meg whitman

HP CEO Meg Whitman told her company’s Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas yesterday that she was fundamentally refocusing up the way the company sells its products.

"We now have a very clear policy about taking our business through channel," she said, adding that a direct sales strategy is actively discouraged at the company's new leadership. "That will simply be not be tolerated."

Whitman promised a focus on the "new style of IT" and the way business and consumers use the cloud, Big Data, and mobility. "We are excited about the future; we are living in a period of tectonic change in how technology is consumed, delivered and paid for - this happens every 10-15 years," she said.

Whitman said 2013 will be a transitional year. "We are on a journey to turn HP around, it won't be overnight but we know what needs to get done," she said.

She promised HP would invest in making its partner programmes more profitable and innovative, alongside investments the company will make in its own R&D and internal systems, she said.

"Many of you have been partners for decades. We were literally built by our channel partners," she said. "The last couple of years have not been easy - we have had some missteps, and seen a lot of change at HP but we are making progress."

Whitman’s keynote described how the company has been actively boosting its relationship with channel partners in the last year, creating partner advisory boards, and implementing changes as a result of an extensive partner survey.

Feedback from a recent partner survey highlighted a feeling that HP had too many programmes, that were sometimes too complex, and often unpredictable, she said. The company's PartnerOne programme is aimed at reducing some of these complexities by ultimately consolidating its channel programmes into one. That will also provide consistency, and predictability to partner compensation, which will also remove barriers to rebates, making it possible to make money from the first sale, and removing caps on profitability, she said.