Lenovo moves into the server market, with a bang

Las Vegas – Lenovo to offer servers to the channel. That was the big news coming out of the hardware vendor’s Accelerate 2012 Partner Conference, held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

The channel, however, was a bit confused over the announcement. Hasn’t Lenovo always sold servers? Well, the short answer is yes. Lenovo has sold servers to a small segment of the market over the past couple of years. It’s even smaller in the Canadian market. What’s different about today’s announcement is that Lenovo has decided it’s time to fully commit the company to the server market.

To address the server market head-on, Lenovo created an Enterprise Systems Group (ESG) and tasked Kevin Nelson to be its executive director. ESG will exist strictly to help channel partners focus on selling business products such as the ThinkServer and ThinkStation. ESG will also have product managers and a team of 30 to help service its business partner and customers. The Lenovo ESG team will handle partner support, inventory concerns, and have been mandated to help business partners sell servers and workstations profitably.

In order to do this, Lenovo has developed a three-part go-to-market approach:

First, it introduced new products: Lenovo’s ThinkStation E31 is an entry-level workstation, available as either a mini–tower or small form factor (SFF). Intel’s Xeon Processor E3, enhanced memory and graphics capabilities is at the heart of the units.

ThinkServer RD530 and RD630 rack servers, which comes in either 1U (RD530) or 2U (RD630) configurations. These products target the “sweet spot” according to Dave Stephens, director of sales, Reseller Channel for Lenovo Canada.

The ThinkServer RD530 and RD630 will be available in mid-June, and prices start at $2,399 and $2,699, respectively. ThinkStation prices start at $629.

While they offered servers in the past, these products enable channel partners to provide a complete solution, ranging from notebooks, desktops, workstations to servers, Stephens added.

Second, along with the newly updated product portfolio, Lenovo will be streamlined its partner program. It is about simplicity, speed, and agility, to help business partners accelerate their businesses,” Stephens said.

Lenovo has a simply goal in mind with this and that is to help the channel sell its products. This will include a sales incentive SPIF program that literally puts money into its partner’s sales people as a bonus to encourage them to move product. One server a week, or one server a month, per salesperson, is what Tom Looney, vice president and general manager of Lenovo North America is asking for from its channel partners at conference, which wraps up today.

In addition to the extra support staff, Lenovo has added more resources such as self-serving marketing materials to its online Partner Network portal. There will also be more marketing material in French for the Quebec-area channel partners. The portal will also feature logos, sales literature, and product information sheets.

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