HPs Channel Plan: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Opinion: Cutting rebates for channel partners who win HP business from competitors was a bad move by the vendor. HP still needs to prove its commitment to the channel.

I am a big believer in companies having unified messages to their channel partners and end-user customers alike.

Mixed signals from different parts of an organization breed contempt and confusion. And all good intentions can wash straight down the sewer if a company is sending different messages to its VAR base.

This, in my view, has to come from the top of the food chain in any organization. The CEO must set the agenda, tone and strategy, and put in place safeguards to make sure each division sticks to its knitting.

Enter new HP President and CEO Mark Hurd, of NCR fame.

As previously noted by Channel Insider columnists, Hurd needs to build a relationship with HPs channel partners—and fast.

Partners need to know where he stands and what his channel religion, for lack of a better word, really is.

Wall Street may be happy it got an NCR gem, but that doesnt necessarily translate to channel comfort.

Keep in mind, Hurd comes from an organization that favors the direct sales approach over the channel. Well see if this leopard changes its spots.

HP and Hurd have to be channel-friendly, even overly supportive, to win over the trust of solution providers. And so far I dont see it.

Every move HP makes in the coming year and every speech Hurd gives is going to be over-scrutinized. Fair or not, thats just the way it is.

The recent changes to HPs PartnerOne channel program came less than two months after Hurd took the wheel, but he was navigating the ship at the time, so as far as I am concerned, it is on his watch.

Its like a relief pitcher taking the mound with a man on first and giving up a double.

He may not be charged with the run, but we all know if he just got the batter out, the run wouldnt have scored.

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