Hewlett-Packard (HP) is extending its Top Config scheme to cover all product categories because it is one of its fastest-growing revenue areas, the vendor claimed at its partner conference in Italy last week.
HP launched the scheme, originally tailored around the PC market, last year to simplify its supply chain and grab more SME market share.
Top Config allows VARs to configure PCs via a distributor's web site, with the completed machine sent to the reseller or direct to the end-user. Jos Brenkel, HP's vice-president of channels, said the scheme will now be extended to servers and storage.
HP also reaffirmed its commitment to the channel at the event, claiming two-thirds of its revenue is generated by partners.
"We will continue to invest heavily in the channel," Brenkel said. He added HP will enforce stricter control on end-user pricing to avoid undercutting.
The firm will take a "defend and attack" approach to business, Brenkel said, with partners divided into "hunters" and "farmers", either aggressively hunting new deals, particularly Dell accounts, or focusing on growing their existing HP business.
Brenkel claimed partners will benefit from HP's direct sales activities. "When we go into a direct account it will open up the road for partners [to sell further products and services]," he said.
Andy Dow, commercial director at distributor Westcoast, said: "HP has the products and power behind it to get this right. All it needs is the determination in embracing the channel to win. I'm fairly confident it will do this."
But Shaune Parsons, managing director of VAR Computer World Wales, said he is "losing patience with HP". He added: "This is just too little, too late. Many partners are becoming disillusioned with ridiculous margins and a general lack of support."
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