Looking To Take the Next Step, Lenovo Blurs Lines Between Consumer And Commercial Devices


CRN: So BYOD is having a real effect, then?

Parker: It's definitely impacted the way computers are purchased, but I'll say that there are really not that many customers out there that we've seen that have really gone to a BYOD policy. But the IT departments are adapting so they can still have some control over those products, and part of that adaptation is opening up to products that are a little more consumer-friendly and are actually desired by the end users.

CRN: What about Windows 8? Have you seen a tangible effect yet from Windows 8.1?

Parker: I've seen data -- it's under NDA right now so I can't share it yet -- that shows customer satisfaction with the operating system improved dramatically with 8.1. That has not yet translated to a significantly different sales trend. But I think that as the word gets out and you have more 8.1 users, I do believe it will start to have a positive effect on sales. So overall I'd say it's moving in a positive direction, but it has not caused a dramatic change in the market.

CRN: Earlier this year Lenovo introduced a training push around touch-screen systems in the enterprise. Was the training successful, and have you seen a noticeable uptick in touch-screen-based PCs?

Parker: It has been successful, but it's been slower than what we wanted. The end users clearly want touch, and I think it's good for our industry. I've said this before -- for the first time in a decade, there is a reason to upgrade your computer for something besides a faster processor, bigger hard drive or larger screen. It's a whole new way to use these devices that we haven't been able to talk about in a really long time. And it's a lot easier and more intuitive to use. But I think the IT community is struggling a little bit with how to transition and how fast to do so. So we're making progress with partners, but it's slow and steady.

CRN: Is it reluctance from the channel partner or reluctance from the client?

Parker: We haven't had pushback or apprehension from the channel itself. As a matter of fact, for our Lenovo Combat Kits, we've never seen such excitement for a demo or marketing program before. We have to keep ordering more and more. There are a lot of customers out there touching these devices, so the uptick around customers willing to make that leap to touch has been positive, but it's not as fast as what we'd like. That will happen, and we know it will. And we want to be on the forefront of that transition to touch.

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