HP unifies channel go to market, drops revenue gates and...

LAS VEGAS – In what the vendor is calling the biggest overhaul of its channel go to market in years, Hewlett-Packard Co.(NYSE: HPQ) announced a comprehensive overhaul of its PartnerOne program and a host of changes to incentives, marketing and other programs at its Global Partner Program, all designed to make HP an easier company for partners to do profitable business with.

Perhaps the biggest change is to no longer have each business unit lead the channel go to market. Instead, it will be one unified channel program with consistent benefits and requirements.

“HP will look like one company to partners, which hasn’t always been the case for a number of years, with all our different business units,” said Doug Oathout, vice-president of channel partner, alliances and OEM marketing at HP. “We’re clearing that up, with a simple program partners can rely on and have confidence in.”

That was echoed by HP CEO Meg Whitman in her keynote address to partners. Among the promises Whitman made to partners was one program across HP, and no more changes in how HP interacts with its channel for some time. She also promised an end to indirect/direct conflict.

“Taking business away from the channel will not be tolerated,” said Whitman, adding she will hold her executives accountable on that.

Acknowledging recent years have been difficult for HP, Whitman said she has a plan and she’s focused on setting HP up for long-term growth, eschewing short-term moves to make the financials look better.

“We’re on a journey to turn HP around, and it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Whitman. “But we know what has to happen and we’re doing it.”

Simpler and more profitable

In addition to simpler, HP also wants PartnerOne to be more profitable. A new simplified and consistent compensation model removes revenue gates and caps so partners earn dollars from day one and can’t max-out on growth. Rebates are being increased for higher specialist designations, and the window for using marketing development funds (MDF) is being expanded from three months to six, allowing more time for partners to develop and execute marketing programs.

Partners will also have access to HP Unison, a platform that brings together 15 different partner tools on one platform, based on the Salesforce implementation HP is using internally.

Leading HP’s new simplified channel go to market worldwide are Jesse Chavez for enterprise group and Dan Tindall for printing and personal systems (pictured above).

HP’s costly and controversial big data acquisition, Autonomy, is being transitioned into PartnerOne. As an interim step, partners selling Autonomy solutions will now work with one Autonomy Partner program, modelled after PartnerOne. By the end of 2013, the Autonomy program will be folded into PartnerOne.

HP’s other recent big data acquisition, Vertica, has now been fully integrated into PartnerOne. Chris Selland, vice-president of marketing for HP Vertica, said there’s a ton of interest in big data, and not just from enterprise customers.

“The big data problem – or opportunity, depending on how you look at it – is really something that hits companies of all sizes now,” said Selland. “Big data is not exclusively a big data thing, and the HP Vertical analytics appliance is now available to patners.”

Vertica had a modest number of independent partners before it was acquired by HP in 2011 but it’s business was primarily direct, so there’s a greenfield channel opportunity, said Selland. Through PartnerOne, partners can now access Vertica-specific training and certification to get them ramped-up.

“I think this is the right time for the channel,” said Selland. “We’re at point where it’s not just early adopters interested in big data. It’s CFOs and CMOs and heads of customer care saying I have a lot of customer social sensor data.”

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