Lenovo Exec Looks to the Channel's Mobile Computing Future
A cursory examination of the financial results of some PC manufacturers might lead someone to conclude that the whole space is in a free fall. Yet vendors such as Lenovo are putting up strong gains that include a 22 percent jump in net income and 9 percent jump in revenue in the fiscal first quarter.
Those gains are not only being driven by increased demand for Lenovo products across the globe, but also gains in a North America market where the Lenovo product portfolio is still limited to PCs and servers, according to Chris Frey, Lenovo channel chief for North America.
Lenovo remains committed to bringing smartphones and a broader range of tablet computing devices to the U.S. market—which, in turn, will provide additional opportunities for the channel regardless of who actually paid for the device, Frey said.
"It's not so much about the consumerization of IT but rather the democratization," said Jack Gold, principal of the IT research firm J. Gold Associates. "A lot more decisions are being driven by line-of-business people."
As the number of devices per user proliferates, managing those devices becomes a much bigger IT challenge. Selling PCs and mobile computing devices has always been problematic for the channel. Profit margins on those classes of devices are razor-thin.
Yet once channel partners start to think beyond the box, the opportunities associated with mobile computing start to increase dramatically, Frey said. In addition to managing all those devices, channel partners should also increasingly look to the cloud to sell additional services that can all be readily consumed via a mobile computing device, he said.
Lenovo is still committed to making sure partners turn a profit on hardware, but like most areas where there is a lot of competition, a balance needs to be struck, Frey said. The good news is that from a channel perspective all those mobile computing devices are rapidly shaping up to be a means to a solidly profitable end.
"There's a balance between growing your top line and maintaining your bottom line," said Frey. "We're very committed to be simple, predictable, consistent and profitable."
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.