Lenovo has its eye on rapid growth for its channel and will make substantial investments in partners who can open innovative routes to market with new customers, according to the company's North American channel chief, Sammy Kinlaw.
The Chinese PC maker is using channel partners to hone in on areas like the client and data center segments, as well as vertical markets. "We are hyperfocused on growth," Kinlaw said XChange Solution Provider 2017, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company. "We're focusing on the client, data center, the premium markets, and key verticals for growth … services are also important for channel partners to make additional money, like asset tagging and imaging."
Kinlaw said that Lenovo's vertical market focus would be a key part of its strategy. The company currently focuses in on several verticals, such as healthcare, higher education, and the SMB space. Kinlaw said its channel accelerated in markets like federal, corporate, public, and healthcare over the past year.
Over the past few months, Lenovo has made various changes to its partner program to spur growth. On the Data Center front, Lenovo has organized its Data Center Group partners into tiers for the first time as the company tries to incent partners to push data center solutions.
The company is also building up its channel program with more incentives like top seller rebates and services, volume delegation, Lenovo leads, and partner credits.
In the coming year, Lenovo will continue its channel push by looking to push its "One Lenovo" effort, which focuses on a tighter alignment and deeper engagement with partners, said Kinlaw. As part of this initiative, the company hopes to differentiate solutions and products, create new routes to markets, and improve its overall customer experience.
"Lenovo is going in the right direction and taking our feedback to help us grow our market," said David Vu, marketing director at Gravity Networks, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based solution provider and Lenovo partner. "We particularly like Lenovo's efforts around its email feedback system; it’s a more structured way for us to give collaborate with them."
Vu also cheered Lenovo's efforts in doubling down on vertical markets. Gravity Networks plays in several key areas, including healthcare and manufacturing, and as the company continues to focus on new markets, like litigation, he said Lenovo's vertical focus is critical. "It's a great relationship for helping us grow to new markets," he said.