LAS VEGAS – Lenovo is on a journey of putting the customer first, and with 85 per cent of its business based in the channel, it is relying on partners to get the job done.
The Chinese company used its sixth annual Accelerate 2018 conference in Las Vegas from May 7-9 to engage with its partners and promote its wide variety of products and services.
“We have such a broad portfolio of customer solutions and our partners get a lot of value from them,” Stefan Bockhop, executive director of the data centre group channel in North America, told CDN. “Our partners don’t just have a hammer, they have the full toolbox. They can bring the right Lenovo solution to the right customer and they do a really good job of understanding the customer’s pain point before trying to solve it.”
The event showcased a number of new products, such as new additions to its ThinkCentre Desktops and Tiny PCs lineups, as well as Lenovo’s foray into virtual workspaces and virtual reality.
It also boasted more than 250 Canadian partners – about a quarter of the 1,200 attendees – and Lenovo’s Canadian leaders were there to listen and recommit. Lenovo Canada general manager Colin McIsaac pinpointed five key areas of focus in Canada:
- Devices – “The device matter again,” he pointed out. “It’s become personal again and that’s a big chance in IT. There used to be one standard product for everyone and employees got it whether they liked it or not, but the bring-your-own-device movement has changed that.”
- Higher price sells – “We’re seeing a shift into higher price sells because our expansive portfolio of solutions deliver more value than our competitors. Our partnerships with companies like Microsoft add to that,” McIsaac said.
- Security – “Security is still vey important to us, especially in the current ecosystem with cyber threats increasing,” he explained.
- Data centres – “Data centres need to be agile and high performing to keep up with the cloud, and we’re seeing a lot of success with our hyperconverged infrastructure. Our partners also need to be more agile, so we’ve introduced a faster pricing system so customers can get quotes in hours instead of days,” Bockhop added.
- Digital workspaces – “Employers are allowing their employees to work in more flexible environments over the last few years and for us, that’s just deeper collaboration. We’re going to bring out more meeting space management tools,” McIsaac said.
The results of CDN’s most recent Top 100 Solution Provider survey show that more than half of Canadian solution providers sell Lenovo computing products and just less than 50 per cent sell the company’s servers – putting it in the top three of each category. Lenovo’s Chris Fabes, national director of channel sales in Canada, jokingly said “paranoia” has helped them stay on top, but more seriously added that the company’s “quality, reliability, innovation, and consistency” has been the secret formula.
“We drive a certain level of consistency with the offerings we bring to market,” Fabes highlighted. “We also have consistency around the resources and relationships we have in the market too. Our partners and customers know that when they do business with Lenovo, they’re getting great products and services. That’s mixed with a little bit of paranoia, maybe, because we never settle and we’re constantly trying to improve.”
Bockhop continued, “We’re also flexible and willing to listen to our partners advice and then make any necessary changes quickly. We have to think in terms of ‘that’s not working anymore, why are we doing it?’ They also often ask for our advice because they trust us and really, we’re in this together. We both want to succeed.”