HP Channel Execs: We'll Fund Small Solution Providers Too


"My message to partners is, give us your ideas. Give us your proposals about how we can work together to co-fund and co-invest in that and#91;SMBand#93; segment and we will gladly listen and gladly work with you," said Adrian Jones, HP's vice president and general manager, Americas Solution Partners Organization. "You've just happened to see one of those plans and#91;CDWand#93;, but we've invested in large partners. We've invested in small partners. And we are going to continue to invest in the SMB market. If we've got partners that feel that they can help us reach the SMB space, please give us a call."

Jones's comments came in response to a sharp reaction by some HP solution providers to news that HP plans to co-fund 110 HP-only salespeople at CDW and feed them leads culled from Dun and Bradstreet, HP direct and partners sales data. CDW said in an internal memo that the leads could generate more than 500,000 new SMB customers for the company to target.

Solution providers said they feared that CDW's new HP sales people would be calling into their existing accounts giving a large, HP-subsidized partner an unfair pricing advantage. The result would be share shift and channel conflict rather than incremental gains for HP, they said.

HP channel executives declined comment on the specifics of the CDW-HP Alliance revealed in an internal CDW memo obtained by Everything Channel last week. But Tom LaRocca, HP's vice president of partner development and programs, said HP won't fund channel strategies that result in share shift.

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"We are not going to green light a plan where all we are doing is taking business that somebody is already getting and put it through a different partner," he said. "That is not interesting and doesn't make any sense for us. We also don't want something where we are just going to have to manage conflict out there." Added Jones, "We would not invest in CDW or other companies unless we felt we could get net new business without the channel conflict. We are not interested in dilution. We are not interested in share shift."

Jim Conley, senior partner at Datacore Consulting, an HP-only solution provider in Cleveland, said HP would be better served by increasing its investment in smaller solution providers.

"HP has never offered me anything," he said. "HP is missing the boat and#91;in SMBand#93;. If HP poured half as much money into making their partner programs easier, more accessible and of higher quality, they would reach a lot more people than they would with CDW."

Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, an HP solution provider in Green Bay, Wisc., said he wasn't concerned about HP feeding CDW "cold-call" leads, which he said are extremely difficult to turn into actual sales.

Instead, he said HP's SMB solution providers have been asking HP to give them good leads that they can quickly turn into sales. "I still think HP cares about the small reseller and if this program comes out to blatantly strike us down and go around us, that would be bad," he said. "I just don't see them being that nave to risk the damage that could be done if they gave CDW any warm, serious leads."