This week we chatted with Stephanie Dismore, vice president & general manager of HP Inc's Americas Commercial Channel. Dismore has served in numerous roles at HP during her nearly 20 year career in the channel, and was appointed channel chief for the Americas in February 2015.

TVG: During your time in the channel, what are some of the things you noticed that have changed the most?

Dismore: I think every year we see more and more of the market trending to a more contractual relationship versus a transactional. Whether it’s managed services or whether that's device-as-a-service or a subscription-based model, our goal is to make sure that we're equipping our channel partners with the tools and assets they need to make that shift to more of a contractual engagement. The bulk of our business today I would say is transactional, and transactional will always play a part in our portfolio, but we absolutely need to stay at the forefront of the shift into more of an outcome-based or utility model. I think it's critical that we provide assets, tools, and resources, and expertise to our channel community to help enable to make that transition.

TVG: What are the biggest pain points for resellers in trying to make this transition?

Listen to Dismore's answer below.

The VAR Guy: What would you say is the number one area a reseller needs to educate themselves in if they want to successfully pivot to this kind of model?

Dismore: I would say the most important thing as we look at pivoting to more of a contractual engagement is, ultimately, getting back to the customer and understanding the customer's pain points or desire for a future-based model. It all goes down to workflow. Number one, it's to make sure you have the right field team to engage with the customer to understand what the workflow is and what we're trying to solve. From there, we can design a solution to address the customer's needs, or create a more efficient work flow for that customer. In a nutshell, I would say having the right conversation with your sales team and engaging that customer to understand what they're looking for.

The VAR Guy: On the business model side, what is it that partners need to be prepared for?

Dismore: As much as we talk about contractual, I would say the transactional part of our business is still going to be very, very important. As we're working with VARs, I would say the most important thing is to know how to move in parallel paths, continue to manage our transactional business together while pivoting to contractual. I would say that can be challenging, because you're looking at two different business models within an organization. I would say that's part of the secret to the success, is to be able to move in parallel paths.

The VAR Guy: What is going on in the channel right now that gets you excited?

Listen to Dismore's answer below.

The VAR Guy: What's your biggest frustration with the channel?

Dismore: Where I believe we need to enable the channel to continue to win is in this evolving state of the omnichannel. As consumers, whether that's an IT decision-maker or a soccer mom at home, when they're looking for technology, they'll look for it where they want to buy. They want what they want, when they want, and they don't care who they're buying it from necessarily, whether that's somewhere online or whether that's from a sales person that they've built a trusting relationship with. It's creating this common place, and we need to make sure that our channel partners are prepared and ready to win in this new landscape.

The VAR Guy: If you could wave a magic wand and seamlessly, effortlessly implement one change in your program tomorrow, what would it be?

Listen to Dismore's answer below.

The VAR Guy: Looking to the future, how big of a part of the technology sector as a whole do you see the channel playing? Is it going to be growing, or shrinking, or can we not even really forecast that yet?

Dismore: For HP, I will tell you that we lead with the channel. In fact, just this past year, in our FY16, we started off the year with roughly 80 % of our business going through the channel, and we ended the year with roughly 87%. As we move forward, especially as we launch and take a bigger step into the A3 world, we're going to continue to partner with our current channel partners, and we're also going to expand our coverage with partners that have expertise in the A3 space. To answer that very quickly, I'd say they're going to continue to grow and become a bigger portion of the HP business.

The VAR Guy: Do you think that the tech world as a whole really understands the value of the channel?

Listen to Dismore's answer below.

The VAR Guy: I want to talk to you a little bit about your personal experience in the channel, specifically about being a woman. Can you talk to me a little bit about your experience in being a female and a female leader in the channel? Is it different now for women coming in than it was when you first entered 20 years ago?

Dismore: It's really an exciting time to be in the channel community, especially as a woman, especially at HP. HP has taken diversity and inclusion very seriously. In fact, they just launched a global diversity and inclusion board, because we believe the importance and significance of this with our company. I will tell you that being a woman in technology in the channel is a unique opportunity. When I say that, I say that in a very positive way. Women, in general, are different than men, right? My point of view on that is that we should embrace our differences, and we should use our differences as a strength to set us apart and lead with authenticity and with the passion that we have with who we are. As I work with my own organization and I work with general partners, I believe It's actually an advantage that I have, because I embrace that and I use that as a strength in working with different groups of people, whether they're external partners or whether they're my internal partners across my own organization or other functions within HP.