With the acquisition of 3Com now behind it, HP Networking has already begun positioning the new integrated product line that is targeted at enterprise, mid-market and SMB sectors. Key for HP Networking will be how it addresses the enterprise space in particular the data centre segment as competition in this sector is fierce with all networking vendors battling it out for top honours.
For channel partners in the Middle East region, what they would like to see post the HP-3Com merger is how the vendor will position the integrated product sets going forward. Clearly, channel partners are expecting the integrated product offering will give them a competitive advantage over rival products in the market.
Alaa AlShimy, MD, HP Networking Middle East and Mediterranean Africa (MEMA) region, says the new HP Networking product portfolio has already been launched a few months back and well positioned into the Middle East market. AlShimy says the company is leveraging on the product integration from both sides by bringing the best solutions to channel partners and end-user customers.
AlShimy explains that the company has four main category of products namely the “A” category for the top enterprise customers and Data centre solutions, “E” category for the enterprise and top SMB customers and the “V” series for the SMB customers core to access. “The above three categories provide end to end from core to access, unified wired and wireless, one operating system,” he says. “In addition, the portfolio offers one management system for the entire network including third party networks, with the best TCO in the industry and life time warranty.”
AlShimy adds that the “S” category is for security solutions and HP Networking with Tipping point solutions are today considered as the preferred offering in the market.
He adds that this category of solutions gives channel partners an opportunity to offer their end-user customers double the performance of solutions that the competition offers.
Product integration is one aspect that, channel partners are also wanting to know The way the new HP Networking will engage with partners with its new partner programme is another. AlShimy says the company has introduced a new programme for all the HP Networking partners that will sell the entire product portfolio of the E and V family with different specialisation level. According to AlShimy, this is called UNS category.
He explains that all the 3com partners who have received a new contract from HP Networking will also sell the entire product portfolio as above. “We introduced a new level of partnership ENS which certifies partners to sell the A category of products,” he says. “All the security partners who have got a new contract with HP will continue to do the same.”
AlShimy believes that the new HP Networking is changing the networking market, by giving its channel partners and their customers an option they didn’t have before. He says historically there was only one networking player dominating the market leveraging the fact that they are the only player with a complete networking product portfolio. “With our new complete networking products and solutions, we are now are providing the customer an option “to choose” one from two versus one from one,” he says.
AlShimy adds that another competitive advantage that the new HP Networking provides to its channel and end-user customers modern and IEE industry standard technology, versus proprietary systems from the competition. This, says, AlShimy, gives the customer the choice and flexibility to integrate to any industry standard system. “Third party reports show that the power consumption of HP Networking systems are on average one third of rival products, this means less need for the DC cooling, which leads to less consumption of electricity,” he notes. “Ease of support and upgrade, as we have one operating system for each product family and
ease of management, our software provide one management view to all the network including third party,”
In addition to all these, AlShimy says HP Networking offers better TCO in the industry by far on its solution offerings that are complemented by lifetime warranty for E and V family of products. “On average you get double the performance compared to rival products,” he says.
AlShimy says channel partners can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they are getting an end to end solution and converged infrastructure from one vendor for data centre and business solution, which reduces risk, cost, time to market and guarantees their success. “This includes networking, storage, servers, PCs, printers, support, management, applications and integration,” he enthuses.
As for the UNS partners that focus on the enterprise segment, AlShimy says HP Networking has been encouraging them to communicate to their customers and educate them on the new portfolio, which will increase their addressable market value and the need to capitalise on the opportunity. He adds that for Preferred Partners and Select partners, the company is urging them to focus on the SMB segment. “Partners have unbeatable value proposition with the life time warranty of the E family,” he says.
Remarking on the markets in the Middle East that are key for your channel growth in the second half of 2010 and next year, AlShimy says Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE are the fastest growing with the highest IT spending, however the opportunities are very big across all the countries namely Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Jordon.
Aside from the in country market focus, the A family is what is going to make a fundamental difference to the enterprise and data centre customers, while the E family for the enterprise and big SMB customers.
With data centre transformation high on most CIOs agenda and the network becoming an integral part of an organisation’s IT infrastructure, AlShimy says implementation skills is what channel partners need to continue to develop. “Data centre customers are asking for certifications,” he notes. “Our partners need to continue to train and certify their resources to be able to deliver. We have the AIS, ASE and MASE certifications for our channel partners’ engineers, which we deliver across all the countries in the region.”
He adds that positioning is the key to success in the channel, and ProCurve has the right solution family to the right customer. “The entire new portfolio is very attractive, competitive and outstanding,” he says. “We are planning a training road show immediately after the holidays, where we will train our partners and customer on our new portfolio in each country and partners are most welcome to join us. Channel managers will be providing partners with all the information.
In addition, AlShimy says HP has developed its AIS, ASE and MASE training to reflect the new product portfolio. “In addition we have a programme to convert the CCIE certification to MASE in only four hours web session,” he says.
AlShimy reiterates that it’s extremely important that partners attain the certifications on offer because without the knowledge channel partners can’t have the skills and without the skills they can’t sell nor deliver. “We realise that and we have educational road shows but I would like to urge and encourage all the partners to get their resources to be trained and certified,” he says. “We have a number of joint marketing activities with our partners to generate joint demand, education, training and certification.”
Looking ahead AlShimy says HP is focused on all the markets in the Middle East and it is the biggest investment for HP among all the MEMA countries. He adds that the Saudi team is doing an outstanding job, hence the company is doubling the team again. “We are building the market in Egypt, where HP Middle East has the biggest presence and have the biggest investment among the Middle East countries,” he says.
While all these initiatives have put the new HP Networking in good standing, AlShimy says some of the pressing channel issues on resellers minds is making good profit, customer satisfaction and hiring and retaining good people. “We have a clear vision, strategy and plans to be the leader in the networking business with our partners,” he says. “We will double our business in fiscal year 2011. Five years back HP was number two in the IT industry, we had a vision and planned to be number one. Today, we are number one by far. We will be number one by far in the networking as well. The flight is taking off, and I believe it’s time to be onboard.”
AlShimy adds that as Redington is the biggest distributor in the Middle East for HP Networking. “I see Redington as the strategic distributor for HP in the ME today and in the future, we will make it together,” he concludes.
With the ProCurve and 3Com products integration now complete, HP Networking in the Middle East region is looking forward to an enhanced portfolio offering to the channel. The vendor outlines how it will target the channel in the region with this strengthened product and technology offering.