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Why HP Smart Choice is the Right Choice for Customers and partners: HP’s Chuck Smith

chuck.jpgChuck Smith is Vice President of Strategic Growth and Business Development for HP Servers within HP’s Enterprise Group. He’s well known as a strong HP “Channel Champion” and is spearheading the HP Project Smart Choice initiative. I recently had the opportunity to discuss his point of view about IBM and Lenovo, find out about why he’s excited about Project Smart Choice and see why HP has a well-earned reputation as a “Channel Champion” in the industry.

 

Jill Sweeney: There’s been a lot of press coverage lately about HP’s efforts to win IBM customers. HP’s focus is not only on IBM customers, but clearly the partners. Can you tell me more about the HP program to win IBM partners?

 

Chuck Smith: Yes, SMB Nation recently interviewed me and had the opportunity to highlight that the new Smart Choice program is calibrated to help HP partners hit the street and go after server opportunities. We’ve created a program that provides turnkey support for HP partners to confidently acquire more server customers. Its emphasis today is acquiring market share as IBM customers reasonably ask that tough strategic questions of “what now?”

 

Jill Sweeney: Why is this program a win for partners?

 

Chuck Smith: It’s simple, partners have end-to-end support to acquire more customers during an uncertain period. HP’s reputation in the market is a strong adjunct partner to the program. Our channel partner program includes access to our global support team which offers a host of support opportunities to help partners support enterprises in any environment, including IBM and others. We are setting partners and customers up to be successful. They should be worried about Lenovo being able to support IBM technologies, providing comprehensive certification and access to a worldwide support network.

 

Jill Sweeney: HP has been pretty bold, even uncharacteristically so in running ads in New York Times. What does that say about the intensity of the efforts/campaign?

 

Chuck Smith: As the market leader, HP wants to make a bold statement. Industry shifts of this type come around once a decade. HP is committed to investing in the x86 server market space and Project Smart Choice is a reflection of multiple HP investments from technology investment to partner programs to advertising and marketing support. HP has a unique view of the data center and how IT infrastructure is changing. Missteps from players like IBM underscore the opportunity for HP. We are investing in Project Smart Choice because the opportunity is incredibly massive and we have to take advantage in the marketplace. The ad is an example of how HP is aggressively driving demand to solution providers and drive sales growth by aligning to partners. There’s also a great article in CRN highlighting this shift.

 

Jill Sweeney: So I understand this is a great market opportunity, what can you say about the importance of the channel to HP?

 

Chuck Smith:The channel is quite simply, an extension of our brand, our people and our value proposition. With more than 145,000 distributors, resellers, and alliance partners in our global network, the HP channel community has a proven track record of delivering successful business outcomes to customers around the world. The commitment we make to the channel is more than just business and financial—they are family. Channel partners working with HP know our technology, we can’t do it all alone and with the New Style of IT we have to be able to partner well. Our channel is how HP gets the reach we need. HP executives from Meg on down are known as channel supporters and CRN just honored Meg, Sue Barsamian, Martin Fink and Antonio Neri in their top channel leaders feature recognizing industry leaders who had the biggest impact on the tech community in the last 12 months.

 

Jill Sweeney: What a validation! The New York Times ad highlighted some top names in the channel with some pretty bold commitments from partners standing behind HP. What are partners telling you “off the record”?

 

Chuck Smith: Were are very lucky that a number of our top tier partners, Platinum Partners went on the record to stand behind HP and Project Smart Choice. Most of partner community has tight customer relationships with broad portfolio representation. But looking forward and seeing where the technology business is going … it’s not about one product line … its broader with not only servers, but software, storage and services too. They want to partner to help retain their long standing customer relationships.

 

Jill Sweeney: What about customers?

 

Chuck Smith: Well we’ve heard some vocal feedback from a range of customers from Enterprise to Public Sector down to small and medium businesses. There’s an angst and uncertainty about the future, particularly about the ability of Lenovo to support the enterprise resulting in comments like “We’re not having Lenovo in our datacenter …. Let’s talk to HP”. We’ve invited customers and partners to HP’s technology showcase Discover and both customers and partners told us that Discover is like how IBM used to do shows a decade ago”. Our partners are backed by our global support team, which means our customers are as well. We can help support any IT environment, including solutions from IBM and others. With HP, customers will have a clear IT road map that can take organizations to the next level and help them be very successful.

 

Jill Sweeney: Any final thoughts, where do customers and partner need to go for more information?

 

Five Questions Graphi..jpgChuck Smith: Well, IBM and Lenovo customers and partners, we’d like your business! If you need a partner, the Project Smart Choice website has a partner locator and a video to help you ask the tough questions you should ask your partner. We also offering a free half day consulting session to qualified customers. So come talk to us!

 

 

 

 

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