Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is placing as-a-service growth ambitions in the hands of the channel across Southeast Asia, arming partners with HPE GreenLake to meet rising customer consumption demand post-pandemic.
The move mirrors plans to deliver the vendor’s entire portfolio via subscription, managed IT services or pay per-use models, a three-year strategy first revealed in mid-2019 with an expected 2022 completion date.
Central to such ambitions in ASEAN is a framework designed to enable more partners to transition to services selling, supported by increased training and incentives delivered via GreenLake.
“GreenLake represents a continuous enhancement for HPE as we prioritise providing our partners with access to as-a-service solutions to support customers from the enterprise to mid-market and SMB,” said Heng Huey Lih, head of Partner Sales across Asia Pacific at HPE. “Partnership is in our DNA and the channel ecosystem remains central to our continued success.”
As noted by Huey Lih -- when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia -- plans are now place to ensure partners are on-boarded and equipped to deliver as-a-service solutions in response to increased levels of end-user adoption.
“HPE is differentiating through delivering a true consumption-based IT experience and our partners are realising this as they embed GreenLake into their business models to help customers maximise digital transformation,” Huey Lih added.
To facilitate such demand, HPE unveiled a series of updates to GreenLake Cloud Services in March with the aim of simplifying experience levels amid providing access to more than 100,000 partners globally via distribution marketplaces.
Notable changes included GreenLake cloud services for virtual machines (VMs), containers and bare metal management with “scalable and modular” entry points specifically tailored for mid-market businesses, starting at 100 VMs, and increasing to 600 VMs.
New marketplace agreements with Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data -- among other distributors -- was also revealed, as well as a colocation alliance with Equinix to simplify the cloud experience for joint customers.
This was supported by a new simplified billing experience on GreenLake Central enabling partners to “deliver a cloud experience” to customers, alongside enhanced features specific to Aruba as part of the Partner Ready for Networking Program.
Such updates were trigged by strong as-a-service channel momentum with partner-led orders up 116 per cent from the prior-year period during the first quarter of 2021, with over 830 partners now selling GreenLake.
With GreenLake reporting over $4.5 billion in total contract value worldwide, HPE also increased annualised revenue run rate (ARR) figures by 27 per cent year-over-year during the first three months of the financial year.
Heightened services demand
According to State of the Channel research -- commissioned by Channel Asia in partnership with Tech Research Asia -- technology budgets in FY21 are forecast to increase by 59 per cent across ASEAN, with 28 per cent remaining at the same level and 13 per cent decreasing.
From a business standpoint, developing new products and services ranks as the leading priority for customers, ahead of lowering costs and improving efficiencies, as well as “surviving” the current economic and social situation.
Within this context, end-users cite modernising technology infrastructure and applications as a standout area of focus, followed by enhancing security, governance, risk and compliance levels amid wider digitisation of business systems and processes.
“We do see a little disparity depending on the country but generally speaking, as-a-service is gaining strong momentum across all markets,” Huey Lih observed.
“We have ambitions to become an edge to cloud company with everything delivered and available as-a-service and Asia is no different. Our strategy is to accelerate this within the enterprise and from our perspective, this will be best achieved via partners.”
With the channel tasked with executing on such growth potential, 66 per cent of businesses are expected to commission more services-led projects via the partner ecosystem, with 57 per cent of organisations also increasing reliance on third-party outsourcing ASEAN-wide.
As outlined via State of the Channel research, the customer caveat however is a revised criteria for technology providers, based around deep skills in specific solutions and an ability to deploy end-to-end offerings in an agile and flexible manner.
“We’re also becoming more targeted with mid-market and SMB customers -- partners can now provide end-to-end support in managing entire hybrid IT estates through GreenLake Central,” Huey Lih added.
“This continues to resonate well in the channel. COVID-19 has exacerbated the digital divide across the region which is especially the case at mid-market and SMB levels as organisations face new IT challenges and lack of access to skills.”
As reported by Channel Asia, changes to the vendor’s Partner Ready Program were unveiled in November 2020 with a slant towards supporting opportunities specific to SMBs. The aim is to offer partners “a profitable compensation model, access to financial resources and robust enablement opportunities”.
For partners serving SMB and mid-market sectors, HPE is continuing to offer promotions and location-based incentives and bonuses, supported by expanding co-selling opportunities between solution and service providers.
Prioritising partner enablement
According to State of the Channel research, attracting new customers and growing annuity revenue streams rank as the leading strategic priorities for partners across ASEAN in 2021 and beyond.
The move to embrace managed services is in response to customers pursing agile outsourcing models as the transition from CAPEX to OPEX gathers pace in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, alongside the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
With contracts now managed against business outcomes -- notably cost reduction and end-user adoption levels -- 77 per cent of partners believe they are “well set-up” to meet future customer needs, with 36 per cent undergoing a “significant change” in go-to-market strategy.
“We’re helping partners differentiate via HPE and continue to support the channel through new initiatives and programs,” Huey Lih noted. “We have a broad ecosystem with very different business models and through our Partner Ready program we continue to provide specific workshops to help the channel transform and embrace as-a-service.”
One of the most challenging aspects of kick-starting a business model overhaul for partners is “people”, according to Huey Lih. Within this context, enablement, up-skilling and training assumes greater levels of importance for an ecosystem more aligned to conventional CAPEX selling.
“We’re ensuring partners have access to the same set of training programs and tools that internal sales and technical specialists at HPE leverage to be successful during the transition process,” Huey Lih confirmed.
One notable and local example of GreenLake success is the recent partnership with Tookitaki -- a Singapore-based compliance solutions specialist for financial services -- to provide the sector with enhanced anti-money laundering capabilities through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies.
Delivered as-a-service via HPE GreenLake for Big Data, the offering aims to enable financial institutions to create a central big data platform capable of rolling out anti-money laundering solutions centred around data analytics.
The addition of GreenLake is designed to allow banks to leverage the “agility, flexibility and scalability” of cloud when deploying AI-optimised infrastructure platforms and solutions on-premises.
United Overseas Bank (UOB) - a Singapore-headquartered organisation with strong presence across Southeast Asia - is the first financial institution to leverage Tookitaki’s product via a GreenLake consumption model, prompting a wider roll-out across the region.