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Feb 25 2011   1:07AM GMT

HP focuses on MDF changes in PartnerOne program

PatOuellette Pat Ouellette Profile: PatOuellette

Hewlett-Packard said it will make it easier and faster for its partners to get their market development funds (MDF) and will give them more notice of PartnerOne program changes.

Partners want the HP PartnerOne program to be more transparent and predictable and they want to get their money faster with fewer steps said Matt Smith, director of marketing for the company’s Solution Partners Organization (SPO).

Under the new plan, partners will be reimbursed for approved expenditures as they go, submitting receipts and paperwork to get their MDF — ideally within five days of submission. This new per-activity plan differs from the old process in which partners scrambled at the end of each quarter to dig up receipts and business review forms.

“Different partners will look at this in either a positive or negative light but our overall goal here was to achieve transparency,” Smith said.

And, going forward, partners will get three-months notice of any changes vs. the current 30 days. That will allow partners “to make business decisions, whether it’s positive or negative, and increase efficiency,” Smith said.

These changes come in the runup to HP’s Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas next month where many partners will see HP CEO Leo Apotheker in person for the first time.  HP’s PartnerOne program has faced its share of negative feedback over the past year.

Arlin Sorensen, CEO Heartland Technology Group, thinks the MDF modifications are a step in the right direction for HP partners.

“They really are listening and making the changes to be more responsive to the SMB partners in their channel. It is a very refreshing and good thing for smaller VARs where cashflow is always a challenge,” Sorensen said.

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