ProCurve’s new UK and Ireland country manager joins the networking vendor at
a crucial point in its 25-year history.
After coming close to offloading ProCurve two years ago, HP has finally thrown its full weight behind its networking arm.
HP’s former UK enterprise server and storage (ESS) group sales manager Darryl Brick took the reigns of the UK operation on 1 December, a month after parent company HP began rewarding staff for selling ProCurve kit for the first time. The significance of the move should not be underestimated: HP’s massive sales force will now be pushing ProCurve switches as an alternative to Cisco, with whom HP has a long-standing strategic alliance.
To underline its commitment, HP has just signed off a big chunk of R&D spend to be ploughed into ProCurve over the course of 2008.
Speaking to CRN, Brick said his top goal was to extend ProCurve’s go-to-market model in anticipation of a boom in end-user demand.
ProCurve has just two top-level Elite partners Pervasive Networks and ADA Networks but Brick predicts that will increase rapidly over the coming months. He hinted he would draw on his old contacts in enterprise VARs, such as OCSL, 2e2 and Morse, to help push ProCurve into data centres as part of HP’s adaptive enterprise vision.
“Fortunately, we have in place a lot of very loyal, skilled partners,” he explained. “But I am having a careful look to ensure all of our routes to market are covered. The large enterprise-class partners are an area we need to take a closer look at because they are selling into the data centre and high-end solutions space.”
Distribution is another area under review, with Brick conceding he may look to add further muscle to obtain broader reseller coverage.
And he hinted the gloves would come off in ProCurve’s fight to grab channel mindshare from Cisco.
“The strategy is cohabitation as an alternative to Cisco. Cisco Gold partners have competitors, which erodes margins. We are a viable alternative, are margin rich, have the right solutions, great warranty offerings and our value proposition is as good, if not better, than Cisco’s.”
However, Brick stressed there would be limits to the rivalry. “We have a great relationship with Cisco so we are not out to damage that,” he said.
Channel eyebrows were raised when Brick swapped his role at HP’s strategically important ESS unit to head up ProCurve, which represents just one per cent of HP’s turnover.
But Brick claimed taking the job was a no-brainer. “At ESS we put the right infrastructure in place and after two years it was humming along nicely. My job was pretty much done. Taking into account the various experience of end users in my early days channel management, category management and enterprise technology, ProCurve brought all that together.”
“In my discussions with ProCurve management, they were very keen on knowing how to navigate HP, which is quite difficult,” he said.
“HP is the biggest IT firm on the planet, with $100bn revenues. If you attach ProCurve to that engine and do the right things you can expect rewards to flow from that,” he argued.
Ashley Snelling, managing director of ADA Networks, said: “Darryl seems like a straight-talking, hard-hitting chap and comes with a wealth of experience. Putting him into the job is an indication of how seriously HP now takes ProCurve.”
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