LAS VEGAS – At Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Discover customer event here, the company made multiple new announcements regarding its own solution portfolio. These were at least equalled, however, by announcements from the company’s vendor partners at the event. Most of these were announcements that the vendor had joined the HPE Complete program, and now has a validated solution that can be ordered directly through HPE or its channel.
The HPE Complete program is relatively new. It was ratified at the last HPE Discover in Europe at the end of November 2016, but has never actually been formally announced.
“The HPE Complete program came out of the storage division,” said Marty Lans, Senior Director and GM, Storage Engineering, Connectivity & Global Interoperability, who runs the HPE Complete program, and who years ago designed and built the similar EMC Select program. “The idea was to fill gaps in our portfolio, so is directly related to our larger corporate strategy. Everything we develop organically is geared toward the strategy. We use the program to create end-to-end solutions where we don’t have an organic component.”
Lans said the program’s ability to allow HPE to offer a fuller solution set is a critical differentiating factor against most of the market – and something that allows them to go head to head with Dell EMC.
“There aren’t many choices left in the market for an end-to-end portfolio, specifically around hybrid cloud solutions,” he said. “It’s just Dell EMC and us. The vendor partners who we approach and those that approach us abut HPE Complete tend to fit clearly into this strategy – and those that don’t set up a way to make their strategy fit so they can participate in the program.”
HPE is related to the company’s Pathfinder venture investment and partnering program, but it is separate from it, and not all the HPE Complete partners are startups.
“We are the official go-to-market for the Pathfinder partners, and provide them with their route to market through HPE. “But the program contains both big companies and small companies. We now have over 20 partners in the program, and have been adding about ten each quarter. The program has never been formally announced, but people found out about it fast. I get a couple of inquiries a day.”
To qualify for the program, the outside solution offerings go through a multi-month testing process to validate compatibility with HPE platforms.
“It’s a rigorous test, and every test is unique and based on the specific technology,” Lans said. “We assign an engineer to develop a test plan. The key is the development of automation orchestration. We automate every partner who comes into the program. It’s all integrated into our core solutions, with on-ramps and off-ramps to Azure and AWS.”
The validated solutions are then assigned specific swim lanes where they will be positioned by HPE direct sales and partners, in relation to the company’s own organic offerings and other HPE Complete solutions.
“We created the swim lanes to simplify messaging for the field,” Lans said. “We find that they are necessary to prevent confusion.”
Lans said that the program has been a considerable success for HPE in its short lifespan to date.
“We are excited about the program, which has been pretty successful, and has exceeded our projected revenue,” he indicated. “The quality of the partners, both ISVs and IHVs, is very high.”
Lans also stressed that HPE’s channel partners benefit significantly from the program.
“The channel gets more benefits from the program than anyone,” he said. “We do all the interoperability testing for the partner, so the partner can sell these new technologies with confidence. The channel also spends less time on integration work, but can take credit for it.”