HP resellers in the dark over government contracts

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Eleven HP resellers – dumped from NSW government contracts last year – have received little or no explanation as to why, fuelling speculation HP was elbowing past the channel to a direct model.

Eleven HP resellers – dumped from NSW government contracts last year – have received little or no explanation as to why, fuelling speculation HP was elbowing past the channel to a direct model.

Late last year, these HP resellers were dumped without warning from the contracts and in June, were asked by HP sales managers in Kuala Lumpur to provide detailed sales documentation before being considered for reinstatement to approved supplier lists for ITS2000.

ITS2000 is a four-year, whole-of-government contract for the supply of fileservers, PCs, notebook and hand-held computers, amounting to 80 per cent of NSW Government technology purchases; a major slice of business for Australian suppliers and distributors.

Still selling HP gear to corporates, the director of one of the 11 resellers requested anonymity before admitting that his company was yet to hear anything back from HP regarding ITS2000.

He was still struggling to prepare the requested sales documentation for account managers in Malaysia, information it would seem the company should already have on file.

“Obviously we’re not very happy at all,” he said. “HP should have all this information on record - it doesn’t make much sense,” he said.

John Foxe, director at HP reseller IT National has made a more progress, having received assurances from HP that the company would be put back on the contract, although it has not been told when.

“I understand that we are going to be put back on to the contract,” Foxe said, adding however, that regardless of when HP reinstates the company, a lot of pain could have been avoided had it done so some three to four months ago.

“So much business is based on relationships and when they are broken through no fault of your own it can take a long time to recover,” he said.

This could take as long as a year, he said. But for those resellers yet to hear anything about their futures with ITS2000, the damage could be far worse.

Comaxes managing director Colin Williamson said that his company still has no idea what’s going on and hasn’t heard anything back from HP.

He has also been without a HP account manager for several months after initially being passed on to a representative in Kuala Lumpur around a year ago.

“We had an HP account manager in KL and then about three to four months ago we were told he wasn’t looking after us,” Williamson said.

“We’ve had no replacement and no reply.”

He added that aside from HP’s actions with regard to ITS2000, the company’s systems for attending to global customers are “falling apart at the seams at the moment”, with some enduring delays of up to several months.

The head of another reseller, who asked not to be named, suggested that uncertainty surrounding imminent redundancies within HP globally has led to a break down in communication across the company.

“They [HP] are very inwardly focused because no one knows whose going to be left standing,” he said. “They don’t have as many people as they used to.”

HP has not responded to repeated invitations by CRN to comment on the situation with regard to ITS2000 and broader plans for its channel partners.
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