HP Inc. is launching a new program to help solution providers with embracing diversity and sustainability initiatives within their businesses, as part of the company’s Amplify partner program.
The new HP Amplify Impact program is free for Amplify partners and seeks to offer learning opportunities on diversity and sustainability, including around issues such as climate change, social justice and the digital divide.
Crucially, Amplify Impact also aims to show partners how they can differentiate themselves in the market by demonstrating their values--allowing them to land new business and talent.
“We want to open up their minds about what can be done and what are the different pillars of a sustainability strategy and of a people strategy that embraces diversity,” said Christoph Schell, chief commercial officer at HP, in an interview with CRN. “But then we also want to educate them about how to use it to their advantage, how to differentiate in the marketplace--how to win business because of having thought leadership on these topics.”
The Amplify Impact program is voluntary, and HP is hoping to enroll half of Amplify partners into the program by 2025.
The move follows efforts at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based PC and printer giant to double down on its diversity and sustainability initiatives--including around issues such as hiring from underrepresented communities, reducing single-use plastic packaging and increasing recycled plastic. The sustainable impact initiatives at HP were a differentiator in helping the company win US$1.63 billion worth of new revenue opportunities in 2019, HP reported in its latest Sustainable Impact Report--up 69 percent from 2018.
Ultimately, with Amplify Impact, “we are not approaching it with goals, we’re not approaching it with scorecards, we’re not approaching it with certification,” Schell said. “We want to teach them and then see what they embrace.”
Who Can Take Part
The Amplify Impact program is open to all Amplify partners, both in the base Synergy tier and the upper Power tier, though the program is not available in all countries to start.
Solution providers “don’t have to do anything other than show interest that they want to learn what this can be all about,” Schell said. “And then they have to be in a certain geographic location right now, because we are not rolling it out immediately globally. We’re doing Asia a little bit later. But that’s really it. There is no minimum revenue goal or anything like that … If you have any interest to learn about HP’s thinking and our capabilities across sustainability, we will rope you in and we will share that with you. It’s very much a one-on-one engagement.”
Amplify Impact will split partners into two tracks. The Catalyst track is for solution providers that have already made some progress on sustainability. Those partners will take part in a sustainability assessment and will also report sales opportunities, HP said. The Catalyst track is open initially in 19 countries including the U.S. and Canada.
The second track, Changemaker, is meant for solution providers that don’t have a sustainability plan yet but are committed to investing in one, HP said.
“HP will closely collaborate with and support Changemaker members in the development of a long-term sustainability plan which will put them on a path to be recognized as a business that is focused on creating meaningful change,” the company said.
The Changemaker track is available initially in seven countries including Canada, as well as for “select partners” in the U.S.
Amplify Impact will provide partners with access to training as well as sales tools and marketing assets, HP said. The trainings will include online videos as well as live online trainings, Schell said.
However, for partners that show a strong commitment, there will also be one-on-one learning opportunities through engaging with the solution provider’s partner business manager, he said.
“Having a one-on-one engagement with HP and tailoring the actions that we take to your specific situation are super important. This is where our business managers come in and having one-on-one engagements here is really key,” Schell said. “Because not every partner is at the same level from a commitment point of view, but also from a journey point of view.”
Additionally, “I also think that we can learn a lot from our partners. I want that feedback to come back into HP as well. And I don’t get that if they only watch videos,” Schell said. “So there is a generalist engagement, but if we really feel that a partner shows interest and shows commitment, then we’ll make this more one-on-one.”
A Differentiator In The Market
First and foremost, HP is launching the Amplify Impact initiative “because it’s the right thing to do,” Schell said.
But there are three other stakeholders that should be kept in mind as solution providers seek to engage--and ultimately differentiate--around diversity and sustainability, he said.
“It’s really important for customers. The amount of deals that are out there in the RFP/RFQ process that have a chapter on sustainability and on diversity is very much increasing, Schell said. “And so it becomes a differentiator for us as a brand--but also a differentiator for our go-to-market partners if they have values and execution strategies that they can share.”
There’s also an opportunity to differentiate around attracting talent, he said.
“I think particularly with millennials, having a value-based story and strategy differentiates you as an employer and makes you a more attractive employer,” Schell said.
Additionally, for companies that have shareholders, it’s worth noting that “this has become a very important topic” for some shareholders, he said.
Overall, “it’s very top of mind across employees, customers and shareholders,” Schell said.
What Partners Can Learn
Solution providers who take part in Amplify Impact will be able to increase their learning on topics such as setting up a sustainable value chain and engaging with talent and customers around your sustainability strategy, Schell said.
In terms of setting up a sustainable value chain, areas covered might include bringing a sustainability mentality to warehousing, logistics and transportation, he said.
“When you think about [those areas], what are the things that come to mind? How do you select your vendors? What are the things to pay attention to? Where is the vendor manufacturing, how is it manufacturing, how are they shipping to you? Have you looked at the packaging that they use? What’s the business model that a vendor is engaging with you?” Schell said.
Additionally, “is it a business model where we go into subscriptions into contractual relationships where we take care of the recycling, for example? Can you opt into this recycling? That’s a big topic on the sustainability side,” he said. “The connection between having a sustainable strategy and having business models that support it is very important.”
In terms of engaging with talent, “how do you articulate being a sustainable company? How do you market yourself as one? How can you pick that talent? What is your pitch?” Schell said.
And for interfacing with customers, “how do you present all of this to the customer? How do you differentiate when you have to pitch to a customer, when you have to answer to an RFP or RFQ? How do you stand out because of your sustainability strategy or your people strategy? How do you package that? And how would you help a customer measure that?” Schell said.
Ultimately, “what we see more and more is that many executive leadership teams at customers are measured on the impact that they have on sustainability and diversity and inclusion. And very often they ask for help from the suppliers to show year on year progress,” Schell said. “As a channel partner, how can you help an end customer to bring those stories and those data points together?”