"We're doing this because we want to win."
That was HP UK and Ireland managing director George Brasher's pithy response to why HP is one of 90 companies to have already signed the Tech Talent Charter - an employer-led initiative to encourage increased workforce diversity and progress in the UK.
More than joining the conversation on diversity, Brasher is insistent that it is part of his objective to make HP a byword for innovation.
"Our entire strategy is built on innovation and the only way we can have that innovation in the market is by having a diverse set of people and a diverse set of opinions as you make your products and services. I think the Tech Talent Charter is so important because it is a demonstrable statement to the industry and to the UK that we're committed to this," he said.
"This is good for business...There's nothing like money and revenues being at risk for sharpening focus."
Brasher told CRN that it's a conversation he is having with HP's channel partners, as part of the vendor's commitment to helping firms position themselves "to win".
"We've had a great year, in both print and PC, and that's completely down to our commitment to the channel. We were very proactive and assertive two years ago when we separated, that we wanted to move our business 10 points with the channel and that's essentially what we've done."
Indeed, last month HP's G4 results revealed that it is continuing to outrun HPE.
HP Inc's PC business saw double-digit growth in sales at 13 per cent to $9.1bn (£6.8bn), while its printing business hit net revenues of $4.9bn, up seven per cent year on year.
Brasher said some of this success was driven by HP's strategy of "always being on the lookout to recruit new resellers".
"An example on the print side is part of our purchase of Samsung's printing business," he said.
"It gives us this great IP portfolio, and great channel people. We said we'd go out and recruit new resellers. So not only have we worked with our existing resellers to drive our growth, we've recruited 25 new resellers to drive our MPS business and we've spent a lot of the last year really focusing on and nurturing that relationship to have that success there."
When asked what he thinks resellers should invest in to increase their contribution to driving British productivity, Brasher added:
"You've got to start with the end customer and every day we see that customers are changing how they want to buy. As an example look at people buying as a service, rather than transactionally. Not just in the printer space but also the PC space, just like with cloud and other technologies. The resellers we're working with now are figuring out how they go from their transactional model of selling to a contractional model. If you provide that extra value, that is real innovation that the channel can provide."
Brasher also highlighted the opportunities of artificial intelligence analysing user data to better anticipate demand, as another market trend that partners should focus on.
"You want to be able to take that broad swathe of data, characterise your users into different buckets and then make sure you have the right product for them, whether that's a product that's over or under spec.
"If you look at what our resellers do, a lot of times they're helping to service a broad range of products, whether that's a datacentre or a printer or a PC fleet. If you have a view of how those computing devices are operating, then for customer A, instead of saying, 'I need to take him a new battery to him', wouldn't it be great if you could say instead 'I can see how many other users at that same site are going to have the same issues in the next two weeks'?
"Then, instead of sending someone out with one battery you can send eight batteries, and you have the ability to lower the service cost in a more productive way."
As a third suggestion, Brasher called on tech firms to get more actively involved in nurturing the pipeline of up-and-coming digital talent.
Earlier this year, HP announced the expansion of the number of its education vertical resellers involved in its Ripple Effect grant campaign.
The scheme gives resellers £20,000 to grant to schools that buy HP tech though them.
"We view STEM learning as critical because it's very clear that the skills gap is going to grow and we must stimulate a change to that. Our goal with the Ripple Effect campaign is to create a pull to talk about the great opportunities to work in the tech industry," said Brasher.
"And this was also a channel event, with us rewarding our partners [Misco, Softcat, XMA and Academia] who have also been driving it.
"We will have greater success as a company developing the next generation of both talent and technology with our partners in these ways in the mid-market and SME space and in the education vertical."
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