HP will kick off a reseller certification programme that is designed to be as difficult as possible, so companies cannot qualify.
The three-tiered programme - called HP Equation - will specifically address the enterprise storage market and offer resellers differentiation. Channel partners can be awarded one of three titles - gold storage reseller, silver storage reseller or authorised storage reseller - but they will have to undergo rigorous and on-going storage training and testing to gain the accreditation.
Patrick Bonelli, European sales and marketing manager at HP's enterprise storage division, said: 'We are presenting resellers with something they have been crying out for - a chance to differentiate themselves to customers.
When we talked to our channel partners, they requested this and asked us to make it as tough as possible to qualify, otherwise it holds no value for them. Consequently, we expect that between one and three partners only in the larger countries will attain the gold certificate.'
HP has committed to spending $50 million on the storage initiative in Europe and considers the channel to be one of its key assets in the impending battle against storage specialists. Gold resellers will be authorised to sell the HPSureStore EDisk Array MC256, which competes head-to-head with EMC's Symmetrix range.
Bonelli said: 'We want our 100 per cent customer satisfaction guarantee to have zero impact on our channel partners, so we will provide all the support necessary to our partners.'
HP will meet with its channel partners in Nice to explain the certification programme. Full details are not expected until the third quarter of the year and a launch is expected in Europe and the US by the end of the year.
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