Partners Pumped To Take On Cisco After Breaking Bread With Hurd

Fueled by new sales incentives, top solution provider executives that met with HP CEO Mark Hurd Monday said they are pumped to attack the networking market hand in hand with HP in the battle against Cisco.

Hurd, HP Enterprise Sales Executive Vice President Ann Livermore and HP Senior Vice President of Networking Marius Haas outlined HP's battle plan to take down Cisco in the networking market in a three and a half hour roundtable with 64 top channel executives that took place at HP's Americas Partner Conference. After the roundtable, the top partner executives had dinner with Hurd at one of the restaurants at Aria where the conference is being held this week.

Hurd will address all of HP's thousand plus partners attending the conference at a keynote session tomorrow morning. Partners at the networking roundtable session with Hurd said the HP CEO did not take shots at Cisco or demand that partners be 100 percent HP exclusive, but rather focused on HP's strong networking value proposition.

Rich Baldwin, CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP partner, said HP is committed to doubling and tripling the incentives for partners in the networking business. "We are totally behind HP," said Baldwin. "They have really rounded out the product portfolio well." The bottom line, says Baldwin: 50 percent better networking performance than Cisco and 30 percent lower cost than Cisco. "They've got the numbers to back it up," said Baldwin.

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Andy Bryant, president of global enterprise computing solutions for Arrow,one of HP's large enterprise distributors,, said he is excited about the incentives HP is putting behind the networking business for Arrow's solution provider partners.

"HP is leveraging their position," said Bryant. "They have a strong enterprise position. They have filled out the portfolio and have something to talk about. They are the number two networking company in the world with the 3Com deal. It's a real exciting time."

Bryant said that HP is putting together financial incentive stacks that make it very attractive for HP partners to go "All In" with HP in the networking market.

Next: Suppliers Sharpen Channel Focus

Bryant said all of the enterprise suppliers are attempting to sharpen their channel focus and make resellers invest with them. "There is consolidation going on and a big battle for the data center," he said. "I am sure other enterprise suppliers who are smart are making it worth the reseller's time and energy to go into a sales cycle. But not everybody is smart."

One top HP partner, who did not want to be identified, said ultimately partners working with both HP and Cisco are going to be forced to choose either HP or Cisco in the networking battle. "If you don't align with one or the other, you could lose both of them as partners," he said. "You are going to have to choose."

The HP partner said the HP now has all of the critical networking components to sell a complete HP solution. "They never had that before," he said. "Now you can go all HP."

The HP partner complimented Hurd and his executive team for doing a great job in helping partners win deals. That kind of HP sales account engagement is likely to be more critical as HP goes head to head against Cisco in big networking solution sales.

HP finalized its $2.7 billion acquisition of networking power 3Com earlier this month and is using its Americas partner conference to rally partners to drive more networking sales with HP.

Randy Seidl, HP's senior vice president of the Americas, Enterpise Servers Storage and Networking, has promised partners that go to market with HP will see a significant increase in sales growth and profitability. "We have a stronger value proposition relative to the margins they can get," says Seidl. "And we have a more mature, disciplined channel."