“We have transformed our Channel Program”
In a candid interaction with the DQ Channels, Neeraj Sharma, Vice President, Indirect Sales, Enterprise Group Asia Pacific & Japan talks about the realignment of the channel strategy of the new Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) after the split from HP
HP’s split into two fortune 50 companies was the major highlight of the year. What is the impact of formation of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) on the enterprise business?
Neeraj Sharma: As we have become the new Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), we are changing the way we work with our Market Development Fund (MDF). The first thing we have done six months ago was that we automated our channel program. Transformation is very big for us and as our organization has transformed, we are transforming our channel program as well with a great focus on partner compensation. We have done a massive amount of work in transforming our Partner-One program which will now be called as a HPE Partner Ready program.
We believe that compensation is very important and core to the heart of the partner. So we have simplified our compensation program. We will now pay the partners from dollar one. If somebody does the business of one dollar, he will get compensation. That is the beauty of this program. Our partners are very happy with our PartnerOne strategy as they really need not calculate the money they are going to make. We have gotten good feedback for our partner compensation program from the channel.
What transformations you have introduced in your MDF strategy?
Neeraj Sharma: What we have realized with our MDF is that we really need to start planning MDF and we call it as ‘Planned MDF’. In this partners can come to us with a plan and we approve the plan. For example, there are huge opportunities in the storage market. If the partner wants to run a storage computing program and he comes with a plan, we approve it. On the other side, we have put a common universal portal for all our HPE partners and all the channel collaterals and training is available on the portal. India is identical to the business we run in the few sub regions in terms of policies and strategies we drive. Strategically, we drive our policy at the regional level and then it goes to the country heads. So from the channel transformation point of view, I would say that we are ready for the next level of transformation.
What are the silent features of your MDF tools and joint business planning program?
Neeraj Sharma: We are not only channel people in the heart but also by leading in terms of having innovation and cutting edge technologies. We have a very strong and robust channel ecosystem and we have seen very high growth in the enterprise business in all the regions. I believe that the most important thing we have done, which is very successful in India and other geographies is the joint business planning. We started two automated tools of joint business planning where we sit down with the partners and have a one day session. We plan our strategies with the partner CEO and sign the plan along with our partner business manager. We review it every three months. I believe that the level of automation we have got through the joint business planning, through our MDF tools and through our universal portal is tremendous. We are now also working with our partners to make sure that we drive the growth and opportunity in our channel and we want to make sure that we compensate our partner appropriately. We are making our sales certification focused on transformation areas. Earlier, we used to have 9 sales certifications. Now we have moved that into single sales certification. Our priorities are very simple and we want to make sure that we have a profitable channel.
The proposed Dell-EMC acquisition deal is said to be the direct competition to HP’s storage business. How are you gearing up to maintain your leading position in the storage space?
Neeraj Sharma: There is a massive scale of opportunities for us in the storage space. We have been recently awarded by Gartner as best Midrange Array storage portfolio. We have the fasted growing flash array in the system and the most important thing is that HP’s three power system is something that has a single architecture across various proactive and backup recovery solutions which is not so in the competitive environment. So we have multiple storage architecture and operating systems. I believe that we are very uniquely positioned and we lead in the entry market space in the NAS and SAAS space in the Asia-Pacific region. Our technology is very strong and the partnership we have in the channel ecosystem is also very strong.
How do you forecast the growth of business in the enterprise and the commercial space? What are the other areas of opportunities HPE intends to focus on?
Neeraj Sharma: In India from a vertical point of view telcos and banking sector are showing good growth for us. The SMB market is very big for us and it is a growing market with huge business opportunities. When we go into markets like SMBs and Commercial space we do start working with some of the alliances and ISVs which can help give local solutions. I believe that from an opportunity point of view, there are opportunities that we see in the startups on which we are heavily focusing on.
We also feel that big data, security and mobility will be driving a massive transformation in the industry. We as HPE are focused on the four transformation areas and they are hybrid infrastructure, protecting digital enterprise, enabling workplaces and having a data driven organization. Our mobility area has expanded with solutions. So the focus is to do sales management drive and partner management drive. We want to make sure that we are creating a right sales pitch and right sales ecosystem to drive the opportunities that we have.
NEERAJ SHARMA, Vice President, HP