10 Challenges That HP Wants Partners To Tackle Right Now

The Calm After The Storm For HP

With new CEO Meg Whitman at the helm, Hewlett-Packard finally has some much-needed stability, and that's inevitably going to have a positive trickle-down effect on the channel. HP's business unit chiefs, who each oversee businesses that are massive in their own right, are as excited as anyone to put the turmoil behind them, roll up their sleeves and, with the participation of channel partners, get back to work.

HP plans to continue running its lucrative hardware businesses while also building expertise in areas such as software and cloud computing. In advance of next week's Global Partner Conference, CRN spoke with some of HP's top executives to get their take on the key technology opportunities HP partners should be focusing on right now.

1. Transforming The Infrastructure Industry

"We have very ambitious goals. In ESSN, we are transforming the infrastructure industry ... and helping customers get to what are going to be the next generation architectures for infrastructure.

It's an incredibly ambitious agenda. But if you look at HP based on brand, global reach, technology and supply chain and our partners, we have all the tools to enable a transformation like this to take place.

We're already seeing evidence of that in the marketplace right now. In networking, we're one of two companies in the world with double digit market share. In storage, 3PAR is growing at more than 100 percent year over year. We're clearly seeing lots of customers adopt that new solution."

--David Donatelli, EVP, Enterprise Servers, Storage And Networking

2. Boosting HP Software Sales Through The Channel

"Partners contribute about 60 percent of HP Software's revenue. Frankly, I think it should be well above 60 percent. The thing that is really striking to me is what an opportunity we have from a cross-selling capability for partners. [HP software is] easy and clear for partners to sell, from applications to operations, or security to operations management. Those are very logical adjacencies technically but audiences are different, and that represents opportunities for partnership."

--Bill Veghte, Chief Strategy Officer, EVP, HP Software

3. Embracing Managed Print Services

"Services are becoming a big deal. We got into managed print services five years ago and are essentially the leader now, with 3,100 enterprise customers. We are taking that whole capability into the midmarket and SMB spaces. With our acquisition of Printelligent, we're now providing that same capability to channel partners.

We want to make sure partners know how to sell hardware, supplies and services and solutions. It's not just about managed services -- we want them to sell solutions, like mortgage processes and digitizing file cabinets."

--Vyomesh Joshi, EVP, Imaging & Printing Group

4. Getting Up To Speed With Autonomy

"Autonomy has been a very channel-based organization. We have a whole series of channel partners that we work with. Obviously, the beauty of that is that our partners can just deal with our business unit directly and get all the hardware as part of the same package and, of course, the appliances.

All of this technology is becoming available to the broader HP channel. What [partners have] got there are completely new areas that they can address.

The reason why Autonomy was so valuable is that it's a unique asset. There is nothing out there that has the ability and scale to understand the meaning of human-friendly information."

--Mike Lynch, EVP, Information Management Division; Founder, CEO, Autonomy

5. Prepping For Windows 8 and IT Consumerization

"Consumerization of IT is clearly a challenge. Where those small customers transact with us, be it a retail shop or small VAR, making sure they get the same degree of service that anyone gets is a huge challenge for us.

We've got big transitions coming with Windows 8. How we do that cleanly and crislply is always an important milestone for us. We also need to continue communicating crisply and clearly -- even after the Aug. 18 and Oct. 27 [PSG] announcements, we still have an enormous amount of work to do to get our message out."

--Todd Bradley, EVP, Personal Systems Group

6. Selling And Evangelizing Cloud

"Cloud is a multibillion-dollar business for HP today. If you look at how we're working with partners in the cloud, there are a bunch of opportunities out there. CloudSystem, which is in essence a private cloud with hardware and software provided by HP, we have over 500 customers.

We work with partners on Cloud Centers of Excellence, which they can use to demonstrate and help customers move to cloud. They've launched over 100 Cloud Centers Of Excellence since last summer."

--David Donatelli

7. Selling Cross-Portfolio Solutions

"We have significantly enhanced HP's Software portfolio in the last 18 months. Our ability to offer partners a broader menu of offerings should be a boon for them. An operations partner can be a security partner, for example. And there are a whole bunch of ESSN partners thinking about how to expand their position. They look at things like security and operations management as a logical extension.

With HP Software, ESSN and CloudSystem, we've got great products that can be integrated and provide the fastest way to bootstrap a cloud. That assembly [lets] an HP Software partner participate in private cloud in a way they wouldn't be able to do otherwise. For ESSN partners, marrying management and orchestration software enables higher-margin and revenue growth for them."

--Bill Veghte

8. Bundling Print Solutions With Autonomy

"Autonomy and IPG assets are an opportunity for us to think about what we can do for office automation. … Autonomy is a fantastic acquisition for IPG because if you think of cloud in terms of on-ramps and off-ramps, we create the information life cycle. Autonomy plays a very central role. If you think about Exstream Software, which we acquired [in 2008], that's more like a content aggregation piece. Autonomy makes it searchable, and they also have document management with iManage."

-- Vyomesh Joshi

9. Understanding Where Autonomy Fits

"What Autonomy does is allow computers to understand human-friendly information like e-mail, video and audio. Ninety percent of the information in enterprises is in this format, and it's growing three times faster than traditional information.

It is very storage-hungry -- if you have a piece of audio or video, you're chewing through storage -- so obviously this fits very well with HP's storage business. Understanding this information also requires good processing power, so it’s a big driver for the server business.

Even areas like PSG, there's Autonomy tech going into their future products. And with print technology, Autonomy [can be] used there to make printing interactive with things like visual recognition."

--Mike Lynch

10. Getting New Partners Up To Speed On Selling HP

"Net new partners who came from competitors sold over $300 million in HP products in fiscal 2011, and that was just in the U.S. Our fiscal year starts Nov. 1, and we recruited all these partners, trained them, and they went out and sold $300 million. So we expect those numbers to continue to ramp, not only in the U.S. but also globally."

--David Donatelli