HPE's longest-standing UK Platinum partner, OCSL, says its loyalty to the vendor helped it secure a berth on a new pilot scheme that will act as a test bed for how HPE interacts with partners around cloud services.
OCSL's new chairman Martin Hess told CRN the VAR is one of only three HPE partners globally – and the only one in EMEA – to be selected for the trial, which he said was more "intimate" than anything HPE has done in this area before.
Cloud, managed and project services currently account for 35 per cent of OCSL's sales but Hess (pictured) confirmed that the goal is to double that figure to 70 per cent in the coming years, working with vendors HPE and Microsoft Azure.
The new pilot for service provider partners was designed by HPE's new senior vice president of worldwide indirect sales, Kerry Bailey, who joined recently from Verizon.
The US' United Data Technology and Canada's Rogers are the only other two firms currently involved in the HPE pilot, although it will soon be rolled out to 100 partners, Hess said.
"We are honoured to be one of only three partners involved worldwide," he said. "HPE are trying to help us on that journey to be more services-centric and they've seen we have a managed services business so are not starting from ground zero."
One key aspect of the pilot will be the "triangulation" between OCSL, HPE and Microsoft Azure, which HPE made its formal public cloud partner in December following its decision to exit the market, Hess said.
"We've declared our hand around Microsoft Azure as our partner and Kerry's team is very supportive of that, so we are looking to develop our proposition there," he said.
"They are looking to help us on everything from sales transformation to the Azure stack in our datacentre through to go-to-market programmes for customers."
Hess added: "What I think they liked about OCSL is we've already started on that journey and are loyal to them – we are one of the few that have basically stayed exclusively HP."
Hess himself joined OCSL from HP, a fact he said would make it easier for the VAR to navigate the corridors of power at the vendor.
"I have a really good feel for the heartbeat of HPE, so that will help," he said.
"There's a recognition in HP that the channel is a huge strength but if it doesn't help some of its closest and most trusted channel partners move to the new world, then it will lose them."
Hess said his other priority as chairman is to help maintain or even grow OCSL's traditional hardware business, even if it shrinks as a percentage of overall revenues.
"I think we are under-exploiting the potential HPE has in networking and we are also looking to build on our small security business," he said.
"I want to be out there helping OCSL win business in the marketplace, not just doing spreadsheets."
The ultimate goal is to ensure OCSL can satisfy customers' IT needs without being biased towards either on-premise or cloud, Hess said.
"There are partners out there that just want customers to go to Azure or AWS," he said. "And then there will be some traditional players that just want to flog hardware. Actually, it's quite nice to be in a position in the market to advise over all of it," he said.
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