HP Tweaks Incentive Programs For Storage Solution Providers

HP solution providers sold or influenced the sale of about $1 billion in storage products in 2002 and accounted for almost 75 percent of the company's storage sales for the year, said Dan Vertrees, vice president of enterprise partners, Americas region, at HP.

Under the new Partners in Excellence program launched at the conference, authorized HP storage solution providers can sell 121 software SKUs that normally require certification and can qualify for a 6 percent rebate through the end of the year.


>> Partners in Excellence program aimed at pushing HP storage software sales.
>> Noncertified HP partners

can sell 121 additional SKUs.
>> Those software sales can reap 6 percent bonus rebate.
>> Partners have until June 30 to become certified.

These partners have to become certified by June 30 or risk losing the rebate after that date, but they can benefit immediately from sales of the 121 additional products, said Ed Burke, HP's director of partner storage sales. "We are giving them the benefit of the doubt now," he said.

Gary Hazard, vice president of Atrion, a Hillsborough, N.J.-based certified HP partner, said at the conference he sees no risk of new competition from noncertified partners. He added that the certification process is a barrier to partners that are not committed to HP's software.

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"Also, selling such software is a six-month sales cycle," Hazard said, adding that it is unlikely that noncertified partners would close a deal quickly enough to qualify for the rebate.

Solution providers at the conference applauded when Vertrees also went on to remind them that when they register new business deals, they can get a business bonus for related orders placed within six months of the initial deal.

Some solution providers were surprised they had not heard about the program, which was buried in a flurry of November Partner One announcements, but said they appreciate its flexibility.

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, San Diego, said his company was unaware of the incentive. "That's a huge difference for us," he said.

Hazard concurred. "Instead of registering a $20,000 to $25,000 cluster, we can go in deep and wide for six months," he said.

The company also gave its partners a sneak peak at the EVA 3000 storage array, nicknamed "EVA Light." Intended as a lower-cost entry point to the EVA line, the EVA 3000 is expected to be unveiled in mid-April and have a capacity of up to 55 hard drives, HP sources said.