Channel Plays Big Part in Lenovo Success Story
When you look at Lenovo, it's hard to point to one single thing that is driving its recent string of successes, except for that fact that its channel partners are playing a major role in making it happen.
In a PC market that is supposedly declining, Lenovo continues to gain share both in North America and around the globe. Jay Parker, president of North America operations for Lenovo, said much of that success come from simply concentrating on channel fundamentals, including making sure there is enough margin available for both Lenovo and its channel partners to be profitable selling hardware.
Looking forward, the outlook for Lenovo PC sales remains bright, Parker said. In the wake of Microsoft's pulling free support for Windows XP, sales of notebooks, desktops and workstations have increased. In addition, as the economy continues to recover, Lenovo expects to see an overall uptick in PC sales in the months ahead, according to Parker.
Add into that, a growing tablet PC business that is focused primarily on Windows and a pending move in the smartphone space once its acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google is approved, and Parker said the upside for Lenovo PC partners is fairly substantial.
But it doesn't stop there. Lenovo has also been increasing its share of the server and storage business. Most of its success has come at the low end of the server market in the form of 1U units. Lenovo, however, is gearing up to launch both an "attack the rack" program aimed at going after the 2U server market where the lion's share on the server market is today, and is adding higher-end x86 servers to its portfolio once regulators approve the acquisition of IBM's x86 server business .
Not content to confine its activity to servers, Lenovo has also incorporated technologies from EMC in a series of storage offerings designed to complement its small- and midsize- business (SMB) server offerings.
When you add it all up, it was pretty clear this week at the Lenovo Accelerate Partner 2014 conference that there's a significant amount of upside opportunity surrounding Lenovo that rival vendors are going to have a hard time matching, especially in the SMB segment. It may take another year for all the elements of the Lenovo strategy to come together, but in the meantime, there's enough channel momentum these days to make Lenovo much more than a manufacturer of some well-regarded ThinkPad notebooks.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.