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HP Chief Commercial Officer On Keeping The Focus On Customers And Partners

Christoph Schell, who became HP's first-ever chief commercial officer in November, says the company is not slowing down, and plans to launch a revised partner program this spring.

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When we last spoke, you were about to launch the new operational model--how has that rollout gone?

We organized our markets from three regions to 10 markets that are reporting into that commercial structure. We did it because we felt the need to consistently show up across the globe, in all of the markets. I'm super happy about how this is coming along. I like the consistency that we have been able to drive from a value proposition point of view to customers, and also to partners. Enrique and I spent some time this week with our Partner Advisory Board, and the feedback that we're getting is that we're easier to deal with. We are more customer-centric. Decisions are taken much faster, and decisions are taken consistently. And so in particular for partners and customers that operate with us across markets, they take a lot of positives out of this. Because it's easier for them to engage with HP. We had to revamp internally how we operate. I've been in the company now for 23 years, and HP has had its fair share of change in 23 years. But one thing that had never changed was the three regions. And the whole business management system was wired with these three regions. We set up a new business management system in record time. Everything that we do--forecasting, how we engage with supply chain, how we launch new products--[we are able to] do that consistently across the globe.

Is the new model helping partners to accelerate their growth with HP?

We're a very partner-centric company and we do well over 80 percent of our revenue through partners. When HP makes strategic changes in product portfolio, in go-to-market innovation, in messaging, the speed in which we can execute is highly dependent on how quickly and how effectively we can communicate with our partners. If you take the new setup that we have, what we've done is removed an entire layer in the company that was standing in between us and the partners. That just resonates with our partners greatly. The feedback is immediate. We see that execution--when we talk about diversity, when we talk about sustainability, when we talk about moving from transactional business models to more contractual, more subscription-based business models, together with partners. We're not doing this directly, we're doing this with partners. The feedback that I've been receiving over the last three months has been superb in that regard. I think partners take a lot of confidence out of that--the fact that we are basically doing what we said we would be doing and that we pulled them with us. I think that the new structural model that we have is helping us greatly. But we're far from done.

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