Leading up to HP’s impending split, Alaa Alshimy, VP Enterprise Group and MD HP Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, spoke to Channel Middle East about the impact the split is going to have on the regional channel and the importance of partner engagement in the “new style of IT.”
Months before Hewlett-Packard’s impending split, which is scheduled to come into effect on 1st November, 2015 and lead to the creation of an enterprise computing business under the name Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and a personal systems and printing business known as HP Inc, Alaa Alshimy, VP Enterprise Group and MD, HP Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa (MEMA), is working tirelessly to meet and listen from channel partners and end user customers across the region.
Over the past 12 months, Alshimy has been meeting partners and customers across MEMA to personally oversee a complete overhaul of the company’s partner strategy and programmes. Not only that, Alshimy has been instrumental in guiding the MEMA team to reinvest in product innovation to restore the company’s legacy as one of the crown jewels of the IT industry. In addition, he has championed the need for HP to reinvest in reseller partners and channel resources to restore its rich partner heritage.
“In FY15, part of HP’s strategy was recovery and expansion and our Q3 results showed that we grew our business and that’s what we wanted to achieve at a global level,” Alshimy enthused. “HP has continued to deliver on the five-year strategy it unveiled in FY12, which was diagnose and foundation. In FY13, we concentrated on rebuilding, while in FY14, we paid attention to recovery and expansion, and I’m glad to say that the company has delivered on all those plans.”
Alshimy is also driving what in HP jargon is called a “new style of IT” along with a new style of IT partner. That has required astronomical investments, including a more than $100m global sales transformation initiative that includes a single unified channel sales platform called Unison based on Salesforce.com. It also required a companywide effort to put partners at the centre of everything HP, from product planning to sales and even a massive marketing overhaul aimed at letting partners leverage the $112bn computer giant’s multibillion-dollar marketing muscle.
“The feedback I have received from all partners involved with HP in the region so far has been very positive. All our partners are aware of the big step the company has taken,” Alshimy said, adding that the split itself is going to bring more focus to the two entities: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.
Alshimy said currently, a partner working with HP and buying the entire portfolio for example enterprise solutions and, printers and personal systems, will be required to have two different contracts with the two entities after the split is finalised later this year.
“What the split means is that it will be much easier for channel partners to deal with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for its enterprise solutions offerings and HP Inc for the legacy personal systems and printing business,” he added.
In fact, Alshimy noted that within most partner organisations, there has always been specialty teams focusing on customers, the competitive landscape and vertical segments. “What this split brings to our partner businesses in the region is more focus for HP because it will be simpler for them to work with the two entities,” he said.
He added that focus on both sides of the business will be easier even for end user clients as they will be able to receive undivided attention from channel partners and HP. “I would like to assure partners that the new partner engagement model will be much easier for them once the split is completed,” he said.
Having said that, Alshimy explained that there has been a couple of questions he has received from partners that have centred around the existing contracts and engagement model they have with HP. He said moving forward, partners will have two contracts and if for example, a partner is selling the entire portfolio of the personal systems and printing business, that partner will have to sign a new contract with HP Inc. He added that if on the other hand, the partner has been focusing on enterprise solutions, that partner will be required to sign a new contract with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.
The contract itself doesn’t change, instead HP is giving partners two contracts depending on their current existing status, business and product line.
Alshimy said that the other issue that partners have raised is around credit lines and limits. He reiterated that partners will continue to enjoy the same credit lines when the split is finalised later this year. “If for example, a partner’s credit limit is $50m across the entire HP portfolio, that partner will retain the same credit limit even though it will be split equally between Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc,” he said. “I just want to assure all our partners that the split will have zero negative impact on their business.”