Business Boosters: 10 Key HP PartnerOne Changes

HP Ups Ante In Partner Profitability Battle

With the converged infrastructure solution battle heating up, HP is upping the ante with a new four-tier revenue- and certification-based PartnerOne channel program set to go into effect Nov. 1. Partners say the new financial incentives are sure to turn up the heat on rival vendors, including Cisco, EMC and Dell. Here are 10 profit-driving HP PartnerOne program changes.

Big Profits For Selling The Full HP Portfolio

HP partners selling the full HP solution portfolio will see big increases in financial incentives under the new medallion-based PartnerOne program. In fact, solution providers at the top-tier Platinum Specialist level can expect profitability to jump 20 percent, with average deal size in the U.S. expected to double to $300,000 compared with Gold Specialist partners, said Doug Oathout, vice president of global marketing, channel partner alliances, for HP.

It is that kind of profit punch that has AdvizeX Technologies, one of HP's top 10 enterprise partners and a unit within services giant Rolta, doubling down on HP's networking and big data solutions portfolio. "HP has always had an effective partner program, but this is the first time they have brought the power of total HP to partners," he said.

HP plans to reveal final revenue "thresholds and benefit rates" for the new PartnerOne tiers in October.

Rewarding Sales Growth, New Business, Bonuses For Selling HP Strategic Products

Under the new revenue/certification-based PartnerOne medallion program, partner compensation will consist of three elements: core compensation with an accelerator for hitting sales growth targets; new business opportunity rewards; and strategic product bonuses aimed at rewarding partners for selling next-generation products such as Moonshot and 3Par as well as those in the HP Networking portfolio.

Brandon Harris, vice president of HP solutions for Logicalis, a $1.4 billion IT services giant ranked No. 29 on CRN's SP500 list, said HP holds a significant profitability advantage over competitors. "HP has the upper hand," he said. "There are some radical differences between PartnerOne and the other vendor programs."

Less Paperwork, More Time Selling

HP partners will see a reduced amount of overhead required for getting paid under PartnerOne. New strategic product bonuses will be built directly into PartnerOne for minimum six-month intervals rather than as individual product promotions, which required partners to file significant paperwork and pass through HP approval gates.

"The key for us is selling solutions and accelerating the adoption of key products," said HP's Oathout. "Partners will know ahead of time before they enter any half what the strategic products are, what the bonuses are and it will be built into the price of the products."

Simpler Certification Requirements

HP has made sweeping changes aimed at significantly streamlining certification requirements, a costly partner investment that cuts into partner profitability. In the Enterprise Group alone, HP's certifications will be reduced from 42 to 22. For HP's server line, certification will be reduced from 10 to three. HP said partners will see a consistent set of certification requirements across business units under the new PartnerOne. What's more, HP is promising more classes with fewer cancellations with up-to-date content in all sales training/certifcations and enforcement of certification compliance to reward partner investments.

HP Executive Sponsorship For Platinum Partners

HP's top-tier Platinum partners will benefit from customer-facing promotions in HP marketing campaigns. In addition, HP is pledging executive-level sponsorship for Platinum partners. HP expects over the next two years to drive about 300 partners in the U.S. -- the top 10 percent of the company's partner base -- to the Platinum Specialist certification.

One sign of the top-level executive support for partners selling the full HP portfolio: HP CEO Meg Whitman's upcoming keynote at solution provider Nth Generation Computing's customer symposium this summer. Nth Generation is an HP franchise partner with more than 70 percent of its sales coming from HP products and services. What's more, it is making big bets on next-generation HP offerings including big data software.

Consistent Global PartnerOne Program

The new consistent global PartnerOne program makes it significantly easier for larger HP partners selling around the world. Between the Enterprise Group and Printing and Personal Systems Group, HP had 18 different partner programs in different countries. Now partners selling cross-border will benefit from a single PartnerOne compensation model. A global powerhouse such as Logicalis can now easily sell across borders and rely on a single call center for support across the globe, said HP's Oathout.

Big Benefits For Selling HP Software

With HP's software business now part of PartnerOne, solution providers can expect to see big incentives around selling HP software, including HAVEn, HP's new open business analytics platform aimed at helping partners translate big data buzz into bottom-line profits. HP is making HAVEn available to the full HP partner base. Top partners and distributors, including Avnet, already are building practices around it.

HP Executive Vice President of Software George Kadifa (pictured) has said his goal is to "immediately" have the 26 percent of HP's big data software sales going through the channel increase to 50 percent. As for the security market where the HP portfolio includes Tipping Point, ArcSight and Fortify, Kadifa said his goal is to move from 35 percent of sales going through the channel to 50 percent and eventually to 70 percent.

HP Market Development Fund Flexibility

HP is extending the amount of time partners have to use all-important market development funds from three months to six months. That is poised to pack a big punch as partners line up to sell strategic products such as 3Par, HP Networking and Moonshot (pictured) with aggressive joint marketing programs and events planned hand in hand with HP sales teams.

A Google SMB IT In A Box Opportunity

HP's new SMB IT In A Box, billed as a "one-stop-shop" technology solution that includes Google Apps For Business, will be part of PartnerOne. That offering could provide significant services opportunities for solution providers offering SMB IT In A Box -- which includes a "unique" HP management software layer combined with HP PCs and printers -- with their own managed services offerings. HP said it expects about several hundred cloud-savvy resellers to initially carry the product, with a massive global rollout slated for 2014.

HP also said 80 percent of partners it has contacted already have expressed interest in the solution. "What we are doing is actually equipping the channel partners with a bunch of tools -- most importantly, consoles that will allow them to manage the IT for their customers," said Sumeer Chandra, vice president of strategy and business management for HP's consumer PC business.

A Business Plan For Every Partner

HP's Whitman is pushing partner business managers and account teams to hammer out a business plan for every partner playing in PartnerOne. So far, HP has created more than 700 joint business plans. In an interview earlier this year, Whitman called it classic business planning aimed at spelling out partner objectives that will provide striking differentiation for partners committing to HP solutions.