Hardware vendor HP has offered selected services resellers a business continuity package to push into the Australian market. HP's services channel partner manager Mike Bazely and business continuity head Steve Cartland said that eventually about six of the vendor's services channel partners could be signed to offer the package. This included access to off-site support, such as HP's own disaster recovery centres. Initially, only HP services resellers Volante and Starcom would be permitted to offer the business continuity services, they said. 'We have had a large number of customers and resellers, because of some of the changes in the marketplace, ask for this. Channel partners are providing high-value services and customers are also responding to those services – there is growing interest,' Cartland said. Cartland said work completed about a year ago by Macquarie Graduate School suggested only 12 percent of organisations had good business continuity plans. 'And the market hasn't changed that much since then,' he added. He claimed resellers could earn margins '20 [percentage] points or more' from selling the package. 'And that's real margin, and we're providing them with a lot of expertise as well,' Cartland said. Bazely said HP would support the partners from finding the opportunities to closing the deal in the offer, which was based on a subscription-type model. 'Subscribers can get support any time of day,' he said. HP would respond within two hours to emergency callouts from customers, Bazely said. The package would include assistance from 'HP business recovery experts' and 'everything you would expect' in such a service, Cartland said. Bazely said his and Cartland's role included investigating services products in HP as a whole that could be profitably offered through the channel and building related infrastructure to deliver those services. HP would then work to support the channel partners, who would deliver pre-sales support and manage the ongoing customer relationship in delivering those services, Cartland said. 'We want to be able to keep growing and bringing more services for the partners to sell, but you need to make sure they can make margin out of it,' Bazely said. Cartland and Bazely confirmed that HP's channel 're-organisation' was ongoing, but said services partners weren't being prioritised over HP's more traditional hardware channel. HP's services channel was growing, a phenomenon partly reflecting the broader Australian channel's increasing reliance on services to drive profits. HP expected to add more services-focused partners to the 10 in its primary services partner sales program, they said. 'It's not a massive channel, but a very focused channel,' Bazely said. Cartland added that some of the vendor's services partners also sold HP hardware, but he did not know if any hardware partners would be dropped as a result of an increasing emphasis on services. '[However] sales from our hardware channel are growing,' Cartland said.
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