The independent business technology community for HP users, Connect, is launching on March 1 the Connect Marketplace — a searchable index of HP partners that HP Connect members can turn to when looking for products.
HP PartnerOne and AllianceOne partners can set up a free basic listing or enhance their listing for a fee.
According to Nina Buik, chief marketing officer at HP Connect (which was formed by the consolidation of user groups), this is the only resource of its kind for partners that allows users to search the marketplace by different criteria – for instance, product type, HP partner affiliation and location — to find the right partner for them.
Partner listings will not be rated by users, but at some point in the future, after the marketplace is fully populated, partners may receive recognition in the way of awards or partner of the year, etc., Buik said.
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HP wants to do away with the hardware portion of webOS, but possibly salvage the software part. Based on HP’s decisions so far, it looks like the mobile operating system has no future at HP and the company’s eventual plan for it remains to be seen. There has been talk of licensing the OS to third-party vendors or players such as Google or Facebook.
Though PSG head Todd Bradley said back in August that HP should spin off PSG, HP executives have been short on details so far.
What will Mike Parrottino’s promotion mean to PSG?
HP hasn’t announced long-term PSG plans yet, but it did say last week that Mike Parrottino will be the new head of the solution partner organization within PSG, meaning he will lead U.S. PSG channel sales.
Parrottino has put in 24 years at HP, most recently as the vice president of PSG sales and business management, and is a stabilizing influence at a time when PSG is in turmoil. HP thinks highly enough of Parrottino to put him in such an instrumental channel role, but one has to wonder whether PSG, and his role within it, will be intact even a few months from now.
HP is banking on PSG senior vice president and general manager for the Americas Stephen DiFranco and Parrottino’s leadership to guide the PSG through uncertain times.
Update: Rumors are now circulating that Apotheker’s run at HP could be coming to a close.
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1: The jury’s still out on whether new HP CEO Leo Apotheker is a true channel friend or not. He said all the right things, APC attendees agreed. But, they remind each other, talk is cheap. It could very well be true that his silence over the first few months of his tenure was natural for a guy trying to get his mind around a very, very big company. Or, maybe not.
2: HP Technology Services was not the belle of this particular ball. A good chunk of attendees headed for the exits when Gary Budzinski took the stage Tuesday. Several partner sources said while HP is opening up more of its services offerings to partners, most VARs see it more as a competitor than an asset.
3: Partners “get” that HP wants them to sell all of its products, across groups, but even the most loyal said it makes no sense for them to go 100% HP. There was a lot of HP-led talk about HP “franchise” partners. Said one: “I love HP. I love its products. But I’m a little VAR, I have to pick my battles and they’re in way too many battles.” And, it is a big gamble to put all your eggs in one vendor’s basket.
4: Oracle was the enemy du jour, but Cisco wasn’t far behind. Nor Apple. Executive VP Dave Donatelli called out Oracle for discontinuing software development for Itanium.
Oracle’s move targeted the Unix market, he said. “A reasonable person looking at this will scratch their head. In Itanium market share, Unix share, we held steady at 26 to 27%. A decision like that gets made when you’re losing share,” he said.
“Since Oracle acquired Sun, we surpassed Sun in share. They’re number three and we’re number two. One area they missed in their guidance was in Sun hardware revenue. This was a unilateral decision and anti-competitive behavior,” he noted. Then he asked HP partners to lobby Oracle to reverse itself.
5: Channel guy Stephen DiFranco and team did a good job highlighting small-but-growing HP VARS–many of which started–in the HP way–in someone’s garage or dorm room.
6: Even skeptics toting iPads at the show seem convinced that HP might make a go of its TouchPad/WebOS tandem provided it gets them out the door. The company needs to “thread the needle” between the closed-off iTunes/iPhone/iPod fantasy island and the no-holds-barred Android chaos where every carrier seems to have its own Android version.
7: HP Networking’s done good. Real good. Including the 3Com acquisition, that business grew 183% in the first quarter compared to year-ago period. Without 3Com, growth would have been 30%. The gazillion dollar question is whether that momentum can be sustained and whether Cisco networking will continue its anemic performance. Cisco, apparently, is so fixated on UCS and “immersive” video that it’s let its bread-and-butter switching and routing business wilt. (Make no mistake though, Cisco’s still number one in networking overall. )
HP seems serious about keeping that networking mo-jo going, unveiling a slew of channel incentives including additional margin for competitive wins.
8: Surprise! Printing’s still a good business and the continuing rage for mobility and new form-factor devices will only accelerate that. VARs that haven’t dabbled in multifunction printers or managed print services, should take a look at them now. HP ships 60 milliion printers a year. A recurrent theme was HP pc/laptop/smart phone/tablet products as onramp and printers the offramp to the cloud.
9: Channel conflict is a way of life. Interesting to hear Randy Seidl tell hundreds of HP partners that if they’re in an account but NOT pushing all of HP’s storage-server-and networking products in that account, HP will bring in a partner to compete with them. Gulp. Everyone knows that’s true, but that was pretty stark. “Symantec would do the same thing but sheesh,” grumbled one attendee.
Another brushed off the verbiage. “That’s just Randy. He likes being a tough guy.”
10: Direct sales are not cheaper than channel sales. DiFranco, VP and general manager of HP’s Solution Partners Organiztion, said internal research showed that HP in the past had not fully accounted for the cost of direct sales while it tracked every penny going towards a channel sale. That meant HP was underestimating the real cost of direct sales. Hopefully now that they’ve got their metrics straight, there really will be a reduction of conflict in the field.
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It didn’t help this notoriously restive bunch that Apotheker took quite some time to approach them and when he did it was via a canned video. Say what you will about Hurd, but he reached out to the channel and was almost ridiculously accessible. Not true with the new regime.
So there was quite a bit of anticipation when Apotheker took the stage here in front of 1000-plus partners. And, by most accounts, he said all the right things. That he’s 100% committed to the channel. that the channel will have a role in his grand, if still somewhat fuzzy, cloud vision.
Reaction to Apotheker is pretty tightly linked to a given VAR’s take on Hurd. Many were glad when the new guy signaled early on that he would not continue the draconian cuts initiated by Hurd that were–to be fair–probably necessary to get HP down to fighting weight.
Glen Jodoin, VP of marketing and operations for GreenPages Technology Solutions, was pleased with what he saw from Apotheker.
“I was impressed with the keynote. HP has always been committed to the channel and I fully expect that to [continue]. Leo is a compelling speaker and offered a good vision as to how the HP portfolio plays to the cloud and his vision as to both the current and future HP. It is a big and welcome difference from Hurd.”
Others, including one long-time HP VAR was having none of it. His concern is that Apotheker came from SAP, not known for its channel love. And that both Apotheker and HP board chairman Ray Lane appear to have an animus towards Oracle. If HP starts down the “kill Oracle” path, competing with the Oracle direct-sales monster could mean much unpleasantness ahead.
Noting that Apotheker was “severed” from SAP before HP came knocking, this VAR was incredulous. “Look,” he said. “The HP CEO slot is probably the most important job in IT. And they gave it to an unemployed guy!”
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