After a year-long absence Warwick Grey has re-entered the channel to take up the SME segment marketing manager position at HP.
Grey worked in a similar position at Microsoft until late 2004 when he was replaced by Jan Ferguson.
“The funny thing is I recruited Jan from this role at HP and now I’ve taken it on so we’ve effectively swapped positions,” he says.
Although Grey kept his finger in the pie by event contracting to Microsoft and HP, he says by the middle of 2005 he was missing the buzz of the industry.
In his new position Grey says he will deal with the same channel partners but will represent a different product set.
“I’ve been in the software market for a number of years and the products don’t change that much, yet I’m having to get to grips with hardware as the changes come thick and fast.”
He will work closely with SME programmes manager Laila Sturgeon, who returns after six months’ maternity leave.
Together they plan to develop a unified SME marketing brief across the company for servers, PCs, storage and support to show customers HP is more than just a printer company.
According to Grey, of the 300,000 SME businesses 28% say they get their IT advice from friends, 30% say their IT is managed by an IT guy and only 10% have an SLA with a reseller partner.
“If these SMEs are going to grow their businesses they need to be more productive and technology can help them with that. We’ve got to push the value of relationships with our partners because this is the sweet spot.”
One of his first priorities is to let HP partners know what his role means for them.
“I may not be managing their accounts but I’m out there driving demand. They can call me anytime and I want partners to become more involved in events.”
For the last four years HP and Microsoft have sponsored Right Click events with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce that look at IT challenges facing SMEs.
“There can be up to 400 end-users at these events and not a partner in sight. There’s a disconnect between the channel and SMEs, yet resellers can use these events to come and see what HP does to drive demand.”