Published: May 2nd, 2017

Coming out of its annual Accelerate conference, Lenovo is embarking on a North American channel strategy that will have a big emphasis on the Canadian market.

The event in Orlando, Fla., broke new records for Lenovo as more than 200 channel partners were in attendance to hear Lenovo’s new market strategy on data centres. Colin McIsaac, the managing director for Lenovo Canada, told CDN the channel is in line to have a breakout year with Lenovo in the data centre.

McIsaac said the philosophy has changed at Lenovo and the vendor isn’t only about selling hardware. Instead Lenovo is working towards building out its solutions trying to create value for end users all through channel partners.

Colin McIsaac

“What we are trying to create is more profitable outcomes for the channel,” he added.

With that McIsaac outlined a four-pillar strategy for the channel.

  1. Accelerating end user sales: Part of that growth narrative is to get closer to the customer. Lenovo has done a lot of that work already in Canada by re-segmenting the organization to have more efficient coverage in the larger account business area, SMB (which is 25 of the total PC market), and then consumer. New resources include more headcount, new strategy and focus. Globally, Lenovo Canada, has received support around these three segments.
  1. Continue to grow out verticals solutions and services: Lenovo has a new end-to-end focus and that means more investment in high growth verticals that produce a good return such as SMB especially in the small business side along with healthcare.
  1. Ongoing focus on profit: The market is consolidating – and in some ways contracting too – and the Canadian market did not lose any growth, but it did increase in competition in PCs. Lenovo will be looking at other profit pools to increase the value to customer like in workstations, professional workstations for special market segments such as oil and gas, media and entertainment, and finance. These solutions will be packaged with software to become more profitable for the channel. Services from the channel are expect to build out the portfolio. New around-the-box services such as end-of-life, broader tech lifecycle services, and automated deployment are also planned to leverage partner services. Lenovo also wants to sign up partners onto MSP contracts that go beyond warranties. Up sell and cross sell, take someone from a $500 device to something higher.
  1. Optimize routes to market: Investing in channel partners that invest in Lenovo with a preferred relationship and currently there are 35 solution providers that qualified for that status today. Looking to build on that for 2017 with Platinum and Gold tiers.

Lenovo has also made an alliance partnership at Accelerate with Pivot3, a hyper converged vendor that is strong in video and streaming media to build on its value proposition with data centres. The company also furthered its alliance with another hyper converged player in Nutanix.

“We are seeing changes in the data centre business. It’s a broader transformation opportunity. This is not a monolith buy. It’s not a matter of ‘I install it and don’t make a decision on it again for many years’. This is workload and app specific and we think this can be a good alternative for solution providers to the norm in data centres,” McIsaac said.