CRN Exclusive: Whitman, Top HP Execs Answer 25 Tough Partner Questions

Taking The Tough Questions

Hewlett Packards's top executives, including Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman and Printing and Personal Systems Group Executive Vice President Dion Weisler, took on a wide range of no nonsense questions from solution providers at an HP Discover conference webcast.

Here is an excerpt from the session which also featured HP Senior Vice President Servers and Networking Antonio Neri; HP Executive Vice President Software Robert Youngjohns and HP Senior Vice President Printing and Personal Systems Jos Brenkel.

How Will The HP Separation (into two new Fortune 50 companies) Benefit Partners?

In the technology world today, one thing is really clear: the market is moving faster than ever, and speed, agility, the ability to create demand, the ability to anticipate the trends and respond to those trends is going to be paramount. Speed matters above all else.

We ought to be a much faster, a much more agile partner to help you win more business. We have a very big company today: $110 billion in revenue, many, many thousands of partners, we operate in 166 countries. Sometimes it is still a little hard to get things done. Through this separation we aim to be a much better partner to you, be easier to do business and be more entrepreneurial.

-- Meg Whitman

What Impact Will The Split Have On Product Development?

I think it really enables both companies (HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise) to accelerate innovation. What is happening inside the company is everyone is becoming so laser focused in order to better serve markets.

You are going to have these amazing platforms of innovation very focused on the different segments of the market whether it be in servers, storage, networking, software or printing.

-- Dion Weisler

What Kind Of Investment Is HP Making In Research And Development?

In Fiscal 2014, we increased R&D spending by 10 percent over the prior year. We also increased investment in every segment including cloud, infrastructure, 3D printing and of course The Machine.

Fiscal 2014 was a year of significant innovation for HP. We brought new products and services to market like the Apollo servers, 3Par Storage, HP OneView, new 3D enterprise print technology and major advancements in personal systems like Sprout.

The innovation engine is alive and well at HP. And I expect that our pace will only accelerate as we move into 2015.

-- Meg Whitman

What Are The Cost Benefits Of The Split?

What is really clear is that we have to be incredibly cost effective. We have got to deliver the best innovation to you at the lowest possible price. And I can already see how this process is going to help us run our company more efficiently so we can pass those savings on to you so we continue to make money in this business in an ever increasingly competitive business.

-- Meg Whitman

Will The Split Affect Sales Activities In The Field?

Ninety eight percent of the company is focused on delivering the (sales) results in Fiscal 2015. For the partners out there we will support you as one HP throughout Fiscal year 2015.

-- Jos Brenkel

Can You Give Us An Update On HP's Demand Generation Activities With Solution Providers?

In fiscal year 2014, we jointly worked on more than 500,000 opportunities with a potential revenue value of more than $58 billion. This includes opportunities across the entire HP portfolio and represents growth of more than 30 percent of leads handed over to the channel in Fiscal year 2013. We want to thank you sincerely for helping us close a large portion of those leads.

Accelerating our channel demand generation and bringing you more opportunities for you to close are top priorities for us.

-- Jos Brenkel

What Is HP's Strategy For Storage For Cloud Computing?

We have a hybrid cloud approach. As you know early this year, we announced HP Helion. We give customers an open standard, OpenStack approach to cloud environments. Partners play a huge role in that. We give you the ability to participate in that ecosystem. We see many, many partners joining the HP Helion ecosystem.

If you are talking about infrastructure, I would encourage you to start with our Converged CloudSystem private cloud solution. Customers are adopting this at a very fast rate. In fact, we already have more than 2,000 private cloud implementations. Gartner considers the CloudSystem the number one magic quadrant solution for cloud deployments.

-- Antonio Neri

What Are The Fiscal 2015 Lead Generation Priorities?

We continue to invest to drive the progress in two key areas: automated lead routing and speeding up lead distribution to our channel. On top of that co-marketing support to help partners increase demand. Our automated lead routing will drive qualified marketing leads as fast as possible to the best partners. Today we are piloting this new service with some of our top partners in all of our regions. We will be moving from a pilot mode to a stage rollout across all three regions starting now with partners in Iberia, German, UK, India and Canada and continuing throughout fiscal year 2015 with the US, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Tawain and Hong Kong.

-- Jos Brenkel

What Are The Hybrid Cloud Benefits of the ConvergedSystem 700?

The ConvergedSystem 700 is deploying virtualization in a (converged) data center. That means a customer can deploy a virtualized environment and then later on can move to the cloud with our CSA (Cloud Service Automation) solution.

We provide a myriad of reference architectures so you can deploy (HP) Blades with 3Par in a reference architecture approach. The reality is we give customers a lot of choice based on open standards and based on workloads. Because at the end of the day, workloads will dictate where you want to run that application: on premise, off premise, a very flexible hybrid approach.

-- Antonio Neri

What Is HP Doing To Support Partners With the HP Co-Marketing Zone?

We are very excited about making it easier, faster and more effective for partners to drive local marketing campaigns with HP materials in the Co-Marketing Zone. This (Co-Marketing Zone) tool is available throughout the world right now supporting 18 local languages. It contains more than 37,000 co-marketing assets that can be quickly customized to create powerful partner marketing campaigns. Feedback from those using the tool is extremely positive. Over 10,000 partners have accessed the Co-Marketing Zone already and we are seeing increased usage monthly. We are excited to help you drive accelerated growth providing effective tools like the Co-Marketing Zone.

-- Jos Brenkel

What Is The Idea Behind HP Sprout's Blended Reality Concept?

The concept of blended reality is to fuse together those two worlds, to be able to go from a physical bring things into the digital world, change them and manipulate them in very new and natural ways using our hands and then take them back out to the physical world with things like 3D printing. This is the overall arching umbrella we call blended reality. It is certainly an anchor point for how we think about the future of compute.We are creating these new categories and I am really exicted about the innovation.

-- Dion Weisler

Is There A Channel Play For HP's Sprout?

For blended reality we need to create an ecosystem and the channel is a very important part of that ecosystem.

We first designed Sprout for consumer. Most new technologies in this space come out for the consumer first and then they are very quickly adapted by commercial. So we have a very strong road map. This is just the first product of many to come. And it is those commercial applications from design to manufacturing to education that you can think about the applications that are going to involve you as channel partners to bring those to life and really amplify the message. Absolutely Sprout in the future moves toward SMB and commercial.

-- Dion Weisler

What Are The Channel Implications Of 3D Printing?

3D Printing technology is really focused on the commercial space. We purposely did not target consumer there because that has already been done. That technology first came out for consumer. But we believe the hyper growth is actually in the commercial space. We have solved the problems of cost, quality and speed. So really this becomes a complete channel play. So I would encourage you to start thinking about building pipelines for 3D printing. In FY 2016 it will be available through channel partners as well as solution providers.

-- Dion Weisler

What Are The Current Offerings That Can Help Enterprise Partners Add Software?

That is right on strategy for HP Software In FY 2015. I have been very clear to our organization that one of our critical success factors is better cooperation with the Enterprise Group.

Antonio (Neri) already mentioned hybrid cloud and the CSA product. That is a great product to attach to any hybrid cloud implementation.It makes it far easier for customers to migrate their existing workloads into this world of hybrid cloud. We also have a great appliance with the industry leading intrusion prevention system TippingPoint. That is something available as an appliance that we already sell with EG partners. Data Protector is something I would encourage partners to attach to every storage deal.

-- Robert Youngjohns

Meg, You Are Running One of the World's Biggest Businesses. What Leadership Advice Can You Offer Us?

In a world that is changing at light speed you have got to double check your strategy. This is not business as usual. Are you planning ahead enough? Are you targeting the growing market segments? Are you making enough bets on the future while you continue to do the business that you have today.I have never seen the technology market change at this pace.

Think about what has happened in the last three years. None of us has time. We have to move faster. So my first piece of advice is check you strategy make sure it is fit for purpose for the new world.

-- Meg Whitman

Can You Talk About Your Management Philosophy On Getting The Right People?

One of my favorite touch points is the right person, right job, right time, right attitude. In a world changing as fast as this you have to ask: is every one of your leaders the right person matched to the right job at this particular point in history and do they have the right attitude?

What I can tell you about HP is turnarounds are not for everybody, Turnarounds take a great deal of perseverance and the ability to really fight through some pretty significant adversity. And transitions like the ones our industry is going through whether it is printing all the way to converged infrastructure this takes a certain constitution.

-- Meg Whitman

How Important Is Having The Right Cost Structures In The IT business?

I have not seen anything quite as competitive as this industry and it has always been a competitive industry. We have got vendors from all over the world now who are trying to take a piece of the action so I would just make sure you are doing things as efficiently and effectively as you can. It sounds a bit like motherhood and Apple pie, but sometimes success comes back to the basics.

-- Meg Whitman

What Has Been The Impact Of The Enterprise Group Sales Plays?

The objective of the sales plays is to really shift the conversation to deliver business outcomes against customer needs. I am very pleased to say that you have embraced those sales plays. We actually measure that training and usage in our own internal sales organization and it has helped us deliver significant value.

We listened to your feedback and what we are going to do this quarter is take the ten sales plays and reduce it to four because we learned what customers are looking for. So now we are actually going to simplify those sales plays and put more sales enablement behind them.

-- Antonio Neri

Why Is Managed Print Services (MPS) So Important?

I believe that is where the market is going. It just happens to be delivered today with our print products, but I believe in the future it will be everything as a service,desktop as a service, workstations as a service, compute as a service.
There is a clear trend going from transactional motions to contractual motions. It is just the way customers want to buy from us. In mature markets, it is as much as 50 percent in print already. In some markets it is closer to 80-90 percent. So preparing ourselves, developing those muscles is really important.

-- Dion Weisler

What Is The Benefit Of the Contractual Shift For Partners?

Once you have that customer under a contractual motion you can actually start spreading your wings and you can take new lines of business to that customers in compute, servers, storage, networking, personal systems, and you can move into a much more sticky relationship (with customers). That is why it is strategically important for us.

-- Dion Weisler

What Kind Of Growth Is HP Seeing In Managed Print Services?

You are doing a great job. Our MPS business grew 2X faster than the market. In one year we went from number four to number two (in MPS). A lot of that is with your help. What you told us is our programs were too complicated. So we have been concentrating on simplifying them. And the results that I spoke about earlier are a testament to that.

-- Dion Weisler

With EG There Is One Partner Rep Vs. Many For Software. Are You Going To Simplify This?

We are going to cooperate very, very closely with Enterprise Group during FY 2015. With every partner I call on I always go with the enterprise group partner manager. I am really impressed actually by the ownership that individual is taking of the end to end relationship – not just of the hardware component. We are actually harmonizing the programs across HP Software.We recognize there is a very heavy level of specialization still required in the world of software and we need to respect that.

The really important thing here is the level of cooperation I hope to see with the enterprise group during FY 2015.

-- Robert Youngjohns.

What Are Some Recent Partner Deals That Stood Out?

First is Experis Technology Group. They won a large deal with AOCSolutions that included HP 3Par Storage, C7000 Blade Systems and the HP Data Protector for backup.

Next HP and Accenture have introduced an enterprise ready private cloud solution with a major US manufacturing client. The solution combines Accenture's transformation capability outcomes with HP CloudSystem.

My last shout out goes to Daley Computers. They were able to capitalize on the success of a recent managed print services solution and the trust and momentum already established with Baltimore County Public Schools to solidify a long term contract built around the HP Revolve.

-- Meg Whitman

If You Were Starting A Reseller Business Today What Would It Be?

Almost every company is trying to get from where they are: a legacy infrastructure with legacy applications that often shows up in what they refer to as a hairball to what their journey is going to be to a more agile development and infrastructure environment. So I would really be focused on how are you going to help medium sized companies go from where they are to where they need to be. The very biggest enterprises often have IT people internally to do that. So I would go after that midmarket whose needs are as great and they don't have the internal resources.

-- Meg Whitman

How Important Is Vertical Market Specialization?

These markets are more and more specializing whether it is healthcare or manufacturing. And boy the vertical showing the most growth around the world right now is healthcare! And that is not good for the governments of most of the countries in which we live. But I will say the demand for healthcare is only increasing. And then what I would do is say how do I create the full suite of opportunity from infrastructure to software to devices to print services that enable you to be central to those folks.

So I would say make sure you are helping move midsize companies to the new style of IT. Then pick a vertical and then own that transformation for the customer.

-- Meg Whitman