Channel 'can whet UK's appetite for flexible-consumption IT models'

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HPE's channel partners will be the key to unlocking the UK's appetite for flexible consumption models, one of the company's top execs has told Channel Pro.

Flexible consumption has played a big role at the HPE Discover 2018 conference in Las Vegas, with several announcements around its GreenLake service, which offers various plans allowing customers to pay for their on-premise infrastructure using a cloud-like as-a-service model based on their usage.

However, Scott Ramsay, vice-president of consumption & managed services for HPE Pointnext, said the UK has trailed behind the rest of Europe in the adoption of these services. Part of the reason behind this, he thinks, is that HPE has not promoted the service as well as it could have done.

"There's been a lack of understanding in the UK market that there are genuine consumption models out there for on-premise, so I think as they start to get wind of the fact that they've got better options than just going looking for financial options, I think we're going to see an acceleration," he said.

The engine powering that acceleration, in Ramsay's view, will be HPE's channel partners. He highlighted the changes that HPE announced as part of the conference, including an investment of $1 billion in simplifying the processes and procedures for channel partners, as well as a new channel-centric flexible capacity offering.

"Flex Capacity for Partners: that will be key to our success in getting Flex Capacity generally ramped in the UK. And then once customers are up and running on Flex Capacity, the ability to - for want of a better expression - upsell them onto a GreenLake Hybrid Cloud solution, I think will start to increase," he said.

"So our partner community and our enablement of the partner community I think has held us back in the UK, up until now. I expect we'll accelerate on the back of the changes we've made."

These changes to the partner programme will be very attractive for HPE's channel; buybacks are easier, incentives have been increased, compliance challenges have been lessened and the overall process is supposedly much simpler.

"We've simplified it and made it very rewarding," Ramsay said. "Make it easy and pay me a lot of money for doing it - partners love that!"

Ramsay also suggested that in allowing customers to pick and choose their own infrastructure as part of a flexible consumption model, HPE may actually have gone too far, pointing out that such a high level of customer choice is not available with traditional IaaS providers like AWS.

"Some of our infrastructure options lend themselves better to a consumption model," he claimed.

"Where I'd like to get to is the point where customers are saying 'I'm coming to run this on-premise, but I just want to know that it's going to do what I need it to do. HPE will design and architect it for me, and I don't really need to know what the underlying infrastructure is, as long as it's guaranteed by HPE to be the best architecture to do the work that I want it to'."

He stressed that if a standardised approach like this were to be adopted, HPE would still allow organisations to customise their infrastructure if they wanted, but added that he'd like to see this approach pushed by the company.

"It's almost stepping back from enabling everything, and saying 'actually, that's not the right answer'," he explained. "That benefits the customer as well - it speeds up our supply chain and gets them up and running much, much quicker."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.