LAS VEGAS — “”Bold Strokes”” is the main theme for this year’s Hewlett-Packard Americas Partner Conference, held here, and HP could not have painted more of a bold stroke than to ask its high profile CEO Carly Fiorina to step down days before the

commencement of the event.

Besides Fiorina’s highly publicized departure, HP used this conference to make two bold announcements. The first a new partner incentive plan to go after IBM/Lenovo accounts. The program contains increased discounts of up to 40 per cent off demo equipment for desktops, notebooks and workstations, as well as enhanced margins on the sale of desktops, notebooks, workstations and select HP Care Pack packaged services.

“”I like to referred to IBM as EOL — End of Life — and our new campaign will earn partners more money through incentives so that partners can go after displaced IBM customers because of the Lenovo deal,”” said John Thompson, the vice-president and general manager of Americas Solution Partners Organization for HP.

Thompson added that this displacement strategy will also address other competitors such as Dell and Sun. He believes the Sun opportunity is worth US$300 million in the Americas. “”It is low hanging fruit and I encourage (partners) to go after that. You do not need to be a genius to realize that Sun is on the ropes.””

HP plans on opening up more than 30 per cent of its tier one direct accounts so that they can be partner led.

Currently, HP is mapping partners with these new accounts in the U.S. only. The plan will be for partners to deliver 100 per cent of products and services on HP’s behalf either with the partner leading, or HP fulfilling the solution through a partner, or working together.

HP will hold partners accountable in a closed loop funnel management system which is intended to measure customer satisfaction results. These accounts will also include public sector accounts as well. Thompson added that HP’s next focus will be in SMB.

“”We want to minimize conflict and maximize the synergistic efforts. My vision is going from success to success. We are not talking about US$50 billion but US$70 billion in collective market gains,”” Thompson said.

Harry Zarek, president of Toronto-based solution provider Compugen, said moving 30 per cent of HP’s direct accounts to the channel is a very bold move. However, he believes that identifying the real issues around governance and the rules of engagement were more important.

“”There are huge accounts and they are very complex, so I am OK with them taking their time. For us, were are already in position to handle these accounts, but I also believe they will not be handing over these kinds of opportunities over to us on a platter,”” he said.

Zarek said that HP Canada will most likely begin talk to customers to figure out when and if they are prepared to work with business partners instead of HP directly. “”Words are simply, but the devils is in the details.””

As for HP’s business displacement strategy against IBM, now that they have sold the PC business to Lenovo of China, Zarek said he would only be interested in implementing that strategy on new business opportunities only. “”We are not in the business switching platforms for other platforms,”” he said.

David MacDonald, president of Softchoice said he was very happy to hear from John Thompson that the company was going to raise the stakes in terms of finding new business opportunities by US$20 billion. “”The goal of reaching US$70 billion is worth pursuing and I am glad that they have a renewed emphasis on supporting the channel, but there needs to be more clarity (in terms of rules of engagements for this new business),” MacDonald said.

Nick Foster, vice president of marketing for Softchoice of Toronto, did not think the 30 per cent of direct accounts moving to the channel would be that significant in Canada.

“”Canada is a very strong enterprise market and they depend very deeply on the partners so it is going to be less of an impact in Canada than in the U.S.,”” Foster said.

The HP conference runs through Wednesday.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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