HP’s channel shake up

HP’s local partners can expect a shake-up of its channel programme after the company announced that it would put more emphasis on reseller loyalty and form closer ties with them.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  July 31, 2005

HP’s local partners can expect a shake-up of its channel programme after the company announced that it would put more emphasis on reseller loyalty and form closer ties with them. “It [partner loyalty] is something we have talked about in the past but have never really put meaning behind it. We will do this now in a new model that will be launched by November 1,” said Christoph Schell, director and head of HP’s Solution Partners Organization (SPO) for Europe East and Centre, Middle East and Africa. The new programme, the Preferred Partner Programme (PPP), will offer qualified partners access to marketing funds, “privileged” lead generation and special pricing. “Partners will be able to benefit not only from marketing help, such as global support and channel budget, but also from preferred handling when it comes to business opportunities or single deals,” Schell said. “We will structure it in a way that it is supposed to become a real VIP club,” he added. Such exclusive benefits, however, would also require partners to meet very stringent requirements, added Schell. Details about the qualification criteria are currently being finalised, but Schell implied that customer service capabilities and the reseller’s level of engagement with HP would play a major role in the partner’s acceptance to the programme. Specialisation and certification will also be important as these will gauge the amount of business the partner has to generate to keep its status within HP's channel community. “Preferred partners will need to do a certain volume business with HP, but it will depend on which part of HP's business we are talking about because we are trying to foster specialisation. It will [also] depend very much on certification and on commitment. We want detailed understanding of share of wallet - how much is HP's business growing within the partner,” Schell explained. Currently, HP has 1214 certified professionals within its local channel community. The company is looking at increasing that number to develop specialisations in different business segments where HP is present, such as data centres, networking and in imaging and printing, said Hazem Bazan, HP SPO and PSG (Personal Systems Group) manager in the Middle East. “We are categorising our partners based on their areas of specialisation.” he added. “We are also categorising partners that are focused on volume business and will change the way we compensate them to create a win-win situation in terms of their overall profitability,” Bazan concluded. Schell said HP is planning to introduce more certification courses that will not only tackle technical subjects but also the more practical aspects, such as how to effectively run a business, to help keep their partners afloat. “What we figured out is that there are people in the reselling business that are either highly capable traders or highly capable engineers,” he said. “Very rarely do we have people that are skilled in both. So we are putting a certification programme where every engineer that comes to our training gets a mini-MBA degree,” Schell revealed. “We have very good partners that get eaten by ‘sharks’. They get eaten by traders simply because they do not know the basics of running a business,” Schell concluded.

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