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The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: June 2007

HP to Hitachi - get off our turf

June 2007
Tim Stammers

The man brought from Europe to the US to help fix Hewlett-Packard's storage sales problems has issued a thinly disguised warning to HP's OEM supplier Hitachi to stop poaching its customers.

The man brought from Europe to the US to help fix Hewlett-Packard's storage sales problems has issued a thinly disguised warning to HP's OEM supplier Hitachi to stop poaching its customers.
"There is room for improvement in one area of our relationship with Hitachi, and it is in go-to-market. Personally, I think HP and Hitachi are competing too often for the same customers," said Rudi Schmickl, vice president and general manager of HP's enterprise servers and storage business unit for the Americas.
That job title makes Schmickl the enterprise storage and servers sales chief for HP in the Americas. Until five weeks ago he held the same job for HP in EMEA, and one of the reasons he has been transferred to the US is to help put right what HP admits are problems with its high-end sales in the Americas.
HP has been selling re-branded versions of Hitachi's flagship disk arrays for several years. For HP the deal has delivered a high-end presence with a competitive product, and for Hitachi it has hugely boosted the Japanese supplier's market reach.
But the two companies have not been able to entirely avoid the inevitable submerged rocks of channel conflict. Schmickl described these as 'hidden in the relationship' in both EMEA and the Americas.
The HP sales chief acknowledged that his comment about sales overlaps will not make Hitachi hugely happy. Hitachi's subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems itself was unable to respond to a request for a comment on this story by press time last night.
Separately, Schmickl said that HP has been rebuilding its sales force since it was cut back so heavily after the merger with Compaq.
But the force is still not as big as it was pre-merger.
"I would say it was not as big. But we use a different measure, and the number of customers we are covering is higher. The trick is to reduce duplication and overlay factors, while giving more account facilities and more one-on-one mapping," he said.
Last year HP said it planned to recruit 700 new sales staff worldwide, of which little more than a third would be hired in EMEA, Schmickl said. There are still around 100 of those jobs open, mostly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Schmickl said.
Source: Computergram


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