Lenovo Hones Channel Strategy to Grow Market Share

By Michael Vizard  |  Print this article Print
Lenovo channel strategy

Lenovo is aiming to bolster its stake in PCs, servers and the data center, and to drive $500 million in incremental revenue through the channel.

ORLANDO, Fla.—At the Lenovo Accelerate 2016 partner conference here, the company revealed that it is adding 2,000 sales people dedicated to selling data center products and services that the channel will fulfill. Lenovo also launched a small-business initiative aimed at drumming up new business for channel partners.

Lenovo Channel Chief Sammy Kinlaw said the company is committed to gaining a point of market share every quarter in the PC space, while significantly expanding its presence in the data center via partnerships with Nutanix, SAP, Juniper Networks and Red Hat. To that end, Lenovo this week announced that it is building a 2u instance of a hyperconverged appliance with Nutanix that is aimed at the small- and midsize-business (SMB) market.

"Our goal in the PC space is a 15 percent premium to the growth of the market," said Kinlaw. "When it comes to servers, we're obviously expecting double-digit growth."

A big part of that expectation is focused on the relatively small share of the server market that Lenovo has today. After acquiring the x86 business from IBM in late 2014, Lenovo has spent the last year absorbing that business.

This year, via its partnership with Nutanix, Lenovo expects to become a significant player in the fastest growing segment of the data center market, Kinlaw said. Key to that strategy is training thousands of PC resellers how to sell servers. The expectation is that many of the 30,000 Lenovo partners will be keenly interested in expanding the size and scope of their businesses to include more profitable data center products and services.

To that end, Lenovo has increased the margins it provides its partners for reselling services from 1.5 percent to 5 percent. In addition, Lenovo this week committed to working with some partners to enable them to deliver their own services.

Vicom Computer, a solution provider with a long history of selling IBM x86 servers, has remained committed to Lenovo, said Victor Verola, Vicom executive vice president. Vicom has already seen how Lenovo was able become a top player in the PC market, he said.

The partnership with Nutanix, added Verola, will make it easier to expand the Lenovo customer footprint. "We think Nutanix represents a way to drum up new opportunities," he said. "We're very excited about hyperconvergence."

All told, Lenovo is looking to drive $500 million in incremental revenue through the channel, Kinlaw said. A big part of that strategy is to put more dedicated Lenovo salespeople into the field to help drive business in market segments in which the company wants to extend its reach.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.