Simplification has been the watchword on day one of HP's Global Partner Conference, with the vendor unveiling sweeping moves to consolidate rebate structures and certifications.
The vendor used the event, taking place in Las Vegas this week, to announce that it is moving to a completely linear channel rebate structure, with rewards paid to partners from the first dollar of sales. Upper limits on the total amount paid out are also being removed and the HP Enterprise Group is slimming four compensation programmes into just one.
Alessandra Brambilla, EMEA channel vice president of the Enterprise Group, told ChannelWeb: "We are facing an economic environment that is very difficult to predict, so it is very difficult to make targets because the market can go up or down. The best thing we can do for the channel is to provide predictability [in the rebate structure]."
Brambilla explained that differing percentage levels for different technology sets will remain in place, ensuring that no partners lose out under the newly unified system. She added that partners could also achieve increased rebate levels by winning greenfield business, or driving sales of strategically important technologies, such as networking, enterprise storage and HP's CloudSystem wares.
Alongside the simplification of the rebate scheme, the ExpertOne training and certification programme is also being given a trim, with 44 badges to be reduced to just 22. Brambilla explained that the transition and implementation process across the region will take up to 18 months, and that partners will be given a grace period of up to a year to continue to use their existing set of specialisations.
HP is also targeting improvements in lead times, and claims a pilot programme in the UK – now set to roll out across EMEA – saw configuration times slashed by an average of 35 per cent. Quotes were delivered within eight hours in 80 per cent of cases, said the vendor. And Brambilla added that HP's performance also stacks up well against rivals such as Dell and IBM.
"We benchmark ourselves against the competition and we want to lead the market," she said. "If we see that we are not the leader, we work to [rectify that]."
Last year HP UK channel partners revealed that the vendor had become more demanding when it comes to MDF investment and was asking for more evidence of loyalty and demonstrable ROI. Brambilla claimed that HP will continue to drive a greater proportion of channel marketing cash through "strategic", rather than short-term "tactical" reseller initiatives.
"We want to align a bigger portion of the money to those strategic areas where we want to grow. This is an opportunity for partners to position themselves as leaders," she explained. "There will always be a portion that is tactical, but we are looking for a significant portion that is dedicated to those strategic areas."
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