HPE Global Channel Chief Hunter: Next Initiative Is Driving 'Significant' Increase In Partner Sales Velocity

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Global Channel Chief Paul Hunter Wednesday said the company's Next restructuring initiative is paying off in a "significant" increase in the sales funnel for HPE partners.

"Because we are faster to price we are getting more [sales] at bats," said Hunter, speaking about speed-to-quote and speed-to-price trials that are paying off for partners. "We are seeing growth in the velocity of the business for deals to medium-sized customers. The funnel is growing quicker and the number of quotes is increasing. It's a velocity machine, and we are speeding up the amount of business we are winning."

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The HPE Next initiative speed-to-quote and speed-to-price trials have been "successful" both in the U.S. and Germany and are on track to be rolled out globally in HPE's third fiscal quarter, which begins on May 1., he said. "This is improving the overall experience of the partner delivering quotes to customers, which is the bread and butter of doing business" said Hunter. "It is simpler for the partners to transact with us. Where we are quicker, it leads to a pretty significant increase in business."

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Hunter, who took the global channel chief job six months ago, made the comments in an in an interview with CRN after a two-day, worldwide Partner Advisory Board meeting with 22 partners from 11 countries around the world.

HPE CEO Antonio Neri, the driving force behind the HPE Next initiative, a multiyear restructuring effort aimed at driving speed and agility, was front and center for the partner advisory board meeting.

"From the top down, we are completely committed to simplification and the ease of doing business," said Hunter. "This is fundamental to the future success of the company."

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of Orange, Calif.-based CB Technologies, an HPE Platinum partner and No. 245 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said the HPE Next changes are transformational.

"It is changing the opportunities and revenue stream," said Ireland, a member of the worldwide HPE Partner Advisory Board who attended the meeting. "The simplification is what everyone has been asking for. We have seen a definite transformation."

Among the major changes making a difference for CB Technologies is the move from a score of online configuration tools to a single best-in-class online configuration tool for partners. "It's like night and day," said Ireland of the difference between the old online tools and the new single configuration tool.

The Next initiative – which is expected to result in a $1.5 billion cost savings for HPE over a three-year period – includes a broad range of sweeping changes including the reduction of management layers from seven to four and a reduction in the number of internal HPE sales compensation plans from 400 to 25.

For CB Technologies, the net sales impact of the HPE Next changes is a dramatic double-digit increase in sales pipeline, said Ireland. "We are double digits ahead of where we were last year," she said. "We have a solid funnel."

Ireland said she is more convinced than ever after the two-day Partner Advisory Board meeting that HPE has the best technology strategy in the entire IT business. "No one in the industry can do what HPE can do," said Ireland. "HPE has the best of the best. We have always said that. The execution was the challenge. Now we see HPE fixing that. I can see the big light at the end of the tunnel."

Hunter, for his part, said he is "excited and energized" after getting feedback from partners on the progress the company is making to drive partner sales velocity. "What we are getting from the partner feedback is actionable insights," he said. "I am energized and enthused, but we've got a lot to do. We are not at the destination. We are on the journey."