Hewlett-Packard’s announcement that it is folding HP ProCurve’s channel into its Solution Partners Organisation (SPO) has been greeted by partners as a step towards making HP easier to deal with.
The move allows ProCurve partners to join the expanded HP Preferred Partner Programme via the new HP ProCurve Networking Specialisation.
Softcat managing director Martin Hellawell, which also sells HP, was disappointed in the past that ProCurve had little clout within HP and tended to be off his radar, but hopes this will now change.
Pervasive Networks managing director Ashley Langley sees the move as an opportunity to develop his relationship with HP: “Customers are asking for storage and business critical services and we have a strategy to develop into that area of the datacentre.”
ProCurve partners previously sat on a four tier system: Elite, Specialist, Professional and Select. As of 1 November Elite and Specialist partners became Master and Expert partners and alongside Professional partners became HP Gold Preferred Partners too, explains Dave Poskett, HP UK SPO director.
In light of ProCurve’s historical independence from HP, Poskett denies it will lose any freedom.
“Partners are positive about what we’re doing and we’ve made a lot of funding available to drive business with them,” he says.
Poskett adds that HP partners have long demanded more consistency and simplicity in its approach and tightly integrating ProCurve should enable him to meet that expectation.
EuroLAN managing consultant Keith Humphreys adds that ProCurve was “out on a limb” and while it had made progress against Cisco, folding it into HP’s wider organisation and compensating TSG staff for sales is a logical step.
The move may indicate change for HP’s network strategy, too, as the vendor previously worked with Cisco on many projects. Last week, ProCurve UK country manager Darryl Brick said that having access to HP’s enterprise sales force was “bad news for Cisco”.
Adds another HP reseller: “HP has kept ProCurve at arm’s length and had a friendly relationship with Cisco. If they bring them into the fold it will be difficult to keep Cisco on side.”