HPE’s $1B Partner Ready Bonanza: 8 Things You Need to Know

Here’s a look at eight big investments HPE is making in its new $1 billion Partner Ready program to fuel an Everything-as-a-Service partner transformation.


GreenLake: The ‘Biggest Opportunity’ For Partners

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Monday officially launched its $1 billion incentive-packed new Partner Ready program with a host of investments aimed at accelerating its Everything-as-a-Service software pivot.

As part of the stepped-up GreenLake sales offensive, HPE is tripling its GreenLake channel investment and for the first time adding a GreenLake sales quota for HPE sales reps.

“GreenLake is the biggest opportunity for partners,” said HPE Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope (pictured) in an interview with CRN. “It is margin-rich, and it is sticky. If you get GreenLake into an account and you start showing the value to the customer in that account, you are immovable from that point forward. You are their strategic vendor and it is just a matter of time before they move more workloads onto GreenLake.”

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To fuel the GreenLake sales charge, HPE is maintaining its 17 percent robust up-front rebate for GreenLake channel deals and adding new GreenLake business planning workshops aimed at helping partners move to the pay-per-use, consumption-based GreenLake sales model.

Partners have a huge opportunity to move the 70 percent of the workloads that remain on-premises to a GreenLake model, said Hope.

“You can’t move everything to the public cloud [because of data sovereignty, apps entanglement and other issues], but if we bring the cloud to you, you can move those workloads onto the cloud with a consumption model in which you just pay for what you use. It’s an enormous opportunity [for partners]. It is super-profitable for them and it creates customers for life.”

A GreenLake Services Bonanza

As part of the stepped-up GreenLake sales offensive, HPE is tripling its GreenLake channel investment, adding GreenLake sales specialists to help partners close deals and for the first time adding a GreenLake sales quota for HPE sales reps

HPE has remained steadfastly committed to providing that 17 percent up-front margin on the GreenLake deals to help partners make that transformation to a recurring revenue business model, said Jesse Chavez, vice president of worldwide partner programs and operations for HPE.

GreenLake remains at the top of the HPE 5X compensation multiplier category alongside HPE Ezmeral container and AI operations software and HPE OneView management software.

Ultimately, recurring revenue services are a key to driving growth for partners, said Chavez. “For partners that go down the GreenLake path, that is the biggest thing for them,” he said. “It really changes their EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization].”

That Everything-as-a-Service transformation changes the financial health of a solution provider. HPE, for its part, has established a consumption services annualized revenue run rate as part of its balance sheet, said Chavez.

Partners are adding their own services to the mix as part of a full suite of managed services that they are adding to GreenLake, said Chavez.

“There are all kinds of services margins that partners are making with GreenLake,” he said. “We highly recommend partners surround GreenLake with their own services.”

Additional Margin For New Account Wins

HPE is adding an additional 6 percent to 12 percent margin to partners for new account logo wins.

HPE also is putting extra emphasis on new account logo wins in the new Partner Ready program, said Hope.

“We want to make it lucrative for our partner community to crack open new accounts with the new account bonus incentive,” he said.

Partners need to embrace the HPE Everything-as-a-Service sales strategy, said Hope.

“It may not be for every customer today, but for some customers it is going to be a game-changer,” he said. “Partners need to get used to positioning it. That is where the business is going. It may not be tomorrow or this year, but everybody is going to have to get there. We believe we are a couple of years ahead of everybody else with our approach to this.”

A Primera Storage Sales Blitz

HPE is mounting a massive 3Par to Primera upgrade initiative for the new fiscal year.

HPE Primera is part of the 3X storage compensation multiplier in Partner Ready, and 3Par has been removed from that 3X multiplier category.

HPE estimates 70 percent of the 3Par installed base will move to Nimble with the remaining 30 percent going to Primera, said Chavez. “We are seeing a huge increase in Primera sales in the channel,” he said.

The storage sales effort includes a Primera Storage Opportunity Engine (PSOE), which uses the AI-based InfoSight platform to provide recommendations on migrating workloads from 3Par to Primera. “That will result in a reduction in time partners need to spend to move 3Par to one of those platforms,” he said.

HPE is mining its 3Par installed base data to help partners drive the migration to Nimble and Primera.

Dell Technologies, for its part, has made its PowerStore storage a major part of its new fiscal year sales drive with a 20 percent channel commission.

Chavez said HPE is providing 17 percent for partners on storage sales and another 3 percent for distribution.

Dell is “basically just copying what we do, which is typical,” said Chavez. “That is what they do every year. Anytime we announce something, they are right behind us. We are their north star.”

A large number of the GreenLake deals are storage-based, said Chavez.

An SMB Sales Offensive

HPE is once again doubling down on SMB for the new Partner Ready program, said Chavez.

To that end, HPE is bringing new Flex Offers to the SMB market with a distributor tool that allows partners to go to a distributor’s website to get special SMB built-to-order Flex Offers and promotions.

“We are actually making enhancements to that so that we are bringing a CTO [configure-to- order] experience to the SMB space. … You’ll see a lot more promotions in the SMB space regarding Flex Offers.”

HPE said it has built the new CTO capability into its HPE iQuote tool, a streamlined quoting tool that provides partners with preapproved discounts and promotional prices in real time.

SMB remains a “key area” of focus for fiscal year 2021, said Chavez.

HPE Financial Services SMB Full-Court Press

HPE’s Financial Services unit is adding new incentive enablement and training targeted at the SMB market.

“Those financial services are really important right now with all the financial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic,” said Eric Loe, senior director of HPE Partner Ready and go-to- market strategy. “To have a financial services arm like HPE [Financial Services] focused on SMB working with partners is really a big deal.”

HPE Financial Services has even moved EMEA Managing Director Paul Sheeran into a new SMB role.

“For HPE [Financial Services], this is going to be a big deal,” said Chavez. “For SMB, it’s going to be part of their channel rewards with up to 5 percent [for partners] that recommend or refer a customer to HPE [Financial Services] in the SMB space.”

A Data-Driven Digital-First Marketing Revolution

HPE is stepping up its digital marketing lead generation program by tightly tying digital marketing with its inside sales force.

“We are combining the inside sales muscle with digital marketing,” said Hope. “What we are finding is that in these [pandemic] times we have to have a more effective use of marketing dollars. Digital marketing is the way to go.”

HPE is mounting a “data-driven, digital-first” omni-channel marketing offensive to power partner success, said Hope. The aim is a three times return over traditional marketing methods, he said.

To that end, HPE is establishing a strong collaborative relationship between partners and the inside sales organization with a focus on driving new account opportunities, said Hope.

“It’s creating demand in the new normal,” said Hope. “It is looking at customers’ propensity to buy and aligning them with sellers real time.”

Automating Deal Registration

HPE is automating deal registration and special pricing as part of Partner Ready.

In fact, a key part of HPE’s Partner Ready investments are aimed at making operational enhancements to make it easier for partners to transact with HPE.

“If there is one thing we are focused on significantly this year, it is partner experience,” said Hope. “The enhancements on that [deal registration] side are going to result in a quick turnaround on registrations, a quicker turnaround on pricing, leveraging virtualized demos and POCs [proofs of concept].”

HPE is also increasingly leveraging its AI prowess to improve the partner experience, said Hope.

“We have invested heavily in tools to help our partners reduce friction and accelerate sales,” he said.

“The midmarket is ripe for transformation,” said Hope. “We think there is a big opportunity for transformation in the midmarket and SMB.”

HPE GreenLake Everything-As-A-Service Leadership

HPE—which committed to moving its full product portfolio to Everything as a Service—is maintaining its Everything-as-a-Service lead with the new Partner Ready program, said Chavez.

To that end, HPE is making a big investment in helping partners make the recurring revenue business outcome GreenLake transition with virtual HPE transformation workshops.

The “HPE GreenLake Introduction and Business Planning Workshop” consists of consultative sessions with GreenLake transformation experts who advise partners on making the business model shift to pay per use.

HPE, in fact, has put together a dedicated team to conduct the GreenLake transformation workshops. “The feedback we are getting from partners is it has been very useful for them,” he said. “That has proven to be quite successful.”

Dell Technologies and Cisco Systems both recently said they are moving more aggressively into the Everything-as-a-Service market.

“We’ve been at this for a while, starting with Flex Capacity 10 years ago,” said Chavez of the continued Partner Ready Everything-as-a-Service sales charge. “We have a lot of history in building this out. Obviously we made enhancements to the overall GreenLake program three years ago with GreenLake 3.0. We have learned a lot. There’s a lot of lessons. It’s not an easy thing to do for partners to migrate from Capex to Everything as a Service.”

HPE recently took aim at Dell Technologies’ Project Apex Everything as-a-Service launch, saying its rival has a long way to go to catch up to HPE.

“With Project Apex, Dell is finally responding to the strategy HPE initiated three-plus years ago when we began to build our GreenLake business, and announced our company commitment to offer our portfolio as a service by 2022, and subsequently introduced HPE GreenLake Central,” said HPE in a statement provided to CRN.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, meanwhile, recently told CRN that the company is working on operationalizing its Everything-as-a-Service transition with most of the work expected to be done in the next several months.

“The teams are working on getting all of it nailed down and I think it’ll be it’ll be probably one of those examples where I said at the end of my [Partner Summit 2020 Digital] keynote that we’ll make some mistakes, and we’ll learn, and we’ll fix them,” he said.

HPE’s Chavez, for his part, said competitors are going to find it is not so easy to match HPE’s Everything-as-a-Service prowess, which includes a robust metering capability from its acquisition of Cloud Cruiser in 2017. “That was a big game-changer for us,” he said. “I don’t think that Dell has that capability. They are going to go through their teething pains. We are far ahead of them. Our partners are telling us we are at least two to three years ahead of those competitors.”