HP outlines $1.5bn channel investment

HP building

HP (NYSE:HPQ) says it will invest $1.5bn in worldwide channel programmes to simplify its engagement, improve processes to allow partners to become more profitable.

The announcements at HP Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week include changes to its HP PartnerOne programme which will eliminate rebate caps across the majority of its product lines.

“This allows partners to start earning rebates from the first box,” explains Stephen Watson, HP UK enterprise group channel manager. “It gives channel partners a clearer idea of what they can earn from selling HP [products & services].”

According to Watson this change will also stop the practice of partners holding orders back for the next quarter as they won’t receive additional rebates tiers. Although not a “significant problem” Watson says it does still happen and is unhelpful for both HP and its partners.

The second significant change is a simplification of the training requirements that HP partners need to attain to gain additional rebates. The current programme has 44 certifications which are expected to half.

Watson stresses there is no lowering of the technical or sales proficiency requirements for the channel but that simplification will make it less expensive for partners to gain specialisations which in turn will allow for greater profitability. The full details of the certification and specialisation changes will be unveiled over the next few months.

The third significant change is a $100m investment in a new centralised application to replace the HP Smart Portal which has grown over the last 15 years but is viewed as “cumbersome” by some partners, according to Watson. The new system built on Unison will allow a much deeper engagement between HP and its 200,000 partners and potentially streamline account management from both sides.

The firm is also bringing the channel partners from its Autonomy and Vertica acquisitions into the PartnerOne programme. Although it is unclear if there is any change to the mechanics of certification or training for either solution stack.

HP has also announced a new Printing and Personal Systems specialisation (PPS) to provide more incentive for partners to deliver these services as part of the PartnerOne programme. The move coincides a new HP Verified Online Supplies Reseller Programme, to give consumers confidence that they are purchasing original HP Supplies from a legitimate source. The selling of HP compatible toners is still “an issue”, says Watson although the new insignia could make it harder for resellers that sell both genuine and compatible toners to do both with HP tacit blessing.