I recently attended the HP Gold Partner Forum – which is a bi-annual event for HP’s Gold Partners, spanning Print & Personal Systems (PPS), Enterprise Group (EG) which covers Storage, Servers, Networking, Industry Standard Servers, Technical Services and, where I fit in, the Software division. It was the perfect opportunity to speak with partners who support the other business units within HP and I was quite taken aback by some of our conversations.
We all know that the market environment is challenging to say the least. Customers are increasingly savvy, especially in the IT world, and, as I’ve blogged about before, are very time conscious as well as demanding. Additionally, and rightly so in my view, they expect an increasingly easy customer experience.
Balance that with the needs of the channel: given current market dynamics, the continual commoditisation of many elements of their core business, increasing competition between their vendors as well as those vendors acquiring companies to expand their portfolios and seeking time to train and update the channel teams, it’s certainly not easy being in partner land today!
And, if you add to this heady mix the fact that the drive for automation (that is, for organisations to more with less) and the focus on moving towards the Cloud, as well as other market trends changing buying behaviour, you could be forgiven for pitying the partner and their seemingly impossible situation.
But back to why I was at the event in the first place! And not to paint myself as the knight in shining armour, I can help! Speaking with the partners, they were continually missing the value that by adding software to their portfolio, they could build recurring revenue streams, gain a greater customer lock in (as well as greater margins for themselves), would open themselves up to additional cross and upsell opportunities and all while positioning themselves as a trusted supplier or partner with the customer. Oh and what did the customer want? Oh yes - an easier customer experience. And what better way to help them with this than to add software to their infrastructure?
If you think about it, when you buy a new car, these days you get a great mix of both hardware and software, not just in terms of the engine management systems that are used these days, but increasingly the state of the art stereos, sat nav, etc. Hub caps, trims and rims are all taken for granted these days! So even with cars, software is where it’s at – surely?
To me it’s not rocket science, but of course, I’m in Software, so I am biased. But just by asking the simple question – do you want fries with that – hardware resellers could really be helping themselves. More of them should be doing it. Perhaps you could share your views?