Kobi Elbaz shares multiple examples of how the company has its partner’s best interests in mind.
How’s HP doing? Obviously, that depends on whom you ask. Ask an independent office technology dealer, you’ll likely receive multiple responses, not all positive. Ask someone from HP, responses lean towards the positive with perhaps an acknowledgment that the company hasn’t always gotten it right.
I had an opportunity to find out how HP is doing and what’s on the docket for the rest of the year a few weeks ago in New York City while Kobi Elbaz, SVP and general manager, global channel organization for HP, was in town. The main topics of discussion included the changing perceptions of HP’s Amplify partner program and a variety of new programs that were introduced at the HP Amplify Partner Conference in March.
As our readers recall, when first rolled out, HP’s channel partner program Amplify wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the independent dealer channel, many of whom weren’t thrilled about sharing customer data with HP. Another concern, even from those who didn’t have a problem with sharing data, was that compiling the data was time and labor-intensive.
I can’t say that the educational blitz HP embarked on and the tweaks to the program HP has made since then have alleviated all the pushback. However, based on the percentage of program participants across all channels, if Amplify was as insidious of a program as some industry naysayers claim, there must be a huge disconnect somewhere.
Disconnect or not, HP continues to enhance the program and introduce new ones, so what better time than the present to discuss them, many of which will be officially rolled out on November 1?
1. Changing Perceptions about HP Amplify
Elbaz reported that feedback about the Amplify program is much more positive than two years ago when it was first rolled out. “When we introduced Amplify, it was a new concept because historically, our industry and many other industries only had one vertical engagement, and it was performance-based; how much you buy from me and how much I pay you back. We came up with something where the foundation was new to the channel.
The second was timing-wise, it was during a pandemic. All of us had personal challenges and other challenges to face. It takes time to see the vision become reality. Nobody’s perfect, and we made some mistakes in the way we rolled it out, but the foundation was strong, the product was strong.”
One of the problems the channel had with sharing data when the program was first rolled out was that there wasn’t a history of sharing data, so the analytics weren’t there yet. “And data without history, how do you do analytics, how can you be proactive, how do you put all that in the analytic engine?” asked Elbaz. “Now that you have seven or eight quarters of collaborating together, the engine can provide much more data and proactive insights,” said Elbaz. “More partners are understanding the power of data.”
2. Amplify for All and Amplify for Distribution
Coming in November is Amplify for All, an extension of HP’s Amplify program. According to Elbaz, this was driven by the various companies that HP acquired during the past few years, with each possessing its own channel programs. To simplify things, HP is merging all of these programs into one program.
The Amplify for Distribution program incorporates many of the same elements as Amplify but is geared to HP’s distribution partners, such as TD Synnex and Distribution Management here in the U.S. There are different levels of engagement depending on the capabilities of the distributor.
“This is big news for our distribution partners because they are not all the same,” emphasized Elbaz. “It’s based on our ability to collaborate together, providing solutions, and of course, based on performance. Our distribution channel has a lot of capabilities, and we want to collaborate together and amplify together their capabilities to serve the channel.”
3. More for More
More for More was created to encourage HP’s channel partners to focus on solutions. According to Elbaz, HP’s portfolio extends beyond hardware, and with all the recent innovations, it wants to provide a better experience for customers. Partners that sell a cross-section of HP’s portfolio will receive better rewards and compensation. “We want to incentivize them to offer a larger portfolio than just devices,” said Elbaz. He added that many channel partners at the Amplify Partner Conference liked what they heard about the program because it will enable their sales teams to go wider and deeper with customers and prospects.
4. Life in the Fast Lane
The Fast Lane program seeks to simplify joint marketing efforts between HP and its partners by borrowing an approach used in other industries. “The challenge was that there was a lot of administration involved,” acknowledged Elbaz about how marketing funds were administered in the past. “In some cases, we made it complicated because it takes a long time to show proof of concept. If you have a good track record as a channel partner, and we never had an issue with proof of execution or proof of delivery, we’ll put you in the Fast Lane. You can get faster reinvestment and faster approvals.”
The foundation for all of these programs is rooted in making it easier for HP and its channel partners to work together. Another example of how HP is making life easier for its channel partners is instant quoting, which was introduced in the past few years. This is for partners that need a price for a configuration. They can go into the system, enter the configuration, and receive a price for that configuration. More than 90% of HP’s partners are using it. “
We have an objective that more than 80% [of configurations] will be priced in less than two hours,” said Elbaz. “We’re going to use AI and other elements. We have a lot of data to make sure that the system is faster. This is a great example for our channel partners about how we are making it easier to work with us.”
5. API Development
HP is also developing more APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). “We’re doing a lot of work with our channel partners about how we can make it easier to collaborate,” said Elbaz. “This is from an operations point of view, and it’s a big improvement for our partners. For example, data collection was something that, depending on the size of the organization, was done manually. In order to automate that for them and us, we developed APIs. It could be for all the processes, but [we have developed] many other APIs we can integrate from their system to our system and make it more automated. This is a big improvement for our partners.”
Added Elbaz, “For me, this is the key message, yes, we have a lot of vision, and we want to engage with the channel, but we listen to our channel partners. The objective is to understand what we can do better collectively in order to make their lives easier, our life better, and drive better business outcomes for both companies.”
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