New HPE North America Head Of Partner Sales Phil Soper: 5 Big Things To Know
New HPE North America North America Head of Partner Sales Phil Soper, a 23-year IT industry veteran who once headed up PCM Canada, has deep solution provider roots. Here are five big things to know about Soper, who is set to accelerate HPE’s GreenLake partner transformation.
A New Era For HPE North America Partner Sales
New HPE North America Head of Partner Sales Phil Soper, who is heading up a new combined US and Canada Channels & Ecosystems organization, is promising to move quickly to accelerate the HPE GreenLake partner ecosystem transformation.
“There is a great opportunity to develop, co-develop and collaborate on a digital transformation strategy that has our edge to cloud platform as its centerpiece,” Soper said. “For those that are not currently HPE ecosystem partners we are going to be engaging with them as quickly as we can to talk about how we create that born in the private cloud ecosystem.”
Ultimately, Soper said he will measure his success in the new job on the pace of transformation that takes place on his watch.
“It is not only the traditional partners who are challenged to make that transformation,” he told CRN. “There are also as (HPE North America Managing Director) Paul (Hunter) said some of the born in the cloud partners that we are not talking to. This is an opportunity for us to expand our ecosystem. It is not only about bringing those traditional partners to see the opportunity, but also attract a whole new set of ecosystem partners that are excited about our edge to cloud platform.”
Soper’s experience overseeing a cloud transformation as president of solution provider superstar PCM Canada from April 2016 to October 2019, will be critical in accelerating the HPE Channels and Ecosystem transformation, said Hunter.
As the president of PCM, Soper led the transformation of PCM “from a traditional value added reseller (VAR) to a Cloud services provider,” said Hunter in an email announcing the channel change-up.
“Phil’s background as a senior leader in the vendor and channel communities is unique,” wrote Hunter. “His industry acumen is an invaluable asset that will enable the HPE NA Channels & Ecosystem organization to accelerate execution on our priority to “perform while we transform.”
Soper Helped Transform PCM Canada Into A Cloud Powerhouse
Before taking the job overseeing HPE Canada in March 2020, Soper was the driving force behind a cloud transformation at solution provider superstar PCM Canada.
Soper drove the cloud services transformation by leading the charge on the acquisition in 2017 of Canada based Stratiform, a top notch Microsoft Azure cloud provider. That deal helped power a PCM cloud transformation and made the organization one of Microsoft’s largest cloud growth partners.
“That acquisition proved to be the major driver of strategic digital transformation engagements with customers across Canada,” wrote Robi Chamas, who worked as a member of Soper’s executive team at PCM, in a LinkedIn post.
The PCM Canada organization that Soper headed was the Canadian arm of PCM, the $2.3 billion solution provider that was acquired by Insight in 2019 for $581 million. At the time, Insight was No. 14 on the CRN SP500 and PCM was No. 30 on the CRN SP500.
The blockbuster deal gave Insight an additional 40 locations across three geographies and 4,000 employees including more than 2,700 client-facing employees in sales, technical and service delivery roles.
During his three years and seven months overseeing PCM Canada, Soper said in a LinkedIn post that PCM Canada profitability increased by 300 percent and the company retained 100 percent of the annuity services contracts from acquisitions.
Soper Spent Nearly Nine Years At CompuCom Canada
As vice president and general manager of CompuCom Canada for nearly nine years from July 2007 to April 2016, Soper headed up an organization with $300 million in sales.
In his LinkedIn profile, Soper said that as the “face of CompuCom Canada” he spearheaded the 900 employee business’ transformation from a “highly siloed organization to a cohesive and profitable unit.”
What’s more, after CompuCom’s acquisition of Saltspring and Getronics, Soper said on LinkedIn, that he led the integration efforts which resulted in a 100 percent increase in the CompuCom’s Canadian business. That performance helped earn Sopper an Enterprise Vice President of the Year honor.
CompuCom was acquired by Office Dept for $1 billion in 2017. The systems integration business of CompuCom was recently sold to an affiliate of Variant Equity Advisors, a Los Angeles based equity firm specializing in corporate divestitures.
With his nearly 12 years heading up solution provider organizations facing massive technology shifts, Soper said partners can rest assured he has walked in their shoes.
“I have been a traditional VAR if you will who faced extinction or a downward trend in my business and needed to find new ways, new strategies and new vision,” he said. “I have done it. What I have tried to do at HPE is when we are looking at ways that we fund things or may want to invest I put myself in the partner’s shoes.”
Channel Jobs At Apple, TELUS and Compaq
From January 2005 to May 2007, Soper was a national sales manager for Apple Canada reporting to the managing director of Apple Canada.
As the driver of Apple direct sales, resellers and consumer groups, Soper wrote on LinkedIn, that his team accounted for 80 percent of Apple Canada’s sales.
Soper said he helped more than double Apple sales during his tenure as national sales manager. By adding Best Buy and establishing new sales channels at major retailers like Walmart and Costco, Soper said, Mac sales in Canada increased by 200 percent.
From March 2002 to August 2004, Soper was responsible for building a national network of independent resellers for TELUS, the Canadian telecom provider with a wide range of services including internet, TV and mobile phones.
Before the TELUS channel job, Soper spent six years at Compaq Canada overseeing the British Columbia sales organization with 55 employees and $100 million in annual revenue and as director of channel sales.
As the head of Compaq Canada channel sales from January 1996 to April 1999, Soper said his organization accounted for $1 billion in sales.
“As the National Director of Channel Sales for Compaq Canada, I spearheaded the culture consolidation after acquisitions of Tandem and Digital—creating cohesion and engagement with a previously disjointed and dysfunctional team,” said Soper on LinkedIn.
High Praise From Team Members For His Leadership
Soper has received strong recommendations from colleagues that worked with him throughout his 23 year IT career.
Carlisle London, director of finance at solution provider behemoth Insight, who worked with Soper at PCM Canada and CompuCom, praised Soper in a LinkedIn post for building each of those organizations from the ground up into forces to be “reckoned with” in the Canadian IT solution provider landscape.
“Phil is well known and respected in the IT Manufacturer community, as well as in the IT Channel community and has strategically leveraged those relationships to achieve win win outcomes,” wrote London on LinkedIn. “Phil possesses strong financial acumen and is able to easily identify key financial drivers and successfully manage the business to achieve and ultimately exceed budgeted and forecasted targets. He also has the unique ability to mobilize associates, both leaders and lay, to buy into the corporate vision and stay the course, to fruition.”
Robi Chamas, client director, public sector at Cisco, who worked as a member of Soper’s executive team at PCM, in a LinkedIn post called Soper a “visionary executive, leader and mentor” who always provided a clear vision and strategy.
“He listened to the ideas of employees on the front lines and used their experiences to formulate successful strategies that have helped PCM achieve and maintain a position as a leader in the industry,” wrote Chamas. “He has insight and skill sets that are essential for growth, a competitive nature and determination that cannot be beat, and has earned the respect of everyone in the company.”
HPE Partners View The Appointment Of Soper As A GreenLake ‘Game Changer’
HPE partners are cheering the appointment of Soper as a critical step in accelerating GreenLake cloud services sales growth.
“From my perspective this is a big game changer,” said Harry Zarek, the co-founder, president and CEO of Compugen, No. 55 on the CRN SP500, one of HPE’s top enterprise partners. “This is going to provide us a unified North America sales organization. There is a lot of value in leveraging the full capabilities of the North American geography. This is going to give us a more expanded view on the marketplace and the GreenLake ecosystem.”
Zarek said he is confident that Soper – a 23 year IT industry veteran with deep roots transforming solution provider organizations- is going to have a big impact driving GreenLake partner transformation from commodity hardware to high value workload pay per use consumption based services.
“Phil grew up in the channel so he uniquely understands the role that the channel provides as that last mile connection to the customer,” he said. “Phil knows the value of the channel is our intimate relationship with customers. We understand the unique things that go on at every customer and we put it all together into a great story. Phil understands how that works better than anyone else.”
Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies Inc., which has closed a number of GreenLake deals, said he was excited to hear that Soper is sharply focused on accelerating GreenLake sales growth.
“That is music to my ears,” said Cohen. “ The reason being that we have already re-invented ourselves as an organization to drive consumption and everything as a service with HPE technologies. Through our PKASolveIT Managed Services, we have sold a number of GreenLake deals with over 20 opportunities in our pipeline. We are not your traditional IT Systems Integrator that you knew. We have evolved along with HPE into selling Everything as a service.”
C.R. Howdyshell, president of Advizex, No. 104 on the CRN SP500, said Soper’s strong background driving transformation at PCM and CompuCom is going to be key to helping partners accelerate GreenLake sales growth. “Phil’s background in the channel can only help us accelerate the already strong momentum we are seeing with GreenLake and everything as a service,” he said. “I’m looking forward to sitting down with Phil and understanding his strategy for the partner ecosystem.”
Howdyshell praised HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter for “doubling down” on the HPE GreenLake sales strategy. “This demonstrates HPE’s commitment to ensure the channel’s success with GreenLake,” said Howdyshell. “Clearly Paul understands the channel and is reiterating the commitment that HPE is making to transform the channel along with the HPE business.”