Buying a Unix server from HP is a direct transaction that's gone indirect. We recently got a message from HP 3000 software vendor STR Software, who also sells solutions for HP's Unix line. One of Ben Bruno's customers is struggling to get to the correct part of HP and upgrade an HP 9000 system.
"We are looking to replace our HP 9000 with a new HP system," the customer told Bruno. "Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get anyone at HP to talk with us on this upgrade. I’m looking for a sales team to evaluate our current solution and make a recommendation for the replacement/upgrade. I’m really hoping to stay with HP, but I just can’t seem to get to the 'right' person."
From the looks of this request, Bruno's customer isn't a large enough enterprise to merit HP's direct attention. This is one area where moving away from the HP 3000, and into HP's Unix systems, lands a customer in the realm of resellers. The resellers were moving most of the 3000 systems by the time HP stopped selling them in 2003. Direct vendor sales teams stick to large accounts.
The evaluation and recommendation is the dicey part of a Unix customer's needs, if they want the analysis from HP. The trick is for a customer to be of a size that HP wants direct contact with today. We've heard the current figure is a $4 million purchase to get direct HP attention -- otherwise, you're purchasing through the reseller channel reps. There are several HP hardware resellers, dealing in both old and new systems, 3000 and HP Unix, who can evaluate and quote. They provide the direct attention you would expect from a sales team of the old HP.