The phrase "the new style of IT" was uttered so often at HP's Discover event in Las Vegas this week that it bordered on cliché.
But there's a lot of power in this simple message, and Sue Barsamian, the senior vice president and general manager for the HP Enterprise Group, says the slogan represents a catalyst of change and tremendous opportunity for solution providers.
HP isn't alone in marking the opportunity coming with the market shift from traditional on-premises IT infrastructure to cloud systems and services models.
Some people could argue that HP is late to the game, as it struggled to stabilise the company after the 2011 near-meltdown. But HP is embracing the shift to services and outcome-based IT value, and pushing partners to pick up the cause.
"With the new style of IT, the resellers become more important because the customer needs their direction," said Barsamian in an interview with Channelnomics.
In practical terms, HP's channel vision for "the new style of IT" isn't all that different from the role that providers and value-added resellers have always played -- namely, integrating products and services worth more than the sum of their parts.
And HP isn't alone in thinking the channel must play a significant technical and sales role in promoting and supporting cloud services, Big Data, mobility, and security - the pillars of its enterprise strategy.
Where things differ for HP is a not so unfamiliar yet modified message - place fewer vendor bets.
"With the new style of IT, partners have to place smaller number of bets on their vendor relationships," Barsamian says.
If this sounds familiar, it is. For years, HP has promoted attached sales to its partners, believing that the cost of sales would decrease and sales yields increase if partners would simply sell more HP product per engagement.
It's a sound theory but one HP has achieved mixed results. At one point, HP channel and sales executives were so adamant about wringing attached sales out of partners that they threatened to bypass providers that didn't bring them into deals.
HP's tone on its new style of IT is far softer: it is attempting to win over partners by earning business through channel programmes and support as well as with innovative new technologies that expand capabilities.
The value HP believes it brings to the table is the ability to deliver end-to-end offerings. Not only does the HP stack reduce complexity, it enables providers to focus their attention on fewer suppliers, HP says.
End-to-end is the driver behind the bevy of product releases at the Discover conference. HP unveiled several products, many with advanced capabilities and economical pricing, designed to attract partners and customers as well as complete the "end-to-end" puzzle.
Among the releases were:
*Apollo, a new high-performance computing platform with patented liquid cooling designed to challenge IBM in supercomputing;
*Atalla, a family of encryption and cryptographic key management offerings designed to protect data on networks and in cloud environments;
*3Par StoreServe 7450 Storage, a hybrid storage platform that incorporates flash to increase volume capacity, improve performance and reduce power consumption; and
*Helion OpenStack, a development platform for building and integrating applications in cloud environments.
Additionally, HP Software is introducing programmes and support services to help its Enterprise Group partners adopt and sell applications alongside their hardware products.
The software focus was made possible by a recent realignment of the PartnerOne channel programme that removed the barriers between resellers, service providers and integrators.
HP isn't thinking that all partners should race to adopt every aspect of its programme. Rather, it is taking a deliberate approach to help partners identify their best opportunities and expand upon existing practices and capabilities, according to Barsamian.
With its programmes and products, HP is doing more than repeating a carefully crafted marketing slogan; it is building a culture in which partners can maximise their opportunities and build more valuable relationships with customers based on end-to-end systems that produce greater outcomes.
For more US-focused channel coverage see www.channelnomics.com
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