Chris Hewlett discusses the evolution of the HP brand and what it means for the vendor’s Australian channel.
I actually came from the channel before HP; I worked with a number of channel partners for many years. Since arriving at HP, I’ve seen an enormous amount of change – from CEOs, mergers with Compaq, EDS and, most recently, the split.
I find HP to be a very inspiring place to work. Not only is there constant change and variety, but the team that we work with is extremely passionate, not only about how we work together, but how we work with partners. If you look at our history in Australia, we’ve been partnering for more than 50 years; it’s in our DNA and we’ll continue to do that.
We’re more laser-focused on what we’re doing now, and we’re more nimble in the way we go to market. Although we’ve kept the same HP brand, it has evolved into more of an elite and premium brand. We’re speeding up the ways in which we innovate and bring things to market, because now, at a global level, we can
reinvest in our own R&D for products, services and programs that can be brought to market in a faster fashion.
We’re also seeing some great feedback from our partners. Throughout the whole split, despite it being a really monumental effort, they didn’t really see any disruption at all. They’re seeing a greater focus in engagement from us on all layers, whether it be at our partner business layer, business manager layer, all the way up to our executive team through to our managing directors, product directors and even our finance directors.
Customers want to love their devices these days, so it’s not only got to look good, it’s got to function as well, and the design is a huge focus for us.
If you look inside a typical home today, you’ll see that they’ve got better devices than what’s in the office. That’s created the trend of bring-your-own-device because people wanted to use something a bit sexier, a bit lighter and a bit more functional. That has created challenges for corporate organisations around security, manageability, retention of data and all of those sorts of things; there had to be a merger of the two. So we started to focus on what users really want and love, but also what businesses need.
Partners of the future
Our channel partner community is very diverse. We look at it in many ways: some specialise in industries, some specialise in certain locations, and some specialise in their own capabilities. We’re focused on what we call “partners of the future” – the partners we work with that enable both of us to grow.
That doesn’t mean we’re going to remove partners that we deal with today, because they are core to our business itself. What we’re looking at is partners that specialise in certain industries, such as SMB, education, or even in our value lines like architectural or print.
Partners are evolving, just like vendors. We need to understand what new partners are doing out there and which customers are engaging with those partners too. For us, our evolution is probably just as much as theirs. We want to promote ourselves as a vendor that can help support those partners and their business too, but hopefully they can also see us a vendor that can help them get to where they need to be.