HP has named Avnet Technology Solutions the first distribution partner in its ServiceOne partner program, a deal that could greatly improve the ability of Avnet VARs to sell and offer HP-branded services.
Launched last summer, ServiceOne is a program that allows authorized HP enterprise partners to not only sell, but implement HP-branded services. Under previous program, partners could sell those service offerings, but implementation was left to the vendor’s own services arm.
Adding a distributor to the mix opens up an interesting number of possibilities for partners: solution providers can resell the vendor’s services packages, and rely on HP to deliver them, deliver them themselves (if authorized) or turn to the distributor for implementation, should they lack the technical skills or geographic range to meet customer demands.
“We’ve been on a journey as a company to figure out how to grow our partners’ business, and with HP announcing the ServiceOne program, we saw an excellent opportunity to both scale that program and add technical and engineering resources for our partners,” said Tony Vottima, general manager of Avnet’s HP solutions group for the Americas.
Avnet is starting out with about 24 engineers in the Americas, with engineering and sales resources divided between Canada and the U.S., Vottima said. The company currently is almost at that number of engineers, with a mix of employees and contractors, but is looking to get to 24 on-staff HP services professionals available to partners in short order.
Those 24 resources will be focused primarily on three of the major service packages under ServiceOne: starting up and standing up Industry-Standard Server solutions; starting up and standing up 3Par storage solutions; and offering HP Cloud Discovery Workshops. Vottima said those three offerings were chosen as starting points because of the high demand for those particular solutions areas.
The services also offer significant opportunities to increase partner profitability, Vottima suggested. That’s both because of the inherent boost from getting the services revenue (even if it is shared with the distributor if a partner uses the distributor’s resources for implementation), and more crucially, because of the increased access they give solution providers into their existing customers.
“Once you have the opportunity to be in a services mode inside the data centre, you get a broader view of the services opportunities inside the customer as a whole,” Vottima said. “This is more than an in-and-out kind of engagement, this gives you the opportunity to look for more services opportunities inside those customers.”
He added that Avnet’s own implementation teams will be trained and expected to do just that for the partners they’re looking for – seeking opportunities that can be brought back to the solution providers for expanded engagement and value-add.
Vottima said he saw the distributor playing a variety of roles with its mix of partners – providing simple advisory services and helping partners purchase ServiceOne packages for their own implementations, as well as helping to “fill gaps in their benches” and helping partners to offer a more robust service offering in a hybrid model, as well as helping some solution providers with more complete service delivery capabilities, either on an ongoing basis or as a way to more quickly spin up a practice, using the distributor’s services team to offer services while the solution provider builds their own expertise and authorizations around the services.
“As we continue down our solutions strategy in high-growth vertical markets, we think this is the next level for us, providing more services capabilities to our partners as they look to sell more solutions,” Vottima said. “It’s a natural migration for us.”