HP is pushing through some radical changes to its PartnerOne channel programmes and tools in a tacit admission it needs to partner more predictably and consistently with the channel.
Tech vendors have for time immemorial talked up the need to be easier to do business with, but this has proven difficult for most to nail and despite its best efforts HP is no different.
A shift planned for 1 May will see HP shelve PFR rebate revenue gates and caps across all business units meaning channel partners earn back-end margin from the first sale, and can keep on earning.
Dan Tindell, HP Printing and Personal Systems worldwide channel sales head told us the linear approach was fuelled by a need to have an "architectural framework that is more predictable".
Palo Alto-based HP has been anything but predictable in recent years: whether it was the CEO churn; public gaffs about reviewing the PC biz; mass redundancies; or the recent spat with Autonomy.
Other cross biz harmonisation also include paying higher rebates for channel partners that hold more specialisations, with the firm bandying about the phrase 'the more you learn the more you earn'.
HP is halving the number of sales and technical certifications under the ExportOne training scheme from 44 to 22 to simplify that aspect for channel partners.
And it is doubling the time partners have to spend marketing development funds from three months to six months.
Tindell said, "We want to have a stronger way of joint planning [with partners] and MDF should be a core part of that, over the last few years its been less so".
He added the move was "much less about reducing MDF…and more about [ensuring the funding] is strategically aligned to HP".
HP reckons it has been able to improve the claims process for MDF by around 70 per cent.
It is worth noting that HP says it plans to invest $1.5bn in channel programmes and IT initiatives - outside of rebates and discounts - in fiscal 2013, which is beyond anything that rivals offer up.
Last year HP merged the printer and PC business, and slapped together the Global Accounts team with those in the Enterprise Server, Storage & Networking and the Technology Services.
Jesse Chavez, veep of worldwide channel sales and alliances, at HP's Enterprise Group, told The Channel that overhauling the programmes was made easier by the internal restructure.
"Some of that [programme change] was complicated by the business unit and organisational structure. The restructure allowed us to simplify partner programmes in a way that wasn't possible".
The Enterprise Group will move from four disperate composition programmes to one.
For the first time HP is also integrating the acquired Vertica and Autonomy operations into PartnerOne, and is also launching AllianceOne for system integrators, ISVs and OEMs.
Chavez said the initial focus will be on the testing and development of hybrid cloud environments in a bid to assure customers that the services actually work.
In yet another new roll out, HP's Enterprise Group has piloted a new configuration and pricing tool in the UK and Germany and is preparing to push it out to the wider channel.
The firm says it has improved the turnaround speed of quotes by 35 per cent and 80 per cent of quotations are released inside eight hours.
The configuration and quotation tools are to be integrated with Unison - a $100m investment in a platform that allows HP to develop joint business planning with partners, to be rolled out over 18 months. ®