Partners Applaud First-Ever Joint Partner Program Between HPE, Aruba

(NOTE: This article was originally posted to Sept. 12.)

More opportunites could be headed toward partners of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Aruba Networks after the two vendors unveiled their first-ever joint partner program this week.

Partners cheered the announcement of the program, which will combine the best elements of the Aruba Partner Edge and HPE Partner Ready programs.

“It really feels like we’re now getting the best of both worlds,” said John Barker, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Communications, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and longtime HPE and top Aruba partner. “HP partner programs have been heavily favored toward the back-end rebates. Aruba has been more upfront in terms of certification and corresponding discount level. So you had one program very favored much on the back end, and another very favored on the front end – when you bring those together, that’s definitely a great change for partners.”

[Related: HPE-Aruba Launch 'Compelling' Mobile Platform And Consumption Models To Drive Recurring Revenues]

At HPE’s 2016 Global Partner Conference in Boston on Monday, the company unveiled its Partner Ready for Networking Program, which will be HPE-Aruba’s new networking channel go-to-market strategy, according to Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing for Aruba.

“You are now seeing the fruition of the acquisition of Aruba by HPE — and you’re not only seeing new innovations, but a consolidated go-to-market strategy now across the entire organization,” said Kozup.

The new program comes nearly 16 months after HPE acquired Aruba for $3 billion in May 2015. Aruba said the new channel program combines the best elements of Aruba's Partner Edge and HPE's Partner Ready programs, allowing partners to capitalize on the growing enterprise mobility market opportunity.

In the new program, channel partners are rewarded for cross-selling and up-selling wireless and switching solutions, which includes enhanced back-end margins and the ability to sell managed services, such as Aruba Central — the company’s cloud-based networking management solution — as well as Aruba ClearPass software.

“The biggest opportunity for partners is the services,” said Jim Harold, vice president of channels for Aruba. “We see partners being able to build out key services around our management platforms.”

Solution providers can make additional up-front discounts based on their certifications and specializations. The program also delivers predictable profitability via deal protection with low deal-size minimums and simple tools that calculate profitability at the front and back ends.

In addition, Aruba partners can join HPE’s Partner Ready for Services program and work alongside HPE’s team to offer services.

The new program, set to launch Nov. 1, has three tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. All partners are grandfathered into the program and retain their highest levels of membership. “So if a partner is at the Gold level certification for networking inside HPE’s Partner Ready program, but only Silver level on the Aruba side, they would come into the program at Gold,” said Harold. “So Gold discounts across all products.”