Hewlett-Packard has kicked off its new fiscal year this week with an expanded channel having ushered resellers into the top-tier Gold accreditation and inducted an additional 180 Preferred Partners.
As revealed by MicroScope earlier this year, HP came under fire from resellers that were angry it was recruiting 150 Gold partners, as they claimed it diluted the exclusivity of the brand.
But Dave Poskett, UK and Ireland director of the Solutions Partner Organisation at HP confirmed it had actually appointed 151 as of 1 November, the company's new financial year.
"We are trying to go deeper into partners [with the Gold accreditation] and work more closely with those that reflect our level of investment," he said.
Gold certified resellers must have at least one specialisation and sell $380,000 worth of HP kit a year, complete a partner profile and questionnaire every six months but the rewards are much higher than for Preferred Partners.
In return, they will be able to register deals, qualify for Marketing Development funds, Partner Development Funds, Pay For Results rebates, access to the Smart tool suite and direct field-based account management.
The 100 resellers that did not make the Gold accreditation remain as Preferred Partners, along with 180 resellers that are new to HP. The Registered tier has been scrapped.
This tier receives account management on the phone and access to Smart tools but must apply for marketing funds, making HP sales a little less attractive than when Preferred Partner status was the top accreditation.
Poskett said the strategy around Preferred Partners had been to expand its coverage in the SME market.