HP regional Cloud boss, Raj Thakur, is urging traditional channel partners to transform their business to a service-based model to exploit a "jump forward" for hybrid Cloud in 2015.
Thakur, the HP director and general manager, servers and converged system, enterprise, South Pacific, sat down with ARN to lay out the company's regional partner strategy for 2015.
Thakur said 2015 would a huge growth year for partners with consolidation around hybrid Cloud, analytics, converged infrastructure, mobility and security.
"There's a huge opportunity for the channel from the software perspective, from the infrastructure perspective, integration and helping customers set up all the services internally," he said
"Then, they themselves can be the controller for hybrid Cloud and outsource it back to the customers. That's where it's headed and 2015 and it will be a big jump forward."
He said HP would to help some of its channel partners transform into service providers.
"Then for those service providers we have to simplify underneath the deployment on infrastructure with our converged systems that make it easy for them to grow, in business models where they don't have to invest huge amounts of money immediately, and they can buy as they grow, and they can provision based on demand."
Thakur said growth would be driven by growth in apps and mobility, which would in turn also drive growth growth in infrastructure and Cloud.
"We talk a lot about Cloud computing, that's just one part of building and on-demand Cloud infrastructure," he said.
"We continue to see customers deploying traditional infrastructure. But we also see our customers starting to consume more infrastructure and service delivery and software from service providers.
He pointed to a few opportunities for the channel.
"One is really helping customers at the front end understand and build their Cloud and converged infrastructure strategy around this on-demand infrastructure," he said.
"That's around discovery workshops and consulting, just to understand the customer's journey.
"The second part is around implementation of these environments and management and support.
"There's an end-to-end opportunity for the channel, but the interesting thing here is that there is also an opportunity for the channel to provide this all themselves as-a-service back to customers and in particular, this will go across large enterprises and SMEs."
He predicts SMEs to move more quickly than larger enterprises as they did not have the same expertise around IT and would want the channel partner to do everything.
"It means the partners have to go through quite a lot of transformation themselves into being hybrid," he said.
Thakur said a lot of HP's traditional partners were starting to invest and build strategies based around reinventing themselves in how they go to market and being able to provide hybrid services.
"2015 is the year many of them will be starting to make those investments and decisions on who they are going to partner with, and I see multiple levels of partners," he said.
"Nobody can solve this alone and HP's strategy is not to be the only answer to everything."
HP is also heavily behind open source solutions.
Thakur said HP believed in OpenStack and open source, and the ability for customers to have choices through the partners, whether they want to source Azure from Microsoft, or they want to provision some VMs through Amazon.
"Our strategy is to give them the platform to do all of that," he said. "Helion and One View allows partners to build this hybrid environment and provision services and software across multiple platforms across multiple sources, through a single interface.
"Underneath that will be our converged systems for Cloud. It's a huge opportunity for the channel to start helping customers on the journey and a hybrid strategy will allow them to suck it see, and step into the whole Cloud world."
Channel partners need to pick the right niches that focus on differentiation around verticals and customer outcomes, according to Thakur.
"If partners are focused on retail and provide a hybrid Cloud strategy than they will create a differentiation in the market," he said.
"You have global service providers coming in and you have the telcos now providing services, you have SaaS and pure ISVs like Microsoft coming in also so it gets quite crowded."
"At the end of the day it's that engine, that level of where you can broker control and provide the services through a single pane of glass."
He said the whole idea of Cloud was about self-service and that not all Cloud portal and controlling was the same.
"Some are quite proprietary. Our strategy is that we will provide both platforms, as we do to some of the SaaS providers and other companies.
"HP has the platforms underneath to stand those thing up, but at the top level we also provide the software that enables that hybrid Cloud.
"It's not just about having converged infrastructure underneath, it's the smarts at the top to enable the hybrid strategy.
He said the key challenge for partners was making the decision to participate and getting skilled up in the new technology.
"It's changing channel sales people into hybrid Cloud specialists and understanding how it works end-to-end," he said.
"It's a big shift from the traditional way of selling. I think we are in a transition phase right now. Some of the partners picked up on this quite quickly are starting to get mature in the sales cycle.
"The transition to hybrid on-demand infrastructure is growing four of five times faster than the silo approach. You are going to have to do both and that's quite challenging for partners.
HP is also placing a strong emphasis on analytics in 2015 and has partnered with SAP, Microsoft and a couple of open source companies including Cloudera on Hadoop to provide turnkey solutions.
"We have deployed these at a large telco and at a large retailer locally.
"The next wave of analytics is about to shoot off and I think the channel has a great opportunity and the returns the customers are seeing are huge.
However, to get into this space, channel partners need to partner with consultants and ISVs.
"With analytics you are really talking to the business not just IT.
"So partnering with consultants and people that work in the market place with customers around analytics is critical."
HP is seeing a huge amount of growth from service providers buying infrastructure and selling it back to customers.
"This whole shift about customers consuming services from service providers, it's not a story it's true. We are seeing it."
He said the channel had the ability to cut through all the noise and move to solutions as opposed the reselling hardware.
"There's more margin for the channel partners," he said.
"Our strategy is to continue to grow our partners business. It's all about partner growth we do believe that's where we are going to find success."