The end of last year saw a very subtle change to HP Canada’s approach to channel leadership. Although it had maintained separate channel teams, and leadership, for its three major lines of business (PSG, ESSN, and IPG), it had largely hung the mantle of “channel chief” on the shoulders of PSG’s John Cammalleri, largely because PSG was the “host” to HP’s Solution Partner Organization.
But late in 2011, that changed. Cammalleri retains his role as head of channels for PSG, but picked up responsibility for PSG’s SMB business. Joining him in a troika of channel chiefs are IPG’s Patrick Harrison and ESSN’s Sal Giulione.
The result? According to HP Canada, partners can expect to see the company’s partner-focused leaders and their teams a lot more often.
“When we made this change, as I went out to visit partners, I heard from them that they were seeing more focus from us, that we were showing up more to them,” Giulione said. “They look at the number of people touching channel partners, and they’re seeing more.”
Cammalleri stressed it remains business as usual in the channel, and that the change didn’t represent a sea change in the company’s channel strategy. The overall PartnerOne.ca channel program remains as the underpinnings across the business units, as does Heather Kent’s channel program and marketing team.
“Our route to market didn’t change at all,” Cammalleri said.
Harrison said that while the approach combines the best of both worlds. The three channel chiefs and their teams have monthly governance calls and pull together on common infrastructure wherever possible, but at the same time, having an expert in each business unit means the company’s channel leadership can have deeper conversations with channel partners.
“Each of us are specialized in each of our own business units, so we’re having very details, business-level discussions,” he said.
Giulione said he’s known both of his counterparts for more than 15 years, making for a very unique and familiar situation in Canada. Unlike the U.S., where different business units may be housed in entirely different cities – all of HP Canada’s leadership is centered in its Mississauga, Ont. headquarters.
“The teamwork and collaboration we have in Canada is very unique,” he said.
Ultimately, Cammalleri suggested, partners will benefit from working more closely with business group-focused leaders, and the fact that HP Canada has the ability to field a team of channel chiefs, each with significant experience in dealing with partners, is a bonus.
“The very nature of working with channel partners is that you have to have the ability to lose your ego very quickly,” he said with a laugh. “Partners tend to keep you very grounded. These are people [Giulione and Harrison] that have tremendous co-operation and a lot of trust in the channel, and those are characteristics you have to have when working with partners.”