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How not to serve your small to mid-sized business customers

by Doug Oathout, HPE Vice President, SMB, Service Provider & Agile Marketing

Doug is the vice president of global marketing for SMB and Service Provider Segments in HPE Enterprise Marketing, and as such is responsible for end-to-end marketing to these customer segments. He is also a member of the HPE strategic leadership team.


The Dell-EMC merger is expected to close before the end of October 2016, but from where I sit, the entity that will be named Dell Technologies may already be fumbling at the 50 yard line.

Details of EMC’s recent SEC filing stated in part:

"As we focus on new market opportunities and additional customers through our various distribution channels, including small-to-medium sized businesses, we may be required to provide different levels of service and support than we typically have provided in the past.”

Does that statement make you feel the tiniest bit nervous about Dell Technologies’ commitment to long-term, trusted channel partners and the small to mid-sized businesses they serve? “We may have difficulty managing directly or indirectly through our channels these different service and support requirements and may be required to incur substantial costs to provide such services…”

Given that filing statement, I have to wonder -- Have EMC and Dell really determined their game plan?

If I read between the lines, they seem to be hedging their bet as to whether or not they can profitably leverage enterprise storage products for small and midsize businesses. It also sounds like they are not too happy about sharing their profits, even if it means sharing with a value-add channel partner. Does this filing forecast a direct sale/channel culture clash for the two companies? Frankly, only time will tell. 

On the other hand – I can confidently tell you today that HPE does have a winning game plan, and it is all about our ongoing commitment to our channel partners and the small and mid-sized business customers that they serve. 

We’ve taken high-end storage capabilities normally reserved for enterprises to bring them to small and midsize businesses - minus the cost and complexity of deployment. With the announcement last week of the HPE StoreVirtual 3200 and MSA 2042, shared-storage solutions priced under $10,000 USD that are a part of the Just Right IT portfolio, we reinforce our commitment to channel partners and  customers alike who have asked for simple, enterprise-quality storage, right-sized for their business requirements.

The features of these new storage tools particularly resonate with businesses who have been struggling to manage growing quantities of data without the benefit of hardware that is right-sized for their business. Flash-ready and optimized to work with HPE Proliant Servers, armed with flexibility and built-in resiliency as well as set-and-forget ease of management, customers can now consider expanding their storage options without having to expand staff. Applications can be added at greater speed, and this next-generation storage solution can scale to match business growth, security and budget requirements. More good news: both storage products are available worldwide today.

In addition to meeting customer demand, these new products offer many more sales opportunities for local channel partners and resellers. Last week’s announcement affords our partners the perfect opportunity to introduce our Just Right IT portfolio featuring “hero” products like our award-winning HPE ProLiant Server family, plus services that differentiate HPE storage solutions from competitive offerings.  And the new StoreVirtual 3200 and MSA 2042 expand the addressable entry market for resellers and provide channel partners with new ways to expand their small to medium-sized business focus, driving partner and HPE revenue growth in the long term.

 Look - I know that stories and updates about the pending Dell-EMC merger have been prominent in technology news since their announcement to join forces in October of 2015. I also understand that, if you’re a Dell channel partner, you may be justifiably concerned about how this merger will impact your company’s relationship with the new Dell Technologies. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know one thing:  HPE is an expert at business transformation and we can help transform your game today -- so you can thrive even during this time of uncertainty.

The start of the 2016 NFL season is just weeks away. Be ready to take possession of that football and take control of your winning season, too.

Get the facts about HPE Storage @ www.hpe.com/fastforward

Find out more about Just Right IT

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