• 03/29/2004
    3:00 PM
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Adapting To A New HP

Armed with a new channel strategy that melds its commercial and enterprise units into a single channel organization, an additional $50 million in funding, and the launch of new programs

Pete Busam, vice president and COO of Decisive Business Systems, a Pennsauken, N.J., HP partner that nearly doubled its HP business last year to $2 million, said he is more upbeat than he has ever been about his HP relationship. "It looks like behavior is changing and the channel has more opportunity, and probably where that is most evident is in services," he said. "HP can lead or the partner can lead. The key is they are engaging more directly with the channel, which means a bigger sale for them."

Some partners, however, are worried that the Fiorina channel march will not be embraced by the field. "When it gets down to the field, [the HP field-sales people] need to embrace the channel the way that Carly and Kevin [Gilroy] are articulating it," said Marlene Brill, president of Digitask, an HP enterprise solution provider in New York, whose HP business was down 50 percent last year. "I am challenging the HP management to make it work."

Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based HP partner, said HP has several outstanding issues such as eHIP, its enhanced enterprise distribution program, but is moving to address them. When eHIP was launched Feb. 1, it took two weeks to get pricing for special orders from distributors. That time is now down to two days, he said. HP's goal is 24 hours, which is how long it took before eHIP was implemented, Baldwin noted. "That's funny, when Carly talks about simplifying business," he said.

However, HP is seeking to re-engage with the channel, Baldwin said. At the conference, HP handed him a list of 25 storage accounts it had worked with on a direct basis but now can't handle since cutting the number of storage specialists to four compared with 11 last year in the Western region.

It falls to Gilroy to translate Fiorina's unify and attack themes into action. As head of the Solution Partners Organization, Gilroy, who previously had responsibility for commercial channels, Americas, will report to Mike Larson, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Systems Group, Americas, and Jim McDonnell, who was named to lead the channels push on a worldwide basis.

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