This time last year HP was the toast of the hardware vendor town. In 2007, it had become the world’s leading PC vendor and was rewarded for its channel consistency with the ARN Hardware Vendor of the Year award.
At the time, director of HP’s Solution Partner Organisation, Paul Robson, put its success down to his focus on three areas: Programs, engagement models and new product releases that drove growth for resellers. He also flagged consistency in engaging the channel and the creation of co-dependent relationships with sales partners.
And, again in 2008, the glasses have been raised to toast HP’s success with the company taking out Hardware Vendor and Channel Choice Vendor at the ARN IT Industry Awards.
“It’s very humbling, certainly,” Robson said. “As an organisation, our DNA is the channel. We align a lot of our resources behind it – all of our marketing programs, all of our go-to market, all of our product pre-sales, post-sales, training, certification, channel programs and programmatic activity. Inside the company we think channel first and it is really humbling to get the recognition from the channel, specifically the Channel Choice award because that is open to vote in the wider industry; that was really gratifying for us and my team as well for their dedication and hard work over the last 12 months.”
If football coaches, especially the successful premiership ones, can be accused of incessantly carrying on about the need for consistency, then HP has a lot in common. Robson acknowledged the vendor continued with the same three “pillars” identified as keys to last year’s success in its operations this year.
“The partner community needs to know where HP is going out and playing and how we are engaging with them,” he said. “Two years ago, we kind of connected into those three pillars and we went to market with a new business partner program this year, which is the next generation of the HP Premium Business Partner Program. I think it is working because the feedback I get from partners is that HP is now easier to engage with, we are clearer around our rules of engagement, our programs and our activities are more focused on growth and profitability, and we are more inclusive. We have tried very much to get feedback from as many partners as possible.”
To ensure it’s communicating with the channel on a two-way street and achieving consistently high levels of performance, HP run several surveys throughout the year, conducts focus groups and welcomes comments.
“We do what we call our Total Partner Experience survey, which is a formalised third-party run survey on our performance as a channel vendor every single year,” Robson said. “The things that come out of that I then workshop with our channel at the HP partner conferences. We are very inclusive regarding the areas of focus, the areas of improvement and then delivering on that.”