Lenovo Canada president wants to increase channel business significantlyHeather Ross is very guarded these days. She has to be. As the president of Lenovo Canada she knows how many treasures, in the form of new products, there are at the company’s headquarters in China.
Some she says will blow consumers minds away, but for now it is only ThinkPads and ThinkCentre products. She wants to make sure that all these new products are feasible for the Canadian market and the channel.
It is in the channel where Ross will have some work to do. Currently, indirect sales account for 65 per cent of Lenovo’s total sales. Ross realizes that has to increase dramatically if the subsidiary wants to make its mark in the small-to mid-sized market in Canada.
Recently, CDN met with Ross in New York City. The following is an edited transcript.

CDN: Is Lenovo Canada going to be a different looking company in the next few years from what it was as IBM’s PC division?

Heather Ross: In what sense?

CDN: Well, you may bring out newer, different products than IBM had. Also, in terms of product breath IBM was the weak sister to HP or even Dell.

Ross: We migrated from IBM. So the PC division in Canada moved over to Lenovo and that is a new entity. We are definitely focused on growth. We are looking to grow this business. We are not looking to play the game. We are looking to win the game. As a result, we are currently looking at how we best serve our customer set with ThinkPads and ThinkCentre products and the ThinkVantage technology, but we are also looking for new opportunities — whether that is expanding the portfolio to service our existing customers or going after new market segments that we haven’t served up until now.

CDN: What are those new market segments?

Ross: Well, we can go deeper into the mid-market customers, get into the small business area. We can also look at the many niche markets and a broader portfolio that could potentially service the consumer market.

CDN: What will you want to see from your business partners going forward?

Ross: Certainly continued partnership. We are in this market place to grow this marketplace. We have strong relationships in the business partner community. And we will continue to foster those relationships and grow it going forward.

CDN: Are you comfortable with the base of partners you have or are you looking to grow it dramatically?

Ross: We are very comfortable with the base of partners we have today. But as market opportunities present themselves we will be looking at deepening those relationships and growing relationships with the channel overall.

CDN: Would you like your business partners to champion the Lenovo brand? Do you want them to promote it on the street especially to the SMB? Or is that something you want to keep on your shoulders?

Ross: Well, SMB clearly is critical for us in Canada. Canada is a big country with lots of opportunity and SMB is a big part of that. We want to service that market place and we want to do it with our business partners. We have a clear intention to expand in the SMB and mid-market and we want to do it with the extended network of partners we have today.

CDN: You did not answer my question.

Ross: I’m sorry, I thought I did.

CDN: Do you want partners to champion your brand?

Ross: Yes absolutely. Partners are very much a part of that strategy in SMB and to support any new product portfolios we are bringing into the country.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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