HP deal side steps the channel

Hewlett-Packard is reassuring its channel after scoring a contract to supply 8000 PCs to the Victorian Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET).

HP was forced to bypass its traditional channel, due to the requirements set by DEET, but behind the scenes it is engaging partners to carry out sections of the contract.

HP's southern region sales manager, Roger Stocco, is keen to quell any concerns that HP is turning away from its channel. "It's hard to segregate what HP does and what the channel does. We work hand in hand with these guys and honestly that's what has made us so successful," he said.

Stocco confirmed HP will engage Centari Systems, ComputerLec and Office Everything, among others to fulfil the two-year DEET contract. "HP has a formidable formula now and our channel is very much part of that," he said.

The contract is part of a wider focus on building business in the education and government market.

According to Chris Greig, HP general manager for business customer sales and organisations, the public service is an area where HP can add a lot of value. "We have made a significant commitment to the government and education sector with the realignment of our PC and sales division," he said. "We now want to continue to build our profile as the preferred provider of quality end-to-end IT solutions."

Jon Johnston, managing director at one of HP's largest distributors Centari Systems, believes HP has done a good job by being up front about the deal.

"The contract is directly between DEET and HP, but there are processes and services such as creation and deployment and SOE installation which HP won't be able to do and these will be passed on to partners," he said.

Michael Bosnar, managing director at HP distributor Prion Technology, said he was not troubled by the deal saying "they are basically what other global vendors are doing".

"They have done a lot of deals of his size, some of which go through the channel and some that don't," Bosnar said. "This deal there obviously wasn't enough margin to go though the channel.