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A New Mantra – Accelerate Growth


By Helen Tang

Impressions from HP Global Partner Conference 2015


As a quasi HP “old-timer”, I’ve been to our Global Partner Conference (or GPC) a few times now. It’s always a whirlwind of activity, but GPC 2015 definitely had a different feel to it. If I had to put my finger on it, I think it’s because we are living in a new age, with unprecedented changes on all fronts.


Looking at the macro-environment, two words stood out in my mind – Transformation and Relevance. The world today is dominated by a few trends of massive magnitude: internet of things, social media, big data, and mobility… uber.jpgall of these trends are swiftly molding our everyday world and the business world. It first starts with the customer, HP’s customer and those of our VARs, resellers and alliance partners. The world they live in and compete in is all of a sudden completely different from just a few years ago. Meg illustrated this perfectly with a story about San Francisco’s taxi industry. If you were the CEO of a taxi company operating in San Francisco (or probably, anywhere in the US), it’s probably safe to say you’re not a very happy camper these days. Taxi ridership is down 65% in just 1 year. “Why is that?” Meg asked the room, and everyone pretty much shouted in unison – “Uber!” That’s right, one little startup with a new technology platform changed the dynamics of an entire industry. That’s transformation at breakneck speed. And no CEO or CIO can rest easy these days, because what Uber did to the Taxi industry, can definitely happen to any industry, with the future threat coming from any possible direction.


The risk of being turned into dinosaurs overnight has really shaken up the business world, and now everyone is looking at what the future holds, trying to stay ahead of these earth shattering transformations and struggling for relevance. This changes their optic on technology and technology vendors. Technology is no longer some other domain, it’s now directly tied to the business, and any technology investment has to be made with ROI based on business outcomes. This challenges vendors like HP to step up and offer true solutions, not just talk products. And at GPC this year, I think we met the challenge admirably.


IT solutions for the New Style of Business
Across the 3 days of general sessions at GPC, the discussion was all about solutions, never dipping into products. This is 4 sales plays.jpga huge departure from any prior HP events, a very significant shift in how we’re messaging to the market. Specifically we talked about 4 solutions:  transform to on-demand IT, protecting digital assets, empowering data driven enterprise and enabling the most productive workplace. Meg called these the “IT solutions for the New Style of Business.”  In the drill down sessions, the BU leaders provided a lot of detail under each of these, with use cases and customer examples. It’s a very different way of approaching the market, mapped tightly to any Fortune 1000 company’s top priorities. Personally I really liked this up-leveling, and apparently so did our partners.

A funny anecdote on this, during one of the interactive supersessions I attended, a partner actually said, and I am paraphrasing, “I was so glad you guys didn’t talk products this year, it was so boring.”  The audience laughed, and I saw a lot of nodding heads. I think this new solutions orientation will really help answer the question of “what can you do for me? How will you help with my most pressing issues?”

Along with customers and technology vendors, I also saw a clear shift in our partners. One data point that demonstrates this is the attendance level at the different types of breakout sessions. I had an opportunity to sample about 10 different breakouts across the three days. The product group led sessions had decent attendance, but the rooms were maybe half full. Guess which sessions got the highest attendance, as in standing room only? You guessed it, the sessions led by consulting groups like McKinsey.


When I attended the “Sales Motions and the New Era of Selling,” not only was it a packed house, the audience eagerly engaged and asked a lot of questions regarding how to speak the new sales lingo that creates value and focuses on solutions. The “Over 2,800 CEOs, IT and business leaders have spoken -- Hear how you can empower their change” also drew a ton of attendees across all geos.


My big take away
To summarize, we live in exciting times, customers, HP and channel/alliance partners are all transforming how we do business, to stay relevant in this new age. We’re focused on business outcomes, like never before and jointly delivering the most relevant solutions that will drive transformation for our customers, and accelerate the growth of our shared businesses. That was my big take away from GPC this year.


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