In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the Shortlisters’ series, Neil Sawyer, director of channel and partner alliances at HP UK (pictured), discusses the vendor’s new Amplify programme, how HP has got even closer to its partners during the pandemic and why the vendor always strives for improvement, plus more
Give us a flavour of your channel strategy - how long have you worked with the channel, how is your programme structured, how many partners do you work with etc
I've been working with the channel since the beginning of my career - I was even a channel intern at HP back in the day. At HP, the way we engage with our partners is based on our belief that we are stronger together, positioned at the forefront of our mutual customers' transformation journeys and supporting their quest to stay ahead of the competition. A great example of this is our newly redesigned partner programme, HP Amplify.
Our new HP Amplify programme is structured to develop our partners' skills and customer proposition by honing in on digital transformation, improving the customer experience for our partners and generating new business through data driven insights. Built on one integrated structure with two distinct tracks - Synergy and Power - HP Amplify removes complexity, making it easier for our partners to take advantage of its many benefits while engaging with customers on a deeper level.
Around 90 per cent of HP's business is managed through the channel and we have seen all of our reseller partners register for this new programme in the UK&I. This puts our partnership with all current and future resellers in a strong position.
What is the biggest benefit you have seen from working with channel partners?
Working with channel partners, you really see the benefit of scale which offers greater customer satisfaction, flexibility and the ability to solve some of the most challenging customer needs.
How have you supported your partners during the pandemic? Has it made you change your strategy in any way? If so, how?
HP has been managing the challenges and demands our partners and customers have faced and we have provided a comprehensive level of support throughout this turbulent period. That's why earlier this year, we announced a variety of business-support initiatives that enabled our global channel partner community to effectively navigate the operational and financial challenges associated with Covid-19.
HP's Integrated Financial Solutions Group is now offering a variety of financial and asset lifecycle options, including deferred or reduced payments until 2021, short-term rentals, and cash infusion for customer-owned HP devices through a sale-leaseback programme.
Our ‘HP University' initiative also offers online, on-demand courses on topics such as sales skills education, product training, and industry-leading certifications, and more to help arm our partners with the skills and knowledge required to optimise revenue during this challenging period. And finally, to address heightened demand for customer support, HP has established a 24/7 virtual agent to ensure partners have access to counsel whenever they may need it.
What has been your company's biggest challenge during 2020 and how did you overcome it? What role did your own teams play in that?
Adapting to a new way of working was an unexpected challenge and one that our team and our channel partners successfully met. It has been amazing to see the creativity and ingenuity from everyone to make sure we all keep working together and continue to deliver great customer outcomes.
During the past 12-months we have experienced a heightened level of demand, particularly from customers who needed to mobilise a workforce quickly. This included technology provision to critical public services and companies that needed to provide business continuity by enabling users to work from home. This involved continual team communication and managing expectations throughout this period.
What lessons have you learned from this year?
For me, this year has presented three personal lessons. Firstly, that we must listen to the global conversation and ensure we stand-up and raise our voices on equality issues. Secondly, that it's not only important but essential to keep the pressure on driving initiatives that deliver sustainable long-term impact for communities and for the environment. And lastly, that how we win together is by remaining focused and staying closer to our partners and customers than ever before.
What has been the highlight of 2020 for your business?
The highlight for me was being part of a company that so proactively stepped forward to support the global community throughout the pandemic. From the beginning, we engaged in key projects such as NHS Nightingale and enabled primary and secondary NHS employees to remotely connect to their communities by using HP devices. We worked with Computacenter to supply thousands of laptops and desktops that were configured and ready to integrate into NHS systems within a matter of weeks. We also delivered 100,000 laptops to disadvantaged students to enable remote learning so they could continue their studies with minimal disruption. Through fantastic teamwork and cooperation, these efforts drove real, tangible impact and have been wonderful initiatives to be a part of.
What does it mean to you to be recognised for the shortlist/an award?
HP is thrilled to have been nominated for the CRN Channel Awards. We care deeply about the way we work with our partners and always strive for improvement, so it's been wonderful to see these efforts recognised.
How do you think the industry will change as a result of Covid-19 and how do you plan to thrive/grow?
Flexible and remote working is not a new phenomenon but the scale in which this has accelerated globally and locally has been unprecedented.
This change brings about plenty of exciting opportunities for our industry and particularly the UK&I Channel. One of the many great things about our channel partner community is the ability to reinvent and create new services and solutions that are relevant to their customers' needs.
Digital transformation, remote working, collaboration, connectivity and flexible approaches to funding and service delivery will be the areas that will dominate the next 12-18 months. As we have been over the last four decades, HP is right behind our partners and will always be there to offer our support during this period of change.