CRN Exclusive: HP CEO Meg Whitman's Top 10 List of Opportunities For Partners

From Ink In Office To HP Software

Partners planning to attend HP's Global Partner Conference March 24 to 26 in Las Vegas should look at the breadth and depth of HP's product portfolio, says HP CEO Meg Whitman. Here is her top 10 list of untapped partner opportunities.

Ink In The Office/Officejet Pro

Even with HP's Officejet Pro showing double-digit sequential sales growth in the most recent quarter, Whitman said there are still not enough partners taking advantage of a paradigm shift that has ink in the office putting the heat on laser printers. "Half the cost [of laser printers], twice the speed, the same quality," said Whitman. "That is a really robust value proposition, particularly for small to medium-size businesses."

HP Managed Print Services

Whitman said there is still room for more partners to hop on the managed print services bandwagon. "Listen, some of these big enterprises spend $40 million, $50 million or $60 million on printing," she said. "It's a big line item." HP unveiled its Managed Print Specialist Resell program, which has received rave reviews from partners, at its Discover conference in June. Solution providers that have taken advantage of the opportunity say they have seen double-digit services margins, while at the same time gaining significant account advantages in a market where HP is a market leader.

HP Chromebooks

Whitman said HP Chromebooks are a big hit and an opportunity more partners should be taking advantage of in the PC market. "Chromebooks are doing really well," she said. "They are flying off the shelves." The latest HP Chromebooks, which were unveiled in October, are targeted at the business and education market. The HP Chromebook 14, which runs on the Intel Celeron processor, is targeted at business users looking for "simple, secure, mobile productivity" with an entry-level price of $299. It features a 14-inch screen with an HP TrueVision HD Webcam for dynamic chats. It also includes a multiformat digital media card reader for saving and sharing documents, images and video.

Office PCs/ The Windows XP Refresh Cycle

With Microsoft ending Windows XP support on April 8, more than a decade after its debut, Whitman said there is a big opportunity for partners to cash in on the Windows XP refresh opportunity. "Don't give up on PCs," Whitman advised partners. "There is a delayed refresh cycle going on. Windows XP is an opportunity. And, by the way, I think people are realizing that it will be a multi-device world."

PCs as a Service

HP's financial services arm has given HP a huge competitive weapon to help solution provider partners win deals. Whitman said one big opportunity partners may be missing by not teaming with HP Financial Services is PCs as a Service. "There is an opportunity around business model innovation, which is PC as a service," she said. "So instead of the customer having to shell out the capital expenditure for the devices, we can offer it on as an as-a-service basis because we have HP Financial Services."

HP ConvergedSystem Sharks

HP's new ConvergedSystem Sharks have taken the market by storm, with partners seeing big profit and sales gains selling business outcomes based on application workloads rather than traditional stand-alone servers. Whitman said the Sharks represent a ’new style IT opportunity’ for partners to move to higher ground. She credits the enterprise team with setting up big converged infrastructure solution opportunities for partners by "packaging up servers, storage and networking to actually go after a solution which the partner can then deliver and then wrap services around that." One Shark that has put HP partners into the fast-growing big data analytics market is the HP Converged Systems 300 for Vertica, said Whitman."It's a really good opportunity," she said.

HP Networking

HP's networking business grew 4 percent in the most recent quarter with its switching business up 5 percent compared with Cisco, which posted a 12 percent decline in switching sales. Whitman said HP networking is an "untapped opportunity, particularly in campus, branch and edge. There is a hypothesis that the campus LAN we all put into our companies five or 10 years ago is now getting pretty long in the tooth. The technology has changed quite dramatically. There is a thought afoot that there will be a massive wireless refresh and it won't be wired/wireless anymore it will just be wireless."

HP 3Par

There may be no hotter channel product than 3Par, which is sparking dramatic channel sales growth. That's not enough for Whitman, who insists that "every partner ought to be selling 3Par. And if they only pick one part of 3Par it is midtier," she said. "The midtier3Par is huge innovation. This is all about a simpler architecture and the ability to manage storage." One sign of HP's success with 3Par: HP's fourth-quarter 2013 storage sales recovered in a big way to give the company the highest growth rate in the entire industry, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.

HP Software

Whitman said the full HP software portfolio is critical as partners look to drive higher-margin, sticky solutions that will resonate with customers. "One of the things I am excited about is the channel is beginning to embrace software," she said. "As the channel is starting to figure out how they plot their next growth avenue, they are increasingly selling ArcSight, TippingPoint, Fortify, Vertica, Autonomy, our IT operations and management software."

HP Technology Services

As for Technology Services, Whitman said both consulting services and product maintenance and break/fix are big opportunities for partners to team with HP. "There is an opportunity for partners to resell TS [technology services], resell the consulting services, to learn from what we do and then go do it themselves," she says. That technology services is critical as partners move to provide new style IT solutions to offset margin declines in traditional IT product sales. Partners, for their part, say the HP technology services opportunity is starting to resonate as HP establishes tighter alignment with them. They say technology services opens the door for them to provide all manner of services they would have to forego if they did not team with HP.