HPE partner enablement seeks greater unity with the channel

The latest HPE partner program updates made enablement an important theme, as the vendor transitions to a solutions-oriented sales approach; other news from the week.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has doubled down on its community-focused partner enablement strategy. 

At the HPE Global Partner Summit, held this week in Las Vegas, the company introduced the Sales Pro Community, a hub for training and equipping salespeople at HPE and partner companies. The HPE Sales Pro Community adds a facet to the broader partner enablement strategy HPE previously established with the Tech Pro Community and Marketing Pro Academy.

The Tech Pro Community, launched in March, aims to train and support professionals in solution architect roles, while the Marketing Pro Academy provides training and marketing assets. Collectively, HPE dubbed its sales, technical and marketing hubs and communities the Pro series.

"There has been a lot in place for a long time [at HPE]. What we are doing now [with the Pro series] is bring it into a single, galvanizing approach so that, effectively, the entire corporation can get behind this," said Steven Hagler, vice president of global sales and partner enablement at HPE.

The Pro series creates a nexus between HPE's internal teams and its partners, Hagler said. The Sales Pro Community, for example, makes it easier for partners' salespeople to collaborate with HPE's sales teams in coselling activities, such as preparing presentations for prospective customers.

Hagler noted that HPE is stepping away from a product-focused sales mentality to enable solution selling. The professional communities cultivated under the Pro series will help align HPE and partners' teams to that solution-selling approach, he said.

The Sales Pro Community is also taking sales-related programs that differed based on geographies and consolidating them, he said. Standardized offerings will include global rewards and demo programs.

Additionally, HPE is fine-tuning its pricing and deal registration processes, Hagler added.

HPE partners attending the Global Partner Summit conference were enthusiastic about launch of Sales Pro Community, including Pete Howard, vice president of ComnetCo, a high-performance computing solutions provider based in Huntington Station, N.Y.

While Howard hadn't yet explored Sales Pro Community, he said ComnetCo regularly uses Tech Pro Community. "I am ... a big advocate of Tech Pro. ... It is a community that has only been out three months, but every deal we are working on today in our [sales] funnel ... we are using Tech Pro," he said.

Howard cited Tech Pro's online forum for solution architects as a particularly valuable asset. The forum "is what I think is the priceless part of [Tech Pro], because that is what makes it a community. And it is global," he said.

HPE Tech Pro, Marketing Academy updates

What we are doing now [with the Pro series] is bring it into a single, galvanizing approach so that, effectively, the entire corporation can get behind this.
Steven HaglerVice president of global sales and partner enablement, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

In addition to the new Sales Pro Community, HPE unveiled new features for the Tech Pro Community and Marketing Pro Academy.

On the Tech Pro Community side, enhancements included the following:

  • Two Hybrid IT Solutions Architect certifications: Accredited Solutions Engineer (ASE) and Master ASE. HPE said the new certs will be available Nov. 1, 2019. The ASE and Master ASE are "much more focused on [solutions selling], so moving from traditional product-centric selling to ... business-outcome-centric," Hagler said.
  • A suite of continuous learning paths, which offer technical curricula that cover HPE's portfolio. Members will be able to earn digital badges that recognize training, HPE said.
  • A reward and recognition program. Launching Nov. 1, the program will give solution architects additional benefits, recognition and advanced access to content and resources based on their investments in HPE enablement, the vendor said.

The Marketing Pro Academy enhancements, meanwhile, included the following:

  • A new Digital Marketing Partner Learning Center featuring a library of educational materials. Chris Ogburn, vice president of global marketing, said the learning center will be available on the HPE Partner Ready portal and include videos, briefs and infographics.
  • The HPE Digital Marketing Partner Accreditation Program will certify partners that complete a structured digital marketing curriculum, HPE said. Additionally, partners must complete the HPE Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment.

HPE also made news this week by announcing it will provide its full portfolio as a service by 2022.

Cognizant, KSMC, Blue Prism in latest M&A deals

Merger and acquisition activity this week featured an international deal, a union of regional players and a deal in the burgeoning robotic process automation (RPA) market.

In one pending transaction, Cognizant, an IT services and consulting firm based in Teaneck, N.J., has agreed to purchase Zenith Technologies, a life sciences manufacturing technology services firm based in Cork, Ireland. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.

Cognizant, a $14.8 billion company, said the Zenith deal will expand its work for connected biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. The transaction is similar to Accenture's purchase earlier this year of Enterprise System Partners (ESP), a consulting and manufacturing services provider focusing on the life sciences industry. ESP is also based in Cork.

KSM Consulting (KSMC), a consulting firm in Indianapolis, has acquired Connect Think, an app development company also based in that city. KSMC in April announced private equity firm Renovus Capital Partners acquired a majority interest in the company, which provides managed services, Microsoft cloud solutions, and cybersecurity architecture and strategy.

In the latest deal, KSMC is tapping Connect Think to expand its business applications practice. KSMC's Ryan Achterberg has been promoted to director of applications and will lead the Connect Think business unit. Eight former Connect Think founders and employees joined KSMC, which plans to hire up to eight additional employees to support the "growing client need for application development, integration and management," according to the company.

And in RPA, Blue Prism has agreed to buy Thoughtonomy in a deal expected to close by the end of July. The acquisition will give Blue Prism access to Thoughtonomy's cloud expertise and customer base, as well as the company's channel roster.

Thoughtonomy's professional services partners include Atos, EY and Symphony, a Sykes company.

Moves in the security market

  • Two distribution arrangements are supplying cybersecurity products to managed service providers (MSPs). Cloud distributor Pax8 is making SentinelOne's autonomous endpoint protection offering available to MSPs through a new alliance. In addition, Infocyte, a threat detection and incident response vendor, is partnering with Solutions Granted, a master managed security service provider. Solutions Granted, which provides managed security offerings to the channel, will provide Infocyte's platform to MSPs.
  • Armorblox has unwrapped a partner program to sell its natural-language-understanding-based email security platform. Value-added resellers and distributors can join the program at two tier levels: Preferred and Premier. A separate program tailored to managed security service providers lets qualifying partners deploy Armorblox technology to clients via a Cluster Management Portal, the vendor said.
  • Email security firm Vade Secure said it will provide a joint product bundle with MSP software vendor Datto. Available to Datto's MSP customers, the bundle integrates Vade Secure's Office 365 email security product with Datto's cloud-to-cloud backup, the company said.
  • Cybersecurity company Bitdefender redesigned its MSP program. The program adopts a three-tier structure -- Bronze, Silver and Gold -- with incremental access to resources, such as market development funds, operational and business support, and Bitdefender's technical account managers.
  • Webroot integrated its Business Endpoint Protection product with Blackpoint Cyber's managed detection and response platform, Snap-Defense. Webroot was acquired by backup and recovery vendor Carbonite in March 2019.
  • Defendify, which provides a cybersecurity platform geared toward small businesses, said it will use $1.6 million in pre-seed funding partly to grow its channel partner roster. Proceeds from the round will also support product development, the company said.

Other news

  • Rackspace has entered a partnership with MuleSoft, a Salesforce company, in the enterprise integration platform-as-a-service space. Rackspace said it plans to combine MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform with implementation services from RelationEdge, a Rackspace company and Salesforce consulting partner.
  • FalconStor Software Inc., a storage and data management software vendor based in Austin, Texas, has signed four integration partners as part of its bid to expand its channel reach in North America. The new partners are Corus360, KeyInfo, Lighthouse Computer Services and Sirius Computer Solutions Inc. Corus360 and KeyInfo are Converge Technology Solutions portfolio companies. FalconStor offers Preferred, Gold and Platinum partnership tiers.
  • Cloud communications provider Intermedia has integrated its partner portal with the Datto Autotask professional services automation platform. The integration links up the partner portal with Autotask's billing management and service ticketing capabilities.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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