Channel chiefs, Channel partner events, Channel partner programs, Data centers, MSP, Networking, Small business, Storage

HP Enterprise: SMB Partners On Meg’s Mind

With a name like HP Enterprise, you'd think CEO Meg Whitman is obsessed with Global 2000 customers. Perhaps she is, but that won't stop Whitman and HPE's channel team from engaging small business partners as well.

Indeed, the company's overall channel strategy will be on display during HPE Global Partner Conference 2016 (sept. 12-14, Boston). And it's a safe bet SMB conversations will unfold throughout the conference. (Side note: Sister company HP Inc. also is hosting its Global Partner Conference this week in the same location.)

What's Ahead? HPE Discover Offered Clues

Blaine Raddon
Blaine Raddon

Clues about HPE's SMB channel direction emerged during HPE Discover -- a massive customer conference held in June 2016. At the time, the company pitched:

Throughout the SMB session at HPE Discover, Channel Chief Blaine Raddon made it clear that the company was developing more recurring revenue opportunities for VARs and MSPs.

Now, forward to present day. Take a close look at the agenda for Global Partner Conference, and you'll notice service providers are all over the agenda. And that means recurring revenues will be front of mind in many sessions.

HPE, Dell, EMC, Cisco: Evolving Rivalries

Still, the IT landscape continues to evolve rapidly. HPE this week confirmed plans to spin off its "non-strategic" software assets as part of a deal with Micro Focus. That deal will likely take several months to close, so don't expect a ton of "new" information about the sale process at the show.

Equally important, Whitman has made it clear that HPE isn't getting out of the software business. Partners should listen closely as HPE continues to ramp up its management tools for converged data centers, while also sorting through potential software-defined strategies at the company.

The HPE event also comes one week after Dell finalized its buyout of EMC. Michael Dell explained major IoT and data management opportunities ahead. But it's a safe bet Whitman will question Dell Technologies' ability to remain nimble while digesting EMC.

For its part, Cisco recently confirmed plans to cut 5,500 employees. The networking company continues to push hard toward recurring revenues and software subscription services. That effort will take center stage at Cisco's own partner summit in November.

But here again, Whitman is already prepared to counter. She often asserts that HPE is the only major IT vendor that owns all the core pieces that next-generation data centers require: Servers, storage and networking.

SMB Hardware: Evolution and Revolution

Admittedly, most SMB  channel partners won't be building software defined data centers anytime soon. Those projects are typically reserved for midmarket, enterprise and cloud services clientele.

The ultimate challenge for HPE? Communicate the continued need for on-premises hardware within small business accounts. Plus, define new ways to drive recurring revenues from that hardware.

It's a safe bet Channel Chief Blaine Raddon will tackle those issues and more during HPE Global Partner Conference 2016.

Stay tuned to all HPE and HP Inc. Global Partner Conferences news here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.