HP needs leadership

What is HP doing with its channel? Does anyone know-because Carly Fiorina certainly doesn't seem to-or at least she is keeping her cards very close to her chest.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 21, 2002

What is HP doing with its channel? Does anyone know-because Carly Fiorina certainly doesn't seem to-or at least she is keeping her cards very close to her chest.

HP had promised partners that details of its channel programme would be finalised 90 days after the merger was officially finalised, which would have been at the start of August.

Now, in an interview with CRN US, Fiorina can't even commit to having details by October. The underlying problem is that HP is just itching to go direct. The illusive Dell model is just too tempting for a company of HP's size to ignore, so at the risk of upsetting the channel, Fiorina is set on doing more business direct.

To be fair, her argument for going direct for certain business makes some sense-customers just aren't willing to pay for services on everything, so the volume business has to look at a less costly route to market. "We have to acknowledge that there are fundamental shifts in the industry at multiple levels in the value chain, and the channel is affected by this, as are we," Fiorina stated, and you would have to say that for some lines, going direct makes sense, but HP is making it clear that it is going after more SMB business directly too, which really steps on the channel's toes.

HP's plans for the Middle East are no more detailed. While moving toward a more direct business model seems a lot less likely-it has just not proven to be a feasible model here-the number and status of channel partners is still up in the air.

HP says it wants to wait and see who performs before making any decisions, and again, you cannot blame them for wanting the best performing partners, but it does not make the situation any better for partners who feel they are not getting a complete commitment from their vendor. HP, both in this region and at corporate level needs clear direction, from the people at the top, or else risk antagonising and alienating partners.

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