HPE Is Giving Partners ‘The Foundation to Create Their Own Destiny:’ HPE’s George Hope

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope says the company’s new Partner Ready Vantage program is giving partners the ‘foundation to create their own destiny.’

HPE Is Creating A New ‘Future’

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is leading the charge to a new Everything-as-a-Service channel future for partners with its new Partner Ready Vantage program, said HPE Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope.

“HPE is creating a new future and we want partners to come on this journey with us,” said Hope. “The market is changing fast. Customers are demanding a new consumption approach to their digital transformations and that is why we are changing our own business so quickly, enabling even our core business to be consumed in an as-a-service way that better supports customer goals and desired outcomes.”

The new Partner Ready Vantage program is designed to spark partners to offer their own intellectual property and branded services on the GreenLake cloud platform, said Hope. The program will be rolled out in phases, HPE said, with the first details coming at the start of HPE’s new fiscal year on Nov. 1.

In the meantime, HPE is maintaining its Partner Ready program for the foreseeable future with traditional robust GreenLake incentives like the 17 percent up-front rebate on GreenLake deals.

The new program maintains HPE’s “partner-first” commitment, which has powered triple-digit GreenLake channel sales growth in the last several quarters, said Hope.

“One thing that isn’t changing is our commitment to partners of all kinds,” he said. “Partners are at the heart of our edge-to-cloud vision, and our strategy has been built with the same partner-first mentality that we have always had. We are focused on finding new ways to put our partners first with choice, flexibility and the opportunity to adapt and grow their business wherever they are on their as-a-service journey.”

Ultimately, the new Partner Ready Vantage program “flips the script” with HPE focused on being a part of its partners’ ecosystem, said Hope. “Most vendors think of the partners as part of their ecosystem; we are starting to look at it as being a part of the partner’s ecosystem,” he said.

HPE is moving to measure partners on their ability to surround HPE GreenLake with services that provide a better customer experience, said Hope. “It’s a little bit of a different view as this thing evolves from what would have looked like a traditional partner program to something we think builds off that and provides a better experience to not only the partners but the customers,” he said.

What is the thinking behind the new HPE Everything-as-a-Service channel ecosystem program?

As the customers evolve and we evolve the strategy to support them, it is critical that the channel program follows suit. So we need to be as innovative on the program side and build off our industry-leading Partner Ready program. [HPE Vice President of Worldwide Partner Programs and Operations] Jesse [Chavez (pictured)] and his team have done quite a bit of work over the past couple of years using the [Wayne] Gretzky term of ‘skating to where the puck is going.’

What is the clarion call for partners as you launch this new GreenLake ecosystem program?

The biggest difference here and you are going to see it start to play out in the [ecosystem channel] program conversation is: Win with our vision and your business model. And business model means something very, very different than partner type.

We have distributors, resellers, service providers and [systems integrators] and ISVs. We have a whole bunch of different partners in the ecosystem, but we are looking at the partners more around their business model versus what they are. It is more about what they do than what they are. What we are seeing is that they all have multiple business models. So you’ll see a partner that is a reseller and a managed service provider and a consultant and they do AppDev. They have multiple personas. [CRN parent The Channel Company’s IPED has said that partners on average have 4.7 different personas.] So we are building the strategy around multiple personas and the fact that there is an evolution.

There is a convergence around three things: the partners leading with their own IP. That is the stickiness. We want to encourage partners to lead with their IP, to create solutions based on our technology, not necessarily just sell our technology.

We have a partner in Germany that has their own branded offering that their reps sell. They sell their offering. Our offering just happens to be embedded in their offering.

We called it in the past Powered By [GreenLake]. It is their solution powered by GreenLake. GreenLake is the foundation that enables them to drive their solution.

Everybody is becoming a service provider. Everybody is creating managed [services] offerings in some way, shape or form, whether they are managing something owned by somebody else or they are owning it and managing it. There are a lot of different managed offerings in their portfolio. We give the partners choice.

So if you look at some of the product strategies we have like storage, the product itself can be owned by the customer, it can be owned by the partner, it can be owned by us. It can be managed by the customer, it can be managed by the partner, it can be managed by us. The solutions kind of align to those different business models.

How does recurring revenue play in this new ecosystem model?

Everybody is starting to move to ARR [annualized recurring revenue]. Recurring revenue is driving higher valuations. You have seen, particularly in the U.S., the [number] of acquisitions. There have been 300-plus acquisitions [in the channel].

You see big private equity companies buying up partners, aggregating partners and pulling them together, grabbing the expertise of the different partners and the breadth of customers and creating uber partners. You also have some of big partners acquiring some of the smaller ones because recurring revenue changes the valuation. We are starting to see a lot more of that.

When we talk about where we are heading in our strategy, it is how do we embrace all those different business models and how do they all have a home.
What are the three pillars of the HPE ecosystem initiative?

It is own your journey, partner as one team and drive a better experience. We are aligning what we do with those three areas. So own your journey is recognizing that customers are evolving at different paces, therefore the partners that are selling to them are also evolving at different paces.

We want to make sure that we are leading the charge in helping the ones that are ready to evolve today and we also have a home for those that still have customers that are focused more on our core offerings. So we are trying to double down on the ones that are ready today without leaving the rest behind. And when they are ready—because their customers will dictate the pace at which they evolve—we are ready for them.

We are even accelerating some of that with some of the offerings. We have legacy GreenLake, as you think about it. But there are also the core products that are now being managed cloud-natively like with Compute Ops Manager or the Data Services Cloud Console.

So we are starting to bifurcate between the product and the functionality. Now the functionality is being more cloud-enabled. So people are getting on to the platform by virtue of just buying core products from us that just happen to have a subscription that comes with them.

The partners that are ready for that journey have leadership and executives that are sponsoring it. There is an owner to it. We are talking to the right people extending the cloud message, going to hybrid.

So [some partners] sell public cloud. Great. What about the other 70 [percent to] 80 percent of the workloads? What are you doing to go after those? We have a way for you go to after that. We are investing dollars specifically in helping partners build out and drive practices.

So what is ‘partner as a team?’

Partner as a team is essentially an ecosystem play.

We are contemplating all the different partner types. The distribution marketplaces are key for us, the relationships we have with the ISVs, the relationships we have with the colos like Digital Realty, where we expanded our capacity to 85 percent of the world’s colo capacity in partnership with us. Even the hyperscalers: [HPE President and CEO Antonio [Neri] just talked about our Google Cloud partnership. In March we announced Microsoft Azure HCI.

Then it is about the [cloud] experience. We just had our Partner Advisory Board a month ago and all of our partners said, ‘Simple wins; make this easy [for us].’

We are working on driving the experience whether that is through the marketplaces, or through the tools like Quick Quote, and some of our integrated quoting or contract simplification. There are so many ways we have been making that [cloud] experience better.

Anybody can say, ‘Here is our program.’ but the operational piece that supports it and the tools that actually make it real are critical to being able to execute it. And Jesse and his team have that wired.

What is the path for current partners and new born-in-the-cloud partners?

We have a path for our traditional resellers and we have a place for the rest of them to come into the program.

What is the bottom-line impact on partner profitability in the new ecosystem model?

They are going to make more money on IP and services than they would ever make on product.

It is not all services-based but services are the differentiators and will compound your reward.

We started out with it is all about the customer and what the customer needs, This is giving partners the ability to evolve with the customers and to be able to take advantage of where the customers are heading and offer them what they need: to focus on the outcomes, to build the services and the capabilities and the solutions powered by GreenLake. We are giving partners the platform, the foundation to create their own destiny.

Can you give us an update on the GreenLake Everything-as-a Service channel numbers from the most recent quarter?

We had 155 percent growth on GreenLake indirect. That was the 20th consecutive quarter of growth but the second consecutive triple-digit growth.

We have seen a lot more repeatability with partners doing multiple deals. That crosses reseller, distribution, service provider and [systems integrator] all having significant growth. It is an ecosystem play versus just a few resellers selling it.

In the quarter we had 112 new logos indirect. These aren’t just customers expanding their environments. These are brand-new customers to the platform in all geographies.