As much as the consumerization of IT presents an opportunity for the channel, it also presents a challenge. Solution providers have to navigate a growing sea of smartphones, tablets and operating systems before determining which would be the best-fit solution for their clients.
But Lenovo, according to the message it delivered to partners at UBM Channel's XChange 2013 event, taking place this week in Washington, D.C., wants to change all that.
"The old sales cycle was easy. You sold 10 computers, [and] 10 end users got the exact same computer," said Stephen Miller, brand ambassador at Lenovo, speaking to solution providers at a Tech Symposium session Monday. "Now it's difficult. Everybody wants a different device."
Miller said Lenovo is helping partners overcome these hurdles with a new Combat Kit, or multiunit demo kit, hosting a variety of Lenovo computing devices that partners can buy and hand off to end users, allowing them to decide for themselves which Lenovo device would best fit their needs.
"You have confusion around what to sell, and end users don't know what to buy because of the paradox of choice," Miller said. "Help them through this confusion. Let them choose the device that works best for them."
According to Miller, the Combat Kit includes a range of Lenovo ThinkPad devices, including a ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad Helix, ThinkPad Twist and a ThinkPad Tablet 2. "Let your end users touch them, and then you can sell the device that they choose," Miller said.
Pete Zarras, President and CEO of CloudStrategies, a Cedar Knolls, N.J.-based solution provider, described his business as being "born in the cloud," with a laser focus on software and cloud services, rather than hardware. But the company just recently signed on as a Lenovo partner, Zarras told CRN, largely because of the strength of Lenovo's consumerization strategy.
"We're intrigued about the space and very attracted to Lenovo's approach to the marketplace, and the consumerization they talked about today was awesome," Zarras said. "We did sign up to be a new Lenovo reseller a few months ago, thinking that it would be a good way for us to extend options and offerings to our historically cloud-based customers that need to use devices."
Miller said there is a waiting list for the kit, but still urged partners to sign up.
"Our job is to put the world's best hardware in your hands so that you can build trust with your customers," he said.
PUBLISHED AUG. 19, 2013