Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently announced enhancements to the HPE Partner Ready Program to help partners advance on their as a service journey, capture growing market opportunities, and drive increased sales growth in the small and medium sized business (SMB) segment. Amer Warsi, Channels, SMB and Ecosystem Leader, HPE India, shares with us some of the key initiatives that are planned for its channel ecosystem in India, and also highlights some of the biggest opportunities for channel partners in India
Some edited excerpts:
How has the year 2020 been for HPE? What are some of your key plans for the next year?
We, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) value our partners and consider them an extension of our own team members. The year 2020 has been marked by an even stronger collaboration with our partners, and we are very proud about the meaningful work we’ve done together to enable collective progress through challenging times. According to independent analyst Canalys’ Candefero Partner survey, HPE Partner Ready is now the #1 Partner Program (leading amongst main competitors) for the 13th month in a row (as of Q3).
As the market shifts and accelerates to everything-as-a-service, we are adapting to keep momentum and evolving our Go-to-Market vision. As we enter FY21, we want to make it easy for our partners to sell solutions with us. We are helping our partners embrace our as-a-service vision and enabling them to capture opportunities in the SMB and mid-market segments. From a channel standpoint, continuity, stability and consistency are among our key differentiators.
From a product portfolio point of view, which products are doing well for your partner community? It would also help if you could tell us some of the key reasons for the adoption
HPE has a broad portfolio of products and services and our set of core industry leading priority products are being well received by the partner community.Our pivot to as-a-Service is also gaining momentum with ARR of $585M that was up 30% y/y in our FYQ4 as we capture the rapidly growing on-premises as-a-Service market.
Customer adoption has been very strong evidenced by our growth in customers to over 900 and a TCV which has tripled in just the last 3 years to over $4B today as we closed out FY20.
Customers are recognizing our differentiated products and services, which can be seen in our as-a-service orders growth of 20% y/y in FYQ4.
The HPE Partner Ready Program maintains one of the most competitive as a service compensation models.
HPE will debut the SMB FlexOffers program providing distribution and solution provider partners the ability to customize their built-to-order (BTO) products to match unique customer and market needs. This will give partners the flexibility to select preferred units and options that, through dynamic attach-driven pricing, can help them access and ensure the best price. In addition, solution providers will be able to drive quicker delivery times by leveraging distributor inventory, and distributors will benefit from an automated, simplified claiming process.
What are some of the new initiatives planned for partners this year?
Our channel is our strongest route to the India market, with more than 80% of sales going through the channel. HPE has continually evolved the HPE Partner Ready Program to best meet partners’ needs and anticipate shifting IT priorities as a result of digital transformation. We have a new Partner Ready framework of Programs which is aligned to the new normal. It incorporates and pivots for market realities are and around our priorities. Under these we have multiple initiatives that enable the entire experience and helps our partners shine. Program offerings and enhancements to help partners drive growth with as-a-service, expand expertise to differentiate themselves, and better serve key SMB and midmarket customers, include:
o HPE FlexOffers: HPE has improved the purchase experience to allow partners to create customized built-to-order (BTO) product configurations at bundled-discount pricing, dispatched from distribution inventory.
o Enhanced sales certifications: Accessible via the new HPE Sales Pro Learning Center, sales certifications in FY21 will provide a modern, intuitive, mobile-friendly and interactive experience to help partners quickly align with HPE strategies and reduce out-of- office time.
o Extended demo program: HPE’s demo program includes new demo options, easier access to the HPE portfolio and allows partners to purchase their own demo equipment at steep discounts.
o SMB and mid-market co-selling: To engage partners from across the ecosystem and drive further profitability, HPE is expanding co-selling opportunities between solution providers and service providers. These new offers are available via the Cloud28+ platform and community.
o Dedicated as a service enablement: In FY21, HPE is extending partner enablement related to HPE GreenLake with a new “HPE GreenLake Introduction and Business Planning Workshop” to help partners assess their as a service strategy and become proficient in selling HPE GreenLake.
o Margin and price protection: HPE supports partners focused on “new logo” deals with options for upfront benefits and price protection.
o Smaller starting capacity now available for HPE GreenLake: As part of the “Swift” sales program with standardized and simplified HPE GreenLake offerings, HPE recently announced new HPE GreenLake cloud services with options targeted at partners and their SMB and midmarket customers. For distributors and HPE partners, HPE provides right-sized HPE GreenLake packages with a competitive starting point from as low as $70,000 to help partners engage on deals with smaller customers adopting an IT-as-a-service model. Coupled with an easy and fast selling experience from pre-configured and pre-priced offers, distributors can scale their as-a-service strategy and expand the addressable market for them and their partners. Additionally, HPE continues to offer its 17 percent reseller rebate to drive profitability with partners selling HPE GreenLake.
o Specialist support for HPE GreenLake and Storage portfolios: In FY21, HPE will offer partners additional support in the form of HPE GreenLake specialists and dedicated enablement initiatives, like workshops with experts, to help them personalize their as-a-service journey. Solution providers and distributors will also have the opportunity to elevate their conversations and accelerate sales by working with HPE’s “Storage Rangers” — outcome-based solution selling experts with a high degree of technical skills. These specialists will help partners enhance the request for quotation (RFQ) process to execute existing Strategic Storage Campaigns and initiatives, generate new opportunities across the HPE Storage portfolio and refresh their HPE Storage installed base.
o Enhanced partner onboarding experience: To maximize the experience for new partners, HPE has improved the HPE Partner Ready onboarding process through end-to-end visibility and partner referral.
What are some of the emerging opportunities that you believe will be big for your channel partners this year?
To seize the emerging opportunities, partners should strongly consider staying relevant, going after growing markets. We at HPE are helping our partners embrace our as a service vision and focus on the SMB market with a new approach to selling HPE GreenLake.
HPE GreenLake cloud services offer point and click, self-service simplicity across a variety of common use cases and workloads, allowing users to quickly create and deliver solutions that streamline operations, protect their business from risk, and roll out new services—all from a single common platform. This standardized and simplified approach expands opportunities for partners to embrace our vision and enable smaller customers to take advantage of our flexible consumption offering (as exemplified by the Swift Sales Program).
We are doubling down on specialist resources to help partners sell. HPE GreenLake experts, as well as co-funded Storage Rangers. As we evolve our GTM vision, we are introducing clearer accountability so HPE Hybrid IT and Aruba sales teams and experts can work in even closer collaboration to ensure our partners get the end-to-end support their need.
We are also investing in new partner activation, enablement, and progression, with a strong focus on consumption; we are simplifying the process for partners to obtain the HPE GreenLake certification and enhance their expertise, providing a white-glove experience including dedicated workshops enabling partners to self-assess their readiness and personalize their as-a-service journey—supported by HPE executives, experts and sellers.
What are some of the initiatives taken (especially around skill development) to enhance the capabilities of partners, to take advantage of emerging opportunities?
Over the past three years we’ve been investing millions in offering all our partners the same learning and collaboration opportunities as our sales teams, bringing our communities together and equipping them with the tools that they need. HPE offers access to same tools and programs to our partners as it gives to our employees. We are helping partners differentiate themselves through expertise.
For the purposes of the same, we have invested in learning and development tools and programs for our partners.
o HPE Pro Series (HPE Sales Pro, HPE Tech Pro and HPE Marketing Pro): With the HPE Pro Series sales, technical and marketing professionals can leverage virtual forums to connect with experts and specialists who can help close opportunities faster, architect outcome-based solutions, and accelerate their shift to digital.
o HPE Sales Pro: The HPE Sales Pro is a global approach to driving sales excellence for HPE and partner sellers through strategic sales communications and innovative enablement initiatives. In FY21 all HPE sales certifications will be accessible virtually via HPE Sales Pro for a more modern, intuitive, interactive, affordable – and entirely virtual – experience.
o HPE Tech Pro: HPE Tech Pro is focused on technical advancement for partner solution architects and HPE presales professionals globally. It’s a single place for partners to find localized content, learning paths and recognitions (badges), as well as gain new competencies to foster an outcome-based solution selling approach. Through leading edge virtual learning, collaboration and certifications, partners can gain extensive knowledge of HPE product lines, drive growth and competitive business outcomes. Recent enhancements to HPE Tech Pro include the launch of the Specialized SMB Portal Experience.
o HPE Marketing Pro: The shift to digital marketing is more important than ever, and the need for companies to embrace the full power of digital has accelerated. To be successful, partners need to continue to evolve their marketing towards a data-driven digital first approach that delivers personalized and seamless experiences for their customers wherever and however they interact, and delivered across all channels in an integrated way.
With respect to the SMB market, what are some of the key opportunities that you foresee? Does this require a change in approach for partners?
The requirement of the SMB market are different and our partners need to factor in this when they address the customers in the SMB segment.
– SMBs require quick turnaround times and we offer automated SMB pricing to decrease the turnaround times for quotes, improve win rates, and provide a frictionless experience. Partners can access margin and price protection for selling to SMB customers, and special incentives via the New Business Opportunity (NBO) program.
– SMB customers are working to find the right workload solutions to meet their off-premises business requirements. Our partners need to stay focused on helping their customers achieve their correct workloads and accelerate their aaS solution and help them through the digital transformation.
– HPE encourages its partners to work in this segment very strongly and we have taken necessary steps to enable and incentivize our partners to develop synergies to help SMB customers and position themselves as trusted advisors.
The new normal market has impacted all of us and many businesses are now taking a different view of how they operate. Our partners have to take cognizance of the subtle shifts that are happening in the buying experiences and expectations of their customers and incorporate them. OEMs like us understand the need for ensuring the entire experience of a partner working with a SMB customer and is provided the correct tools and market insights to reach out to the customers.