Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is having a problem with channel partners who are failing to pass on offers to customers leaving SMEs substantially out of pocket.
The situation appears to have been going on for some time and at first glance makes no sense at all. At the centre of this issue is an HP deal which has been running for 3 months. It’s your standard Buy One Get One free (BOGOF) deal with a slight twist:
- The products involved are all limited to a small number of common server configurations
- The HP partner gets to sell both servers
- The servers must be on the same invoice and ordered the same day
- Customers can claim for servers and for HP 3 year support
- HPE sends out a cheque to the customer after receiving a copy of the invoice and validating the sale with the partner
Looking at the conditions, there is no reason for HP Partners to not play fair. They are not being asked to bear the cost of the deal and they also get to keep their revenue from the sale of the server. As such, you’d expect them to be falling over themselves to inform SMEs of this deal. From our own research that is not the case with all bar one of the HPE Partners failing to disclose the deal to customers even when they talk to them and the customer says this is the first of several servers they are looking to replace.
In the interest of full disclosure we became aware of this when Synonym Ltd, the company that owns Enterprise Times purchased a HP BL160 from ServersDirectUK. After a less than helpful experience with the online ordering tool, they received a telephone call from the Servers Direct sales team to confirm the order and also retake the credit card details due to a “problem with the website.”
During the call it was made clear that there were several servers to be replaced and this was just the first. At no point were they offered the HPE BOGOF deal or even made aware of it. They only discovered it a few days later when looking at other HP Partners web sites. Checking the deal it was clear that the server ordered met the requirements which raised the question as to why no mention was made in several phone calls and emails to ServersDirectUK.
According to the HPE BOGOF deal the savings can be quite considerable although they were capped at a limited number of servers per customer. In the image below we show the range of servers, product codes, savings and the saving on HP 3 year package support.
How we went about validating the allegation
When we were told about this we set about visiting the websites of a number of HP Partners and then making calls to their sales teams. We specifically asked about the model we were looking for, if the model was in stock and mentioned that we were looking later on to replace other servers.
Only ONE Partner provided any information on the BOGOF deal and they did this both on the website as you looked at the server by directing you to the deal and on the subsequent phone call to the sales team. By searching the ServersDirectUK site there was a mention of the deal but it was not linked to the order process and at no point did the sales team mention it in a call.
Among the HPE partners we talked to we discovered the following:
- ServersPlus – http://www.serversplus.com/servers/rack_servers/hp_rack_servers/769503-b21 – No information at all
- Insight UK – http://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/productinfo/servers/0004144887 – Click on the cash back and you then have to go to a different page where it is the second item. (http://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/productinfo/servers/0004144887#product-promotions-tab)
- ServersDirectUK -http://www.serversdirect.co.uk/Hewlett_Packard_HP_Proliant_DL160_Gen_9_E5-2603v3_1.6GHz_6_Core_1x8GB_NHP_L_783361-425/version.asp?PID=2095 – no details here but if you spend time browsing the site you can find the November deals page and then have to trawl through it to find the BOGOF deal
- ServerTek – http://www.servertek.co.uk/hp-proliant-dl160-gen9-e5-2603-v3-1-6ghz-8gb-r-b140i-4lff-550w-g9-server.html – no mention at all
- eBuyer – http://www.ebuyer.com/664655-hp-proliant-dl160-gen9-entry-xeon-e5-2603v3-1-6-ghz-8gb-1u-rack-769503-b21 – no mention of the deal at all
- Misco – http://www.misco.co.uk/product/SC1601730/HP-ProLiant-DL160-Gen9-Server-rack-mountable-1U-2-way-1-x-Xeon-E5-2609V3-1-9-GHz-RAM-8?fromProductList=Search+result – no mention of the deal at all
We went back to ServersDirectUK emailing the sales representative who sold the machine to Synonym Ltd and also tried to contact James Rigg, Sales and Customer Services Director at Buy It Direct, the parent company of ServersDirectUK.
The switchboard were unable to contact us with any of the directors or give us their email addresses. When we tried to contact their PR team we were put through to a voice mail on a premium rate line asking us to email them our marketing proposal. We then took the decision that if we couldn’t contact Rigg via the company we would email him through LinkedIn. Disappointingly there has been no response despite allowing several days to come back to us.