Partners say Hewlett Packard Enterprise's pledge to drive 100 percent of the sales of newly acquired hyper-converged powerhouse Simplivity and all flash superstar Nimble through partners is a channel game changer.
Michael Goldstein (pictured), CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider, said the 100 percent SimpliVity and Nimble partner pledge provides a striking competitive advantage for HPE as its steps up its hyper-converged and all-flash charge with SimpliVity and Nimble.
"They are raising the bar and keeping the bar high on making sure they are a channel first company," said Goldstein, who is considering adding both SimpliVity and Nimble to his line card in the wake of the 100 percent partner pledge. "This gives them a big competitive advantage versus competitors in the hyper-converged and all-flash markets. It really shows they are partner led on acquisitions and not resorting to old thinking."
Goldstein said he expects adding the two new product lines could double or even triple his HPE business over the course of the next year. "Those are both cutting edge technologies with high sales growth opportunities and high margins," he said. "This is a real boost to the channel."
HPE's 100 percent channel pledge for the new technologies comes with the hyper-converged market growing at a 25 percent compound annual growth rate and the all-flash market growing at a 17 percent annual compound growth rate.
HPE Channel Chief Terry Richardson said the 100 percent channel pledge is a sharp contrast to competitors. "It is a 100 percent indirect play which we think is important for our channel partners domestically and around the world to understand," he told CRN in an interview last week at the XChange 2017 conference. "Our plan for SMB is 100 percent channel and we are unwavering in that commitment. It is an important market strategy that goes to the top of HPE."
Richardson, who was voted as what amounts to the most popular channel chief in the industry as the winner of CRN's 2017 Channel Madness competition, says SimpliVity and Nimble open the door to "huge" revenue growth and high margin opportunities for partners.
"Anytime you are getting involved in those types of technologies you are talking about rapidly growing – triple-digit growth in many cases in the market – that are commanding very healthy margin dollars not only on the platform and solution sale but especially on services delivery around those platforms," Richardson said.
Erik Krucker, CTO at Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner and No. 379 on the CRN SP500, said the 100 percent partner pledge is "hugely important" in helping drive sales growth and customer satisfaction in both hyper-converged and all flash markets. He expects Comport's HPE sales to be up 20 to 30 percent this year with the strong sales growth opportunities from SimpliVity and Nimble.
Both SimpliVity and Nimble are getting more interest from customers and driving a strong sales pipeline because of the financial strength HPE has brought to those solutions, said Krucker.
Krucker said HPE's channel commitment and engagement has gotten stronger over the last four years under HPE CEO Meg Whitman.
"I have seen an evolution of HPE's channel messaging around how they view partners," he said. "When I first started at Comport four years ago there were some contentious situations around wanting to take a deal direct vs. a partner. That has completely changed. HPE is very partner focused now."
In addition to the 100 percent partner pledge on SimpliVity and Nimble, HPE has also stepped up its small medium business engagement model with a plan to add 15 new HPE badged employees to a call center to help drive SMB engagement with Silver and below partners. "We are ramping up incentives for both the distributors and the partners for the Silver and below partner community," said Richardson.
HPE is "under-represented" in the SMB partner community, said Richardson. "It tends to be a much higher growth and frankly a much higher margin category so we can afford to offer greater channel and reseller distributor incentives so people can spend their time helping us drive solutions like SimpliVity, Nimble, Gen10, Aruba and the rest of the portfolio," he said.