HPE Launches Dedicated North America Storage Business Unit


Hewlett Packard Enterprise is accelerating its storage sales offensive with the creation of a new dedicated business unit in North America with robust new incentives to drive partner storage sales growth.

The new 550 employee unit – which is aiming to grow the storage business at 25 percent in the current fiscal year – is doubling the incentives for new logo wins for partners.

In addition, the new business unit will have a dedicated new logo deal desk with a one-hour turnaround on pricing aimed at winning new customer deals.

The storage sales offensive is being backed up by a strict 100 percent midrange 3Par and Nimble channel sales model.

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"This is a way for us to clarify our solution set in an exploding market," said HPE North America Managing Director Dan Belanger, the driving force behind the new business unit. "Creating a storage business organizationally within North America with top-to-bottom responsibility allows us to be really clear in our strategy, communication and consistency with partners."

Belanger is adding new sales muscle to drive the growth of the business, including a whopping five-times increase in inside sales reps from 20 to 100 reps chartered with driving new account lead generation working hand in hand with partners.

Belanger is also adding 50 new dedicated storage reps in the field – a 10 percent increase – to power sales growth in the channel.

Last but not least, he is directing the new unit to team the top 50 storage partners in North America with a district manager that is responsible for driving monthly business reviews with the partners.

The laser like focus from the new organization is going to be "empowering" for HPE partners, said Belanger.

"If you just look at the sheer mass of opportunity that we have storage is essential," said Belanger. "It is the tip of the sphere for much of what we do. The whole strategy of the company is around hybrid IT, the edge and services, but all of that at the end of the day is about workloads and data. Storage is fundamental to the success of the company moving forward."

The new storage unit gives every partner in North America "competing for this huge market a chance to look at us as and ask the question: 'What company has a clear strategy and complete differentiation on both the product and solution side of the business?'" said Belanger. "That is us. That is HPE."

The inspiration for the new organization came directly from seeing the success Aruba – the HPE wireless network intelligent edge market leader – has achieved as a separate organization under the HPE umbrella, said Belanger.

"Aruba competes as almost a separate company within the HPE structure," he said. "They know who their primary competitors are. From their planning to execution it is all about winning in that market against their competitors first and then drafting off the HPE ecosystem."

Belanger has named Andrew Manners, an 18-year channel-savvy HPE storage veteran, to lead the new dedicated storage organization.

Manners – who will be leading a team of 550 employees laser focused on storage – said he is confident that the new organization will hit the 25 percent sales growth target.

"The storage market in the U.S. is a $20 billion opportunity," said Manners. "The size of the market is huge with the explosive growth of data and the fact that data is core to every customer's business makes it critical to the customer. It is one of the largest available markets for partners to pursue. It is services rich and the partners have ample services to deliver."

Manners said the dedicated new logo deal desk with a one-hour turnaround on pricing is going to be key to driving new business wins with partners. "Our customers are moving at lightning speed so we need to move at lightning speed," he said. "The No. 1 reason we lose deals is because we haven't provided the customer the pricing in the time frame they require it."

The HPE storage district managers will also be key to driving sales plans in the field with the top partners in North America. "We want them to be 100 percent involved in the channel's success and 100 percent dependent on the channel for success," said Manners of the storage district sales manager structure."What we are doing is moving the [storage] intitiative closer to the field to the individual sales reps and solution architects."

At the heart of the storage sales charge is HPE InfoSight – HPE's artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics software platform – and HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity – which has given partners for the first time ever the ability to compete head to head against public cloud with a pay per use model.

InfoSight and GreenLake provide major competitive advantages for partners that no rival can match, said Belanger. "Those directly appeal to a partner's long term business plan whether it is recurring revenue through GreenLake for partners or the information they can turn into different customer experiences through InfoSight," he said.

InfoSIght is having a profound impact on customers, proactively resolving 86 percent of storage problems and at the same time leading to a 71 percent decrease in IT operating expenditures, said Belanger.

"InfoSight actually changes the economics for partners and HPE. It changes the business model," said Belanger. "AI and machine learning is exploding on the scene for all industries. It really holds the key to fundamentally disrupt services relationships or monetizing assets because of what you are doing with the power of data. And this doesn't stop. This is going to be an inflection point that takes over."

At the same time, the HPE GreenLake pay-per-use model is growing at a triple-digit rate in North America, said Belanger. "That is No. 1 on our [sales] list," he said. "The more consumption-based solutions that we can provide into the field the better it is for us. It's a rocket ship for us. It is totally unique, and storage is the biggest driver of the consumption model growth."

HPE North America Channel Chief Terry Richardson, for his part, said InfoSight and GreenLake provide a "customer for life" foundation for partners to build their business upon. "As partners think about customers for life, the more they know about their customer's data center estate the better job they can do meeting that customer's needs," he said. "They can't get that from anyone else."

HPE's top partners, who were briefed on the storage sales plan at a kick off session in Boston this week, said they expect the dedicated business unit to power dramatic channel storage sales growth.

Steve Tepedino, president and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., said he is planning on doubling his HPE storage business next year as result of the dedicated North America storage business unit investments.

"HPE Is putting their money where their mouth is," said Tepedino. "We have got new incentives for new logos and new HPE people to help us go drive new sales. The ability to go hunt new logos with HPE is going to have a big impact."

The AI and machine learning capabilities of InfoSight are going to be a big differentiator for the IT Partners sales team, said Tepedino. In fact, he sees the storage war as a battle to plant InfoSight as the seed that brings machine learning to the data center.

"It's the crown jewel," said Tepedino of InfoSight. "Nobody else has that. Imagine a private cloud or your data center powered by machine learning. When you have machine learning, what you have is a next-generation data center. That is a competitive advantage HPE has over every other company. It is artificial intelligence that makes the data center rock solid. Think about the impact. It means having no level one and no level two admins doing that work. It's huge. What can that do for our business? What can't that do for our business! The sky is the limit."

Tepedino said the partnership with HPE is stronger than it has ever been thanks to the best-ever product portfolio, innovation and channel commitment. "When you have great channel commitment and the customers want to talk about what HPE wants to talk about, good things happen," he said.

Tepedino credited Belanger with driving a dramatic structural change that is going to result in significant HPE storage sales growth. "Dan has got a channel agenda that is stellar," said Tepedino. "When he adds resources I know what it means: it means more ways to make money. More resources means more people to show up with and more ability to go get net new logos."

Felise Katz, the CEO of PKA Technologies, No. 411 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said she is implementing a storage sales plan to grow by 25 percent working "hand in hand" with HPE. "What's happening with this new storage business is huge," she said. "Better alignment with the sales team is a huge positive step. That is how we win together. It is a win-win proposition. We are looking forward to tremendous success."

A big part of the PKA sales effort is centered on InfoSight, said Katz. "It's a tremendous game changer," she said. "It gives us a tremendous edge against the competition. In 20 years of doing this I have never seen a better product portfolio or strategy. They are light years ahead of the rest of the market."

Jack Margossian, president and CEO of Comport Consulting, an HPE Platinum partner, No. 379 on the CRN SP500, said he is set to build a new sales plan based on the new dedicated North America storage sales charge.

"There is an excitement within the organization around this," said Margossian. "There is a huge cultural change going on here. This is a new HPE that is changing what they are doing. They are making the investments in the places they need to to help the channel drive this business. This is all about net new business and how we go to market together. For us that's exciting."

Margossian said the laser sharp focus on storage is spot on given the power of data management. "Over the years starting with storage is what has driven our business," he said. "Then we look at everything that we can attach and connect to that. It is about margins and where you can go. It is about where the business has to go.."

Margossian credited Belanger, Manners and Richardson for laying a foundation for big storage sales growth in 2019. "It's a great team," said Margossian. "Dan is great from a leadership and visionary perspective; Terry from a channel perspective and Andrew knows how to run the storage business. 2019 is going to be a really exciting year."

Belanger, for his part, sees the new dedicated storage business as a launching pad for growth just as HPE is hitting its stride as a more agile company. "We have done a lot of the heavy lifting that has positioned us well for this," he said. "Now it is about pure execution and speed."