CRN April 2023 Issue 1419 - Revved Up And Future Ready: With the channel at 'the core' of everything HP Inc. is building, CEO Enrique Lores is transforming the PC and print giant. Also in this issue: IoT 50, Storage 100, Tech Elite 250, columns by Steven Burke, Jen Follett and Bob Faletra.
ISSUE 1419 • APRIL 2023 crn.com
INTERNET OF THINGS 50 Key growth engine PAGE 42 STORAGE Meeting new needs PAGE 48 TECH ELITE Top-flight specialists PAGE 58
NEWS, ANALYSIS AND PERSPECTIVE FOR VARs AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATORS
Revved Up And Future Ready With the channel at ‘the core’ of everything HP Inc. is building, CEO Enrique Lores is transforming the PC and print giant into a hybrid work powerhouse by integrating Poly into its Amplify program, speeding up the way partners do business, and bringing more partners into services and sustainability opportunities. PAGE 8
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Computer Reseller News April 2023
Revved U p And Future Ready HP CEO Enrique Lores is transforming the PC and print giant into a hybrid work powerhouse by integrating Poly into its Amplify program and opening up a host of new opportunities for partners.
Columns 5 The Final Cut By Steven Burke 62 The Channel Factor By Jennifer Follett
Features 6 Tech 10
New cutting-edge technology is taking the mobility market by storm. Storage vendors are evolving with the times, with one of the biggest changes addressing the need for cybersecurity.
48 Storage 100
Partner Program Guide: The Team Players Vendors know they have to up their game to keep their partner programs delivering value via incentives, training, certifications and more. Here are the vendors leading the way.
58 Tech Elite 250 With the highest
levels of training and certification from their vendor partners, these solution providers are meeting today’s customer challenges.
The road is wide open for solution providers to grow their business by delivering IoT soutions. Check out the vendors on our IoT 50 list that are innovating across connectivity, hardware, industrial IoT, security and software. IoT: A Growth Engine
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THE FINAL CUT A New Era Of AI-Based MSP Automation THE TIME IS NOW TO LEVERAGE AI TO REDUCE COSTS AND SCALE YOUR BUSINESS By Steven Burke
THE BIGGEST FACTOR FOR MSP SUCCESS in the years ahead will ultimately be determined by just how effectively partners are implementing AI-based tools to run their business and serve customers. The AI-based MSP tools arms race is on, with vendors moving fast to provide partners with the technology muscle to scale their business at a rate that was simply unimaginable just several years ago.
Elevate your people, organization, and solutions through high-visibility recognition across the entire channel.
This is not just about Microsoft moving quickly to capture the AI high road with ChatGPT or Google battling back with Google Bard. This is about a new wave of MSP tools and AI-based services that are rewriting the rules of the MSP market. Case in point: Pia, an AI-based service desk automation tool featured at CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange conference last month. The Pia software is driving a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction in labor. Pia said it also is leading to eight times faster service ticket resolution and a 50 percent workload reduction. One of the most highly regarded companies in the IT automation race is, of course, ServiceNow, which is bringing AI technology to process optimization in its new Now Platform Utah release. That enabled ServiceNow itself to identify 70 inefficiencies across 900 business processes and speed up time to resolution by 40 percent. It also powered a 30 percent productivity gain. Given the benefits of AI-based services automation, it is no surprise that Hewlett Packard Enterprise just acquired OpsRamp, which is considered one of the premier AI tools used by MSPs. David Stinner, founder and president of US itek, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based MSP standout, called the HPE OpsRamp acquisition a “game-changer” for HPE and its GreenLake pay-per-use cloud service. “HPE has found a vendor who is highly integrated with meeting all the needs of both enterprises and MSP clients,” Stinner told CRN . “This makes HPE inter- esting as an MSP vendor. They have been off my radar, but I will now look at the OpsRamp platform. We currently use an AI platform called MSPbots.ai and we are about to roll out a new feature that will take incoming tickets and assign them based on the skill set of our technician, schedule them, and then follow up if the tickets go unattended.” Stinner said he expects most of “the mundane stuff” MSPs have been doing for the past 15 years like checking for missed security patches will be automated with AI in the next three years. The AI revolution will be powered by MSPs like Stinner. AI-based vendors would be wise to remember that as they develop their go-to-market models. Far too often, vendors are so AI obsessed they fail to take that MSP influence into account. Recognizing the high-value managed services MSPs provide means supporting them with internal use rights and the ability to price products and services as they see fit. As for MSPs themselves, the time is now to get into the AI game to scale your business, reduce your costs and make you and your customers more competitive.
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TECH : MOBILITY
Harnessing Cutting-Edge Technologies Wireless specialists and IT vendors alike are forming partnerships and coming to the table armed with telecom-focused oerings. Here are 10 mobility moves set to transform the market.
By Gina Narcisi
. CELONA’S PRIVATE G PORTFOLIO Private wireless provider Celona is going global with a portfolio of new private 5G offerings for the enterprise. The upstart recently unveiled a suite of indoor and outdoor 5G New Radio products for U.S. and global markets. The portfolio lets enterprises and “uncarpeted enterprises” quickly integrate private 5G capable of aggregate speeds of up to 750 Mbps with latency rates of 20 milliseconds or less within existing IT and wireless infrastructures. . CISCO, INTEL JOIN FORCES ON PRIVATE G ADOPTION Cisco Systems is collaborating with fellow tech giant Intel to accelerate engineering and adoption of Cisco Private 5G based on Intel technology. Via the terms of the partnership, Cisco and Intel will create reference architectures across various IoT industries, including manufacturing, supply chain and smart venues, to scale and expand Cisco’s Private 5G blueprint through its MSP partners. . CRADLEPOINT’S G NETWORK SLICING Ericsson-owned Cradlepoint’s 5G stand-alone network slicing offering allows enterprises to take advantage of end-to-end performance guarantees over 5G Wireless WANs, similar to the SLAs available with MPLS networks. 5G network slicing, according to the company, will entice more enterprises to adopt wireless as part of their critical WAN infrastructure for their increasingly demanding applications. . EDGEQ TEAMS WITH VODAFONE, DELL ON OPEN RAN OFFERING 5G systems-on-a-chip startup EdgeQ recently revealed a collaboration with mobile operator Vodafone and Dell Technologies. Together with EdgeQ, the three companies debuted an Open RAN-based, massive MIMO system. It contains a Dell PowerEdge XR11 server and an EdgeQ M-Series L1 accelerator that is capable of 5 Gbps of throughput, with the accelerator drawing less than 50 watts. The partnership between the three companies highlights the principles of a 5G Open RAN infrastructure offering on a standard server, an inline acceleration, a Radio Unit system, and a third- party Level 2/Level 3 software stack from collaborating companies. . GOOGLE CLOUD UNVEILS TELECOM PRODUCTS Google Cloud introduced three telecom products aimed at helping communication service providers (CSPs) address network transformation and monetization. Telecom Network Automation accelerates network and edge deployments through cloud-native automation based on Kubernetes and collaboration from Nephio, an open-source project Google Cloud founded in partnership with the Linux Foundation in 2022. Telecom Data Fabric, meanwhile, provides an automated data collection, normalization and correlation through an adapter framework. And Telecom Subscriber Insights is an AI-powered service that helps CSPs extract insight using various CSP- owned data sources to recommend actions and activate on multiple channels.
. IBM PARTNERS WITH NOKIA ON PRIVATE G IBM revealed an extension to its relationship with Nokia with plans for the two companies to offer a seamless, simplified private 5G managed service that will deliver private 5G offerings on IBM Cloud Satellite to enterprise customers. Nokia plans to integrate IBM’s Cloud Pak for Network Automation into the companies’ current joint offering. . JUNIPER PARTNERS WITH IBM, FURTHERS OPEN RAN PLANS Juniper Networks has expanded its collaboration with IBM by integrating IBM’s network automation capabilities with its own RAN optimization and Open RAN technology. The combination provides a unified RAN management platform to better allow communication service providers to monetize, optimize and scale their investments in next-generation networks and provide better experiences to mobile users. The goal of this offering is to provide end-to-end automation of secured 5G network slices. . MICROSOFT AZURE OPERATOR NEXUS READY PROGRAM Microsoft this year unveiled the public preview of Azure Operator Nexus, an expansion of the Azure Operator Distributed Services private preview. Azure Operator Nexus is a hybrid, carrier-grade cloud platform designed for the specific needs of the operator in running network functions such as packet core, virtualized radio access networks (vRAN), subscriber data management, and billing policy. The offering also includes Microsoft Services for security, life-cycle management, observability, DevOps and automation. . SAMSUNG LAUNCHES VRAN . Samsung has rolled out vRAN 3.0, the company’s software that helps operators improve how they deploy, manage and scale. The software now includes a focus on energy efficiency and performance optimization and has tools that increase bandwidth support of Massive MIMO radios, analyze hourly traffic patterns to optimize network conditions and automate networks to save on energy consumption. . QUALCOMM EXPANDS ON EXTENDED REALITY STRATEGIES Qualcomm has said that the company is seeing operator traction around the expansion of extended reality (XR). In fact, seven global operators, including T-Mobile and Vodafone, unveiled plans to use Snapdragon Spaces, the company’s open mixed-reality platform for developing augmented reality software using Qualcomm’s mobile hardware technologies, to expand their own XR strategies. The operators are helping to define Snapdragon Spaces device requirements and compatibility, which will let customers do things like wirelessly tether smartphones and smart glasses. ■
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With the channel at ‘the core’ of everything HP Inc. is building, CEO Enrique Lores is transforming the PC and print giant into a hybrid work powerhouse by integrating Poly into its Amplify program, speeding up the way partners do business, and bringing more partners into services and sustainability opportunities. Revved Up And Future Ready
By Dylan Martin
T heir conference rooms were mostly empty, and yet many of Ken Scaturro’s customers were com- ing to his company asking for the same thing: big technology upgrades to the collaboration and videoconferencing capabilities of the frequently unoccupied spaces. It started with “the first customer, then the second and the third, then the fourth, and then it became, ‘OK, we need to start scheduling resources,’” recalled Scaturro, president and COO of Yorktel, an Eatontown, N.J.-based MSP. This was around spring 2021, and it became clear to Scaturro that a trend was emerging. After the COVID-19 pandemic had driven many employees to work from home the year before, organizations that were now moving to reopen offices wanted to think more intentionally about the way employees connect and collaborate, whether they are in the office or at home.The days
of hastily bought webcams were a thing of the past. “We had one of the largest surges of our existing customers upgrading their facilities that we’ve ever had,” Scaturro said of the collaboration gold rush that marked the start of the hybrid work era. The large spike in sales and services for collaboration technolo- gies brought more than monetary rewards toYorktel. It attracted attention from one of the company’s key suppliers, Poly. After Yorktel grew its collaboration business with Poly by double digits in 2021, the MSP received the highest level of recognition from the vendor: Platinum Partner of the Year. “Part of that is the amount of business that that we drive to them but also our level of expertise to deliver the products and services that add value onto the products,” Scaturro said. Now Yorktel is set to join the partner program of a much larger vendor where Scaturro sees an opportunity to tell a big- ger story about hybrid work. That vendor is HP Inc., the Palo
Alto, Calif.-based PC and print giant whose President and CEO, Enrique Lores, is transforming the vendor into a hybrid work powerhouse, thanks in large part to its blockbuster $3.3 billion acquisition of Poly last year. “For us as a managed collaboration services provider, we look at providing managed services from that earpiece through the desktop to the cloud to the end user and back, so I think we’re in alignment on that vision and how that plays out,” Scaturro said. To Lores, Poly represents a key pillar of HP’s future and one of the many growth opportunities for HP channel partners in the long term. He says the pandemic-induced rise of hybrid work not only influenced his decision to acquire Poly but also influenced the way many HP products are now designed. The company is also looking at ways to integrate Poly’s technologies with others under HP to support the future of work. “Because of the many opportunities that we have to continue to grow the business—by modernizing our core businesses, accel-
is experiencing a significant slump in demand, particularly with its PC business, due to a variety of economic factors, including inflation and high interest rates.The company’s personal systems business dropped 24 percent year over year in its 2023 fiscal year’s first quarter, which ended Jan. 31. But Lores believes partners should remain “optimistic” and make plans now for how they will take advantage of a thriving economy when growth returns to the broader markets. “We don’t know when, but we know that there is going to be an economic recovery and, therefore, we need to make sure that through this period we position ourselves in the strongest pos- sible way,” he said. The ‘Future Ready’ Plan To Lores, the best way HP could prepare for a brighter future during an economic downturn involved some tough decisions. This resulted in a three-year restructuring initiative HP is calling
the Future Ready plan. Unveiled last November, the plan calls for a major reduction in spending, which includes making up to 6,000 job cuts, by 2025. At the same time, the company has vowed to invest in growth areas like hybrid work offer- ings, peripherals and
erating our joint businesses in services, whether it is for small business or for enter- prises, [and] expanding into adjacencies—all this is going to create multiple opportunities for us and for our partners to continue to grow,” said Lores, who joined HP as an engineer- ing intern in 1989 and was named to lead the company in 2019.
‘We don’t know when, but we know that there is going to be an economic recovery and, therefore, we need to make sure that through this period we position ourselves
in the strongest possible way.’ — Enrique Lores, President, CEO, HP
gaming, where HP’s latest acquisitions will play big roles. “It’s really about making sure that the company is investing in the areas where we see opportunity and where we see growth,” Lores said. While these investments may not replace the entire 6,000 posi- tions HP could cut over the next few years, Lores said, the vendor will make a “significant” number of hires in these growth areas. Since channel partners drive more than 90 percent of HP’s annual sales, Lores thinks it’s crucial to ensure they get the sup- port they need during such a massive restructuring effort, and that is a message he said is felt throughout the entire organization. “An internal theme that we have now is that everybody works for sales,” Lores said. “And especially in these difficult moments from an economic perspective, whether you’re a [research and development] engineer working in the labs, a manufacturing person working the line support or the CEO, the role of all of us is to support the sales team.” With partners acting as the front line of HP’s sales machine, this means the company’s entire organization must keep the channel top of mind, according to the CEO. “Everybody at HP is really working to support our channel partners,” Lores said. With this edict, HP’s global channel chief, Kobi Elbaz, is expand- ing the company’s two-year-old Amplify partner program to open
With an expanding portfolio of products and services, Lores said, HP’s channel-driven business model hasn’t changed, as part- ners are more important than ever to drive future growth for HP. This is why HP plans to bring Yorktel and the rest of Poly’s partners into the HP Amplify partner program this November, when its 2024 fiscal year begins. It’s also whyAmplify will expand to cover distribution partners and two other acquisitions orches- trated by Lores in the past two years: gaming accessory designer HyperX and remote computing software provider Teradici. The integration of HP’s new businesses and distribution part- ners into the Amplify program is part of what Lores says is the vendor’s recommitment to the channel, which also includes initia- tives to speed up the way partners do business with the company, to strengthen and diversify its supply chain, and to bring more partners into services and sustainability opportunities. “It’s to show them that whether it is in the businesses where we lead today or in the businesses where we are going to be in the future, we are a channel company. Channel is at the core of how we build and design our plans.And we want to continue to work with them to expand our business and to grow together. That’s the key message,” Lores said. In the short term, however, HP faces some big challenges. Like many other companies in the tech industry in early 2023, HP
Moving Faster For Partners When Michael Affeldt and his team at Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based ACP CreativIT started working on an eight-figure PC deal with a major financial services firm in September 2021, he didn’t think it would take so long to complete that the devices would end up shipping nearly a year later. The financial services firm wanted to get the best price possible and pushed for ACP to make a bid with Dell Technologies. But instead of acquiescing, Affeldt, senior vice president of com- mercial sales at ACP, said he told the customer his team would make a bid with its current provider, HP.A primary motivation for Affeldt was HP’s reputation for having a big commitment to partners. “They weren’t happy about it” is how Affeldt remembers the customer’s response. But those bad feelings eventually melted away asACP’s enter- prise account manager at HP worked with Affeldt’s team on a
new opportunities for solution providers with the integration of recent acquisitions like Poly and through other new initiatives. “Everything we’re going to do looking forward is using the foundation of Amplify because it’s a point-based system.You get points based on how much you do collaboration, how much you [develop] capabilities, how much you [perform], and based on that we rank you,” said Elbaz, who became general manager of HP’s global channel organization in late 2021. To make the program more appealing to partners, Amplify is extending points and other traditional benefits to HP’s expanded portfolio. It also will introduce a new incentive program, called More for More, that will apply a rate multiplier for compensation to partners that sell a wider range of products and services when it launches this November with the 2024 fiscal year. “As our portfolio expands, we want to make sure that we drive with our channel partners the best experience we can for our customers, and this means that we want to encourage our partners to work with us across the portfolio,” Elbaz said. This November is also when Amplify will give partners another new benefit, called Fast Lane, which will simplify re- imbursements for market development funds. This will be done through a new automated process for partners to make claims and payments, which is expected to dramatically improve the time it takes for them to get reimbursed. With HP’s goal of becoming the most sustainable company by 2030, the vendor wants to get more partners involved with the sustainability-focused Amplify Impact program too. Start- ing in May, the company plans to do this by letting qualified participants in the program—which helps them pursue busi- ness opportunities around issues like climate change and social justice—gain a point toward eligibility for Amplify’s Power and Power Services tiers, which unlock advanced incentives. Elbaz said HP hopes this new benefit will help the vendor achieve its goal of getting 50 percent of partners to pledge to participate in Amplify Impact by 2025. “It’s another way for us to show our commitment to this and why it’s important for us to make sure that we encourage our partners to be part of the Amplify Impact journey,” Elbaz said. Beyond these enhancements to the Amplify program, Lores said HP is “investing in other systems and tools to make it much more efficient to do business” with the company. “Whether it is new [products in the] portfolio, new tools, new programs, we really are fully committed to make Amplify the best program in the industry and to continue to evolve it to meet the needs of our partners,” Lores said.
“daily basis to make sure that the price was compet- itive,” even as the scope of the project changed mul- tiple times.
‘As our portfolio expands, we want to make sure that we drive with our channel partners the best experience we can for our customers, and this means that we want to encourage our partners to work with us across the portfolio.’ — Kobi Elbaz, Global Channel Chief, HP
Affeldt said what helped seal the deal with the financial services firm was HP Wolf Security— the hardware-enforced endpoint security soft- ware that HP introduced earlier in 2021—especially since many of the customer’s employ- ees were still working from home at the time. But it was ultimately the competitive pricing, enabled by the responsiveness of HP’s local representative, that brought the deal to the finish line. “HP was really willing to work not only with [the customer] but also with ACP to make all parties feel like they won. That was a huge thing for us because when you get to deals of this size, a point here or there matters significantly,” saidAffeldt, who previously led HP’s Midwest channel business. Affeldt said experiences like this with HP are why he’s heart- ened to hear that the vendor’s new chief commercial officer, Dave McQuarrie, is moving more decision-making to local roles. “I think it’s a great move to give some autonomy and, ulti- mately, some quick responsiveness from a pricing standpoint back to the field,” Affeldt said. For McQuarrie, who moved to HP’s top sales role last fall after serving as general manager for the personal systems business, giving more autonomy to local markets is about remaining competitive. “We’re in a position where every customer and every partner and every opportunity is a fight, and we need to win every fight, and the way you do that is you operate quickly and make deci- sions closer to the market,” he said.
HP’s Vision For The Future Of Work Brett Bailey remembers how uncertain things felt for his com- pany’s business when the pandemic hit in 2020 and his customers fled their offices. “When you’re a channel partner engaged across many technol- ogy areas, and the pandemic hits and you see print volumes go to zero, it was a very scary time,” said Bailey, vice president and partner at WBM Technologies, based in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. But with that fundamental shakeup to work culture came a significant growth opportunity: margin-rich IT services that would allowWBM to shift away from low-margin hardware sales. One area whereWBM has made this push with HP is managed print services.While the company started to embrace the practice before the pandemic, its benefits became more apparent than ever with customers that had untold fleets of unused printers and copiers languishing in empty offices. “When all of a sudden nobody can come to the office, the cost of idle printers and copiers was magnified,” said Bailey. So WBM did some- thing that may have seemed counterintuitive to hardware-driven solu- tion providers of the past: The company made a business out of removing printers from custom- ers’ offices and replacing them with significantly fewer but better devices. But the real value came from offering managed services around the new printers and charging customers based on how many pages they printed. The result was that WBM’s managed print practice “grew more during this period than at any other time in our history,”said Bailey. “I suppose that to the overall print industry, a WBM program that takes an organization from 5,000 devices down to 2,500 devices will look like the market has shrunk by 50 percent. But to WBM, this is a net-new engagement: It’s growth, new rela- tionships and, if we are creating wow-factor results, maybe new opportunities as well,” he said. WBM’s managed print practice is part of a broader portfolio of solutions—ranging from end-user computing to security ser- vices—that the company views as a collection of interconnected experiences in the workplace. Bailey said that perspective aligns well with Lores’ vision of HP as a hybrid work solution provider, especially with its acquisition of Poly. “An acquisition like that makes it very easy for us to continue not just a vendor relationship with HP but a more strategic align- ment because they’re bringing the technologies forward that we need to create the experiences that our customers need,” he said. For Lores, Poly represents an opportunity for HP and its part-
Some channel partners are already noticing that HP is mov- ing faster because of the changes, according to McQuarrie, who said that the vendor wants to localize decision-making wherever possible. “We’re going to keep moving decision-making authority as close to the customer as we can because it’s going to mean that we’re going to be more responsive, we’re going to make better decisions, and that’ll give us an opportunity to serve more cus- tomers more effectively,” he said. There are other ways HP is trying to move faster for partners. For instance, recent improvements to HP’s configure-price- quote tool have led it to produce configurations five times faster, giving partners results in a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks. When it comes to special pricing matters, currently half of price quotes are generated instantly, and HP hopes to increase that to 70 percent when the 2024 fiscal year begins. It’s also much quicker for partners to set up new customers, with results happening in less than one day compared with the
five days or longer it used to take. HP aims to make customer setup something that partners can complete in a matter of minutes in the next fiscal year.
‘We’re going to keep moving decision- making authority as close to the customer as we can because it’s going to mean that we’re going to be more responive, we’re going to make better decisions, and that’ll give us an opportunity to serve more customers more eectively.’ — Dave McQuarrie, Chief Commercial Ocer, HP
Then there’s the sup- ply chain, which HP is strengthening and diversifying to improve lead times for products and ensure it doesn’t go through a repeat of the major shortages it experienced during the first few years of the pandemic, according to McQuarrie. “We were not sufficiently diverse in who we were able to source components from and so when a particular component provider had problems, that meant we had problems, and now we are much more able to spread out our procurement to the places where supply exists,” he said. The company also has tighter relationships with its suppli- ers now, and it has also standardized designs across many of its products so that components can be more easily swapped between them. “We now have the ability to share componentry [and] system architectures that are more standard across our platforms, thus being able to direct supply to the most important parts of the demand if we get into such a situation,” McQuarrie said. HP has spread out its manufacturing and logistics footprint across the globe too. These changes have already allowed HP to cut lead times by more than half across its portfolio between the beginning of this year and early 2022. “We think we’re in much better shape than we were when we came into the pandemic,” he said.
ners to diversify their offerings and grow sales. But he also sees it as an opportunity for the vendor to develop better ways of working in the future by more closely integrating Poly’s technolo- gies with others it owns. One issue HP is tackling with these future solutions has been a defining trait of the hybrid work era: the awkward asymmetry of hybrid meetings, where remote participants can only see col- leagues gathered in a conference room at a distance, which can make it hard for the former group to read body language and feel like they’re a part of the conversation. To solve this, Lores said HP is looking at ways to connect laptops in the meeting room to the videoconferencing system to create a more dynamic experience for remote participants. “If you want to see the people in the room, every PC today has a camera and a speaker. So the vision is, how do we integrate those into the system in the room?” he said. “So if you’re looking at that, you can connect to Jeff’s PC and you can see Jeff’s face bigger and see what his reactions are. Is he happy with what Enrique’s saying?
Lores said that he couldn’t think of anyone better than a former CEO to manage and grow the division as a business, especially someone who was moving his previous company in that direction. “As we had many conversations when he was running Poly, he had a very clear vision about how to grow the services and solutions business. At Poly, this was the direction they were taking with the company. That fits extremely well in what we’re trying to do,” he said. HP is working on making it easier for the company’s part- ners to manage the full portfolio by integrating the tools and programs of HP’s services, according to Lores, “which will help them capture more business and eventually help them make more money.” To Shull, the move to services will require more than just tools and programs. It will also require partners who are willing to change the dialogue with customers to move from a transactional approach to a “lifelong” customer relationship services model.
He’s thinking if Enrique’s speaking too long, he should stop.You can really see that by connecting to his camera, and this is one of the experiences we are going to be [developing].” Lores said HP is also looking at consolidating management tools for PCs and Poly devices.
“They have been selling those customers our PCs and our printers, which we love and we appreci- ate. Now we are saying, ‘We have got to have a different conversation.We have got to have a broader conversation. Every time you touch that customer, think about the lifetime
“Now we are saying, ‘We have got to have a dierent conversation. We have got to have a broader conversation. Every time you touch that customer, think about the lifetime value of that customer.’” — Dave Shull, President, Workforce Services and Solutions Organization, HP
“There is a big opportunity of integrating our PCs and the rest of the videoconferencing technology to deliver better experiences for IT managers because now they want to be able to use the same tools they use to manage PCs to also manage the room. Then the equipment in the room is a PC that controls a bunch of screens and monitors and speakers. They want one common tool to manage that,” he said. A Services-Driven Future When Lores thinks of the ideal channel partner for HP’s future, it’s one that not only sells the vendor’s full portfolio of products, it’s one that also gets behind the vendor’s services push. But Lores knows it will take work to get more partners selling HP’s services, whether that’s managed print services or Device as a Service, among others. “This means a lot of changes for us, we understand.These will require changes for many of our partners, and we are committed to help them to do it,” he said. A key driver for HP’s services business moving forward is Dave Shull, Poly’s former CEO, who joined the vendor with the acquisition as president of the newWorkforce Services and Solu- tions organization. It is now a $4 billion business, mainly thanks to managed print services and Device as a Service.
value of that customer,’” he said. This is music to the ears ofYorktel’s Scaturro, whose company only had a distribution relationship with HP prior to the Poly acquisition. He finds it encouraging that HP not only kept Shull on board but also kept on individual contributors from Poly. Now as Yorktel prepares to join HP’s Amplify program, Sca- turro sees a lot of promise with how the two companies can grow together. “It’s the strength and brand of HP. It’s the financial backing of HP. It’s the customer base and the ability to sell into the HP customer base. Part of it is the lifetime value of the customers of HP that were predominantly transactional, and the ability to move from a transactional business to more of a partner- ship business and moving up the value scale instead of selling products,” he said. As HP seeks to shift more of its business to a services model and become a hybrid work powerhouse at the same time, Lores believes it’s important that he holds regular conversations with the company’s channel partners because “it’s a great way for me to ground myself in reality.” “Those conversations for me are invaluable,” he said. “We need to make sure they have everything they need from us because if they win, HP wins, and that has been our goal.”
It’s been more than three years since 33-year company veteran Enrique Lores ascended to become HP Inc.’s president and CEO. After fending o a failed takeover bid from Xerox in 2020, Lores is now focused on his original mandate as HP’s new leader: building and executing a growth plan for the company. But while Lores had to make some diicult decisions last fall with a restructuring plan in the face of declining demand, he remains resolved in HP’s commitment to channel partners, which drive most of the company’s revenue, and creating new opportunities for them.
“We design our products, our services to be sold by the channel. We design our business model for the channel to make money with us. We design our processes for us to be eicient and to help our partners be eicient, so it’s really at the core of how we think about the company,” Lores said. What follows are edited excerpts from a recent interview with Lores. Why should channel partners work with HP over its competitors?
job.And that flexibility brings a lot of value both to the com- pany and to the employees.And by having employees that are really happy with the way they can work and that can combine their personal life and professional life, I think it’s a win-win for both sides.That’s how we think about it. From a business perspective, that’s a trend that really helps us going forward because this means more products per per- son, additional services, opportunity to innovate on how our customers collaborate. Partners have clearly a lot of opportu- nity to innovate and to create new businesses. Why are you optimistic about the future for HP and its partners? For multiple reasons. One is, if I look at the multiple oppor- tunities that we have to grow and where the world is going, I see that where the world is going really reinforces … the strategies and the plans that we have. We have talked about hybrid [work] and how hybrid is going to be working.We also have a big business in gaming, which is another business that is going to be growing.We see the need for sustainability and the fact that customers will be willing to buy more and more from companies that are doing the right things. So clearly lots of opportunities to grow. Second is, even in this difficult period of time, even if the headline is ‘crisis’ or whatever, underlying that there are always opportunities.And if you look for the opportunities, you’ll find them.And I think being optimistic helps you to really identify those opportunities and go after them. And then third: I don’t know if the crisis is going to finish in six months or in a year, but one of the advantages of having gray hair is that I know that the crisis is going to be over.And what is really important is that we ... and our partners invest now to get our companies [positioned] in the strongest possible way for whenever the recovery will happen.And I think staying optimistic, making those investments, understanding that times could be tough now but there are going to be better times and they will be soon, and being ready for that is super important.
I think first of all it’s because of our long-term commitment to [the] channel. Different from other companies, we have stayed the course. Since I joined the company more than 30 years ago, we have been a channel company.We haven’t moved from that.And that, I think, should have a lot of value for partners because what this means is that we design our products, our services to be sold by the channel. We design our business model for the channel to make money with us. We design our processes for us to be efficient and to help our partners be efficient, so it’s really at the core of how we think about the company, at the core of how we design the strategy of the company, and this should be really important for partners.And as important as that, because we have an ambition to grow, it’s not only that we want to do it with a partner but as a company, we want to grow.We want to offer and create technologies that will help our customers in the new hybrid way of working.And by doing that, we are going to be offering great opportunities for our partners to do business with us. While many businesses are now pushing for employees to work in the oice more, there is some pushback from those who prefer to work from home. How resilient is HP’s overall business when it comes to this ebb and flow of hybrid work? We firmly believe that a way of working in the future is going to be hybrid.And that means spending some time in the office and spending some time at home.Working from home to do things that you are going to be doing by yourself. Spending time in the office to collaborate, to partner, to design things together, to discuss difficult problems, to ideate.With it, both things are important. And within that, every job requires a different combination of both. The way we think about that is really that hybrid work means flexibility.And this flexibility is defined by the type of
CRN PARTNER PROGRAM GUIDE 2023
Meet The Team Players
Vendors know they have to be at the top of their game when it comes to offering solution providers incentives, training, recurring revenue opportunities and more. Here are the vendors leading the way.
By Rick Whiting
T oday more than ever, solution providers are looking to the IT vendors they partner with for support during turbulent economic times. The 2023 Partner Program Guide, presented here on the following pages and on CRN.com, comes at a critical time for the channel as solution providers are looking to see which companies have their back. The Partner Program Guide provides detailed information, including program tiers and requirements, partner incentives, training and certifications, business development, lead generation, sales and marketing support, vendor-partner communications, partner portal capabilities, service delivery, recurring revenue opportunities and more. Vendors understand the importance of operating a comprehensive, up-to-date partner program. IBM started off 2023 with the launch of its new IBM Partner Plus program that includes an accelerator initiative for new partners and a promise to push more accounts to the channel.The company will follow that up with a new incentive stack in April and new co-marketing and demand generation programs in July. “It is a simple, transparent and predictable program,” said Kate Woolley, general manager of the IBM ecosystem, at the launch. “It gives our partners a simplified path for them to progress with IBM, whether they’re building, selling or servicing. It is inclusive of all of our partner types.And we’ve built this program based on what we heard from partners.” Right on IBM’s heels, Google Cloud in January debuted improvements to its Partner Advantage program that boosted incentives across the board for partners and invested heavily in new training and support. From a new unified migration program and introduction of product-family-specific tracks to a new support desk for partners, Google Cloud touted the changes as ways to increase partner margins, sales, expertise and customer opportunities in 2023. “The big message here is that Google continues to double down with its investments in our partner ecosystem,” Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president, global ecosystems and channels, told
CRN . “What customers are expecting more is a much higher degree of deep specialization in areas like analytics, cybersecurity and app modernization. So we’re making very material investments in ensuring that partners can build that deeper level of competency and successfully deliver a solution for the customer.” For its part, ServiceNow unveiled an upgraded partner program in January with the goal of helping partners differentiate themselves and expand their opportunities. Cloudera likewise launched a revamped partner program in November aimed at meeting the needs of the company’s increasingly diverse channel partner ecosystem. And that same month Cisco Systems introduced new partner specializations focused on solution delivery. Security companies have been especially active on the partner program front. In February Skyhigh Security debuted its first distinct partner program, focused on reseller and distributor partners, since the 2022 split of McAfee Enterprise. PaloAlto Networks and Okta both have partner program upgrades in the works for this year. The Partner Program Guide is based on detailed applications submitted by IT vendors—more than 300 this year—that outline all aspects of their channel programs. The Channel Company’s research team also analyzes the application data and designates some of the programs as 5-Star, as noted on the following pages. The 5-Star criteria include partner incentives, margins and discounts, partner profitability, sales and marketing assistance, and subscription-based and consumption- based pricing availability.The criteria also include the availability of sales leads, deal registration, pre- and post-sales support, programs to help partners grow their services attach, training and education offerings, specialization and technical certifications. Vendors in the application disclosed their goals for their partner program for this year, which are noted in the following pages. Many more details about each company’s partner program are available at www.crn.com. Scan the QR code to view the complete database.
WADETYLER MILLWARD & MARK HARANAS contributed to this story.
Partner Program Channel Chief
2023 Partner Program Goals And Insight
11:11 Systems will soon expand its connectivity offering and incorporate additional ones from its Sungard Availability Services acquisitions. The company will focus on partner training and technical enablement. For 8x8 it’s all about the company’s commitment and focus on the partner experience. This means 8x8 values its partners and is committed to being easy to do business with and winning deals with them. AaDya’s goal is to adopt more reseller and MSP partners and be the most channel-friendly company to partner with. By working together, AaDya empowers partners with everything they need to be successful with their customers and grow their business. Absolute’s goals for 2023 include enhancements to its partner program such as deal registration that offers front- end discounts, incentives for cross-sell and expansion, and technical certifications to enable partners for services. Accedian is focused on continuing year-over-year growth from its partner channel and increasing the average deal size. It is planning full enablement of the MSP partner business and delivering at least 25 integrated solutions with MSP partners. Acer is focused on expanding the Acer Accelerate Partner Program to increase engagement with the reseller community, drive revenue growth and boost margins. Acronis’ mission is to align with partners’ business objectives, educate and equip their teams with all the necessary tools, and motivate business growth with the Acronis Cyber Cloud platform. Acumatica is focused on continuing its 40 percent annual growth rate. Partner-sourced sales leads alongside Acumatica’s several thousand leads quarterly should become a sustainable engine to drive revenue and bring in new business for partners. Adlumin’s goal is to help partners grow their business and value-based services offerings as they move from resell to Adlumin-managed, co-managed and fully managed offerings. AireSpring is seeking larger global deals and increased overall sales revenue by working with partners to sell more complex deals that involve multiple products and multiple locations, including international offerings. Alkira’s goals in 2023 are to continue providing partners with excellent training that is easily consumable. It also is focused on giving partners complete access to its lab and increasing their revenue significantly. Alpha Software aims to grow its partner program by 30 percent. Its commitment to low-code and no-code app development, which is the fastest-growing segment in software development, will be key to that goal. Alteryx aims to introduce new growth-based incentives and a new customer renewal framework as well as recognize partners providing value in a single opportunity. It is attracting larger global partners and investing in activating them. AWS is streamlining and standardizing program alignment to the partner profitability framework, including entry requirements and benefits so partners can clearly see how to build, go to market, sell and grow with AWS.
11:11 Systems Partner Program
Koorosh Khashayar, VP, Global Channels
8x8 Elevate Partner Program
Lisa Del Real, Global Channel Chief
Ryan Lipschitz, Sr. Director, Channel
Judy’s Partner Program
Absolute Partner Program
Vic Reynolds, VP, Channel Sales
Skylight 4X Partner Program
Sergio Bea, VP, Global Enterprise, Channel Sales
Acer Accelerate Partner Program
Philip Burger, VP, U.S. Channel
Acronis #CyberFit Partner Program
Alex Ruslyakov, Channel Chief
Acumatica Partner Program
CJ Boguszewski, VP, Partner Programs, Strategy
Adlumin Advantage Partner Program
Jim Adams, CRO
AireSpring North American Channel Program
John Young, SVP, Channel Sales
Douglas Houghton, Director, Channels
Alpha Software Partner Program
Richard Rabins, CEO
Alteryx Partner Program
Barb Huelskamp, SVP, Global Partners, Alliances
Amazon Web Services
AWS Partner Network Program
Ruba Borno, VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances
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