers, Making Decisions Faster, Synergy's Impact On VMware, And Why Competitors Are 'Scared' Of HPE]

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Ultimately the changes will drive bigger margins for partners, said Samuels. "We are going flat and we are going to expand what indirect means, and we are going to have it under one umbrella – one partner program," said Samuels. "That is going to drive value and greater margins. As we shift from volume to value it is going to drive greater margins for partners and better outcomes for customers."

In an internal memo, Samuels outlined his new team to continue to drive the partner business forward, which accounts for more than 70 percent of HPE's annual sales. Among Samuels' direct reports charged with "driving maximum value and efficiency" in the channel is George Hope, the former top global sales executive for SimpliVity, which was acquired by HPE earlier this year, as the top executive overseeing HPE's top partner accounts and channel enablement.

"I am thrilled about the role George is going to play," said Samuels, a former GE Digital and Salesforce.com top channel executive, who joined HPE nine months ago as the head of HPE's global channel business. "He is going to help us manage very effectively all our to accounts. We now have one point of escalation for everyone one of our top 15 accounts around the world. That is powerful."

Jesse Chavez, a six-year HPE veteran, will continue to oversee worldwide channel programs, said Samuels, "helping us streamline and roll out channel programs for our partners globally."

Samuels said the restructuring takes HPE one step closer to having a single partner program that encompasses the broad range of partners including ISV and system integrator alliances as well as OEM and Internet of Things partners. "What we are doing by making this change is we are truly driving the start of that shift from volume to value," said Samuels.

In order to "maintain strong focus" on distributors, Samuels has "elevated" the global account managers that work with distributors including: Emily David, a three-year HPE veteran who manages Tech Data/Avnet; Paul McGrath, who joined HPE in May, to manage the Ingram Micro relationship; and Bob Devita to oversee the Synnex relationship. HPE is searching for a global account manager to work with Arrow.

As for system integrators, Samuels has appointed David Roberts, a highly regarded channel veteran, to oversee the top ’Global 5’ system integrators(,Accenture, Capgemini, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC) and Mayur Bharath – a 20 year HPE veteran to oversee ’India 6’ system integrators (Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consulting Services, HCL, Infosys and Cognizant).

Other appointments include: David Stone – a two year HPE veteran and former KPMG executive – to oversee the partnership with DXC, Carrie Francey – a two-year HPE veteran and former 10-year Microsoft veteran, to oversee the Microsoft alliance, and Drew Iocone – a two-year HPE veteran who formerly headed the SAP relationship at Cisco – to oversee SAP alliance. In addition, Haji Munshi who joined HPE in January, will oversee GE Digital, HP Inc., Micro Focus, and Citrix; while Xavier Poisson, a 19-year HPE veteran, will manage HPE's Cloud 28+ service provider partnerships and Jeff Akers, will oversee OEM and IoT sales.

"My message to partners is we are going to be able to make decisions with you a lot quicker, whether that decision is a turnaround time for a price quote, strategic outreach to areas or white space we need to go after or escalation of issues," said Samuels. "We have removed layers. Between our top accounts and myself there is ultimately one layer. We are not going to have six or seven layers as we have had in previous structures."

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 sees the restructuring as the next step in making it easier for partners and customers to do business with HPE. "This is de-layering to move things faster," he said. "It simplifies things. It makes it easier for us to do business with HPE. That is really important as we deal with clients who have big demands on us. We view this as big upsides for the channel."