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Split decision

Split decision 

Billed as one of the largest corporate separations in recent history, many experts believed that it would cause a great deal of friction and confusion within the industry, especially amongst HP’s channel partners. Realizing this, HP has taken steps to ensure that the transition process is a smooth one. While there currently is some “separation anxiety” within the organization, the newly-created Navigator program will help guide HP’s partners through the entire separation process.

“There is separation anxiety within HP,” said Jos Brenkel, senior vice president of worldwide sales strategy and operations for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems division. “That’s why the Navigator program for the channel is key. If we do a good job with it, it will take the anxiety away.”

To illustrate how the Navigator program would help to ease the transition process for HP’s partners, Brenkel provided an example of a discussion he and his team might have with them.

“A month ago, I did a roadshow, and let’s say that I picked five of our top partners. We did a day workshop with each of them and their IT and ops people, along with my IT and ops people,” he said.

“We started to show them the decisions that we’ve already made. Then one of them said that the decision would affect their business, but we said that (HP is) already six months ahead (in the process),” Brenkel continued. “At the end, (the partner) said he felt good because he saw what we were doing, how it was going to help his business, and how he was going to fix it.”

Navigating the entire process is one part of the equation, but examining the direct impact it will have on these partners’ respective businesses is another. As Thomas Jensen, vice president of worldwide channel sales for HP’s PPS Group explains, while some of these issues may seem minor, they are all necessary steps.

“There are a number of things that will have a great impact on their daily business. They need a new contractor set up with us, especially for the distributors who buy directly from them,” he said.

“They need to establish new vendors in the system on both sides. They need to adapt the product names because HP Inc. will maintain the HP brand, whereas Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will rebrand themselves. These small things may seem insignificant, but we need to have it all under control and on track, moving forward.”

HP’s decision to separate was one that required a lot of research, analysis and insight. But like many corporate ventures, it required the company to have a good sense of timing. Lynn Anderson, senior vice president of channel marketing and HP’s chief of staff notes that now was the perfect time for the split to occur, as it would allow HP to get a better understanding of who would be competing with the separated companies.

“If we take a step back and look at why HP decided to separate, it was the right time. We had built the right level of confidence across our customers, channel partners, employees and investors,” said Anderson.

“The third piece is speed of market transitions. It’s so fast these days that this is going to allow us to focus on unique sets of competitors for each business. In many cases, the models and competitors are quite different in those marketplaces. Now, we’re going to have innovation, faster decision-making and greater accountability from a partner perspective.”

Corporate mergers, separations and other large-scale transformations have been making news headlines for years, often with negative reactions from those affected by them. That’s not been the case as HP prepares to divide, says Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing strategy for HP’s PartnerOne Strategy.

“Overall, it’s been extremely positive. (The partners) are expecting each company to be more nimble, quicker to react to competitive market changes, and continue the innovation that has already happened,” he said.

“I would say that there has not been any concern. I’m not saying it’s been a non-event for them, but they will continue to do business with both companies afterwards and have access to equal or better products, so they have been very supportive (of the decision).”

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