Lenovo Unveils New Service Provider ProgramBy Gina Roos | Posted 2015-01-28 Email Print
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Lenovo's first partner program for cloud and managed service providers seeks to address three core issues: pricing, business development and technical support.
Lenovo rolled out its first partner program for cloud and managed service providers (MSPs) following the acquisition of the IBM System x server business. The Lenovo Service Provider Program offers competitive prices, unique financing plans and a diverse product portfolio.
Lenovo is launching the program first in North America and in other regions over the next six months. The program will be tailored to each region.
The acquisition of IBM's x86 server business—announced early last year and completed in most regions starting last fall—provided Lenovo with a lever to drive growth by capitalizing on infrastructure opportunities, said Mark McInnis, Lenovo's managing director, cloud/managed service providers, North America. The new partner program offers "the capability to supply MSPs with leading technologies, sales and technical support and other benefits through dedicated programs."
Since Lenovo acquired the IBM server business, it has been primarily focused on growth, added McInnis. "If you look inside the x86 market, the service provider segment is growing in the double digits, and we currently have it roughly sized at $4 billion in North America."
After spending the last seven to eight months getting feedback from various stakeholders in the x86 service segment, including partners, service providers and clients, Lenovo developed a program that focuses on aggressive price points in addition to flexible and creative financing, business development funding, and access to technical talent and resources.
The new program is designed to help partners meet several challenges around cloud technologies, including enabling flexible infrastructure integration, reducing IT sprawl and expenses, and enhancing service quality for customers. Services and support include access to technology and lower acquisition costs to increase IT availability. Qualified provider enrollees will be eligible to purchase systems at a discount directly from distributors.
Lenovo also provides several financial options designed to improve profitability and cash flow. This includes the company's Kickstart program that allows service providers to defer payments for up to 120 days, and its Rent & Grow program, a utility-based pricing model, which mirrors IT payments to usage. Both programs are subject to credit eligibility. A trade-in program is also available to help recover capital from currently installed assets.
Deferred financing is important because service providers don't necessarily have all the clients they need to generate the revenue that allows them to pay for the infrastructure, explained McInnis. "Hopefully, this will afford them the opportunity to bring the infrastructure in, get it set up in their environment, and then they have 120 days to on-board customers, and get the revenue generated before they have to pay financing."
The Rent and Grow program is more of a time-to-value offering, said McInnis. "The utility-based pricing model allows them to buy infrastructure to support their needs into the future but only pay for the infrastructure they are going to use. It allows them to have the infrastructure in their data center ready to go so when they sign clients they can quickly on-board them and get revenue generation relatively quickly."
Partners also have access to dedicated Express and FlexPac offerings and receive special rate incentives on Enterprise Solutions Services. The MSP-dedicated FlexPac offerings are available today with MSP-dedicated Express solutions available in the future. The dedicated Express and FlexPac offerings will only be available to eligible North American service providers.
Lenovo also provides partners with business development funds to invest in company growth, including lead generation, joint events and marketing campaigns. They also receive Lenovo x86 vouchers that may be used for additional training and certifications to improve technical skills. Technical salespeople also work hand-in-hand with sales representatives to ensure that there is technical expertise on the ground working with the MSPs as part of the sales process.
Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.