Neeraj Sharma, Vice President for Channel, SMB and Service Providers, Asia Pacific and Japan, Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a chat with VARINDIA shares his thoughts on HPE’s transformational journey after the demerger and how it is serving its partners from a business perspective –
Where HPE’s transformation journey is concerned, will there be a lot of changes in the strategies? What is the current strategy for the channel?
Let me start with the high level strategy. At Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), we firmly believe that hybrid IT will win, and that there is a great opportunity around IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, including computing at the edge and campus networking. We have a great set of services that wrap around these infrastructure and IoT offerings.
From a channel point of view, it is core to everything that we do in HPE, so it is essential for our go to market strategy, even as the market transforms and changes. Consumption and service models are changing. Customers are buying products differently. Some of them buy and some of them resell; some of them buy solutions and some of them are even buying cloud services. So we want to make sure that we help our partners transform accordingly, through a channel model that helps them stay ahead of their customers’ transformation journeys.
Our HPE Partner Ready Program focuses on 3 areas – on creating demand jointly with our partners; on making sure that we enable our partners as the transformation journey happens; and most importantly, we also make sure that we compensate them right. The partners have been asking us – while we sell infrastructure, will you enable us to support customers that want to buy as a monthly rental or as flexible capacity? In response, we developed this Partner Ready Service Provider Program that we are enabling with some of our partners in India and other parts of Asia Pacific.
HPE wants to listen to its partners so there is an advisory board in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) which is called EPAC (Enterprise Partner Advisory Council). It includes 25 APJ partners, of which 3-4 are from India. The senior most executives of HPE get together with the senior most partner executives, and we brainstorm, give them our insight and strategy, and then they go to market. We will take the EPAC format and replicate that with 10-12 partners in India.
How is the merging of server and storage business helping HPE?
Combining the server and storage teams under the Datacenter Hybrid Cloud Group, along with datacenter networking, gives us more synergy as new buying patterns emerge and hybrid IT is winning in the marketplace. Essentially this will help us make sure that we are more integrated in our solution offerings. So we have got networking at the edge which gives us strong campus and mobility solutions and at the core we have servers, storage and datacenter networking. Whatever is in the datacenter from a networking perspective comes in this group. We have a very good and well-knit sales and channel team. Some of the large accounts are led by AGMs (Account General Manager) and there is an ecosystem around them. Our systems really drive consolidation at the AGM level. At the backend, we are also geared to provide integrated solutions.
How is HPE looking at the growth of Datacenter market?
In the datacenter business, HPE witnesses a lot of opportunity as the infrastructure transforms. HPE is working on software defined datacenters, the services around them, and we also have a solution called Flexible Capacity services, which enables us to provide datacenter services in a way that helps customers in terms of the flexibility that they need in business economics.
Additional opportunities include Make in India, digital transformation – which is taking place rapidly – and also the 100 Smart Cities initiative. Smart cities are becoming a reality; the infrastructure tenders are coming out. In next 18 months we are expecting significant number of new tenders. A lot of the work that HPE is doing around smart cities is in India. We are now working on tying the ecosystems together. We have campus solutions around Aruba and our location services; we have a strong advantage having worked with governments on multiple HPE Future Cities projects around the world. We have been the legacy leader in India in the server marketplace, and have also been the leader globally for a long time with significantly large percentage share. So this will play a role.
What has been the after-effect of demerger among partners?
The partners are really happy because some of the large partners who thought that we would take deals from them through services are much more open to us today. In the case of Software, we have kept the core software assets of software defined datacenters and Helion cloud stack with us. We have kept the core values with us. The partner community has liked the fact that we are clear in the go to market.