HP Inc's UK channel boss Neil Sawyer has declared that the firm has dramatically reduced the amount of business it does direct with customers, claiming partners are more important than ever.
Speaking to CRN in Boston, where HP and HPE have held their Global Partner Conferences this week, Sawyer said that HP works with fewer than 300 customers direct in the UK and Ireland, which is a significant threshold to have broken.
"All the other end-customer relationships we have are with the channel who do really, really good work for us," he said. "That's 70 per cent fewer customers in the accounts we were moving over to the channel that are still direct. We're left with a very small portion of those trading with us directly in 2016. It's positive news.
"We spoke about $60m of business annually which is done direct that we would be prepared to move over to the channel. Out of that $60m, we've only done $12m to $15m of that direct of that $60m this year. It's dramatically reduced and the amount of business with the channel is growing, which is great to see, even with some of the challenges around currency and things like that.
"But in general market share is growing in PC and print and we're feeling as if we're on the front foot with partners, on the corporate side and right through to education where we had a record month in schools and colleges in July."
During his keynote, HP's CEO Dion Weisler said the firm currently puts 80 per cent of sales through the channel, a figure which will stand at 87 per cent by the end of its fiscal year in October.
Sawyer said the figure is "broadly the same" in the UK, with just a couple of percentage points in it.
Throughout HP and HPE's sessions, numerous references were made to the firm's previous channel actions, where working direct was much more commonplace than today.
Alluding to this, Sawyer claimed that the business is much more channel-friendly now.
"As the channel director in the UK and Ireland, my job is to work with the channel partners, particularly the big enterprise and systems integrator partners, who in the past we have traditionally competed with," he said. "I believe they are doing an extremely good job. Post the separation as well, HP Inc needs partners more than ever before. We can only deal with so many accounts direct."
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