CDN Morning Briefing, July 13 – A one-on-one with Lenovo’s Steve Biondi

To keep up with the firehose of news and press releases, we’ve decided to deliver some extra news to you on the side. Some of it is an extension of our own reporting on the channel that didn’t make its way into a story, while others might be content we’ve bookmarked for later reading and thought of sharing with you. We’re doing a similar thing at IT World Canada check it out here. Missed last week’s morning briefing? Read it here. Today’s CDN Morning Briefing is delivered by ITWC editorial director Alex Coop. 

What you need to know, right now

It’s what you need to know right now – ’nuff said.


NOTE: This podcast was recorded prior to AWS’ update on TikTok over the weekend.



ITWC’s Digital Transformation Week begins today! Our annual summer conference becomes a week-long affair with four 60-minute sessions that bring together national thought leaders on our unique presentation platform. Each day will be devoted to a single critical aspect of digital transformation followed by the recognition of one of our Digital Transformation Award winners or a CIO of the Year Award winner. You can find more information and register for the event by clicking here!



A one-on-one with Lenovo’s Steve Biondi

Don’t be surprised to see Lenovo with a little pep in its step and a puffed out chest, says Steve Biondi, head of partnerships and channels, North America Data Center Group (DCG) at Lenovo.

“We have the best technology out there, full stop,” he told us during a recent interview. But nowadays, technology alone is not enough, he explains.

So in order to put the power back into Lenovo’s cherished partner ecosystem, Biondi has been hard at work since January doing three things: Fixing the Lenovo’s program to reward partners pushing the needle forward, accelerating growth, and getting more assertive with competitive bidding.

 Steve Biondi, head of partnerships and channels, North America Data Center Group (DCG) at Lenovo. 

Biondi is roughly six months into his new position with Lenovo DCG. In May, Lenovo said during its Q4 earnings call that DCG revenue experienced a 9 per cent year-on-year decline. Not the most promising figure – a pandemic certainly didn’t help – but Biondi is confident the partner program changes will translate to positive growth.

Biondi says when he first arrived at Lenovo, he was surprised to see a lot of the legwork to acquire new partners was done internally. He wondered why they weren’t leaning more on its distributors for that recruitment. “Distributors are brilliant at it. Why not give that job to them,” he explained while acknowledging the company’s strong partnerships with Synnex, Tech Data and Ingram Micro. “We’ve got great partnerships in Canada,” Biondi added.

It’s safe to say that some of Biondi’s efforts have already left a positive impact. According to reporting from Channel Futures, the number of platinum-level Lenovo DCG partners is up 45 per cent from the beginning of the most recent quarter.  

*A previous version of this article referred to partner portal changes. Lenovo has followed up with a statement:

“We have made the decision to postpone the availability date of our unified Lenovo Partner Hub while the team continues to work on delivering a best-in-class partner experience, where driving better business with our partners remains our number one priority. We will share the new launch date as soon as we can.”



In case you missed it

The recent news that we maybe didn’t get to yet, or it’s the news we’ve already reported on and feel is worth resurfacing.


Softchoice recently released a report about cloud adoption in North America. The Softchoice 2020 Cloud Migration & Adoption survey combines the insights of 150 senior IT professionals and cloud decision-makers in North America across multiple industries. The research was conducted in December 2019. Some of the report’s main takeaways:

  • The steady transition to the cloud will take place across businesses of all sizes, but far faster among smaller-sized businesses. Softchoice data says organizations with 100-249 employees were set to increase their total number of applications in the cloud by nearly 20 per cent within two years, by far the largest jump expected across the segments in its survey.
  • Surprise, surprise – regulatory and governance concerns top the list for reasons not to migrate applications to the cloud.
  • Those with 500-999 employees will see the second-largest jump in cloud adoption with an increase of 15.8 per cent.
  • When it comes to moving workloads to the cloud, costs associated with migration was the number one challenge. This was closely followed by getting approval from security teams. Softchoice says, “While security concerns are understandable, they might represent an outdated understanding of modern cloud capabilities. Public cloud platform providers invest billions each year to increase the data protection, loss prevention and remediation capabilities of their platforms. To combat the inertia, digital leaders should point to these advancements to overcome the perceived shortcomings of cloud platforms.”
  • Nearly 55 per cent of respondents said over the next year, investments will be focused on updating security processes and technology to support their move to the cloud.


CompTIA trickled out some information about its agenda for ChannelCon Online 2020. Things will kick off at 11 a.m. CDT Aug. 4 with the Global Perspectives Power Panel. Leaders from CompTIA member communities in Australia, New Zealand, Benelux, Canada, Singapore, and the United Kingdom will share perspectives on how their markets have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how tech firms are responding. The association’s seventh annual virtual conference is scheduled for Aug. 4-6.


ViewSonic recently announced updates to its Finch Club Partner Program. Those updates include:

  • New Virtual Product Demos: One-on-one online demos with a ViewSonic sales or technical support representative across all product categories and business sectors; customized demos for unique and specific cases and audiences.
  • SPIF Rewards and Rebates: Sales incentives and exclusive rebates to key partners.
  • Bid Registration: Enhanced margins and special pricing for registering opportunities.
  • Bounty Program: Financial incentives for partners who invite ViewSonic to strategic customer meetings or demonstrations.
  • Sales Enablement: Enhanced multimedia-based digital tools and customized content that present ViewSonic solutions to customers and prospects.

Earlier this year the ViewSonic released a seven-part video series highlighting best practices around collaboration and large interactive display products.


From IT World Canada – Dell releases new XPS Desktop computers [FULL STORY]

Dell has revamped its XPS Desktop with upgraded hardware. The new desktops, which Dell said it has redesigned from the ground up, features Intel’s 10th gen Core processors, including the 10-core Intel Core i9-10900K. The processor can be paired with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics card, or an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, as well as up to 128GB of DDR4 2,933MHz memory.


From IT Business Canada – New cyber insurance provider for SMBs moves into Canada [FULL STORY]

Small and medium-sized Canadian businesses have a new choice for cyber insurance after a U.S. based company called Coalition decided to offer its service north of the border.


From – Feds warn: MSPs being hacked—so stop your complacency [FULL STORY]

The U.S. Secret Service is warning MSPs to keep an eye out for targeted attacks against them.

Reddit recap

The MSP subreddit community is growing rapidly. It’s also a chatty bunch. With more than 76,000 members as of today, it’s worth taking a look at what they have to say every once in a while. Here are the past week’s top posts. Click on the posts to view additional responses.    

Best practices for what to monitor for your customers. from r/msp


Anyone have to fight clients on project bills from r/msp


Thank you to everyone in this sub from r/msp

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.