2012 Channel Champions: Tablets

Solution providers voted Lenovo's tablets as being the highest-performing and most secure, but where the Beijing-based company really beat out its competitors was in the channel support arena. Lenovo swept all the criteria in this area, and did particularly well in the criteria of postsales support, and evaluation and demo equipment policies. Voters also awarded the company an overall win in the financial factors subcategory, where it fell short only to Acer in the competitive pricing criteria.

Lenovo's Wes Towns, director of North American ThinkPad tablet product marketing, said that it's the longevity and consistency of Lenovo's channel program that affords partners success.

"Our channel team just really strives to be consistent, predictable and simple," Towns said. "So if you go ask a channel partner about Lenovo's programs, most partners know about them because they have been stable for years." The company's demo program, for instance, is 20 years old, he said.

Lenovo's assignment of a dedicated channel manager to each partner account is one of the highlights of its channel program, said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, an Ontario-based solution provider. The manager helps ensure partners' voices are heard and that needs are met quickly. Lenovo's financial offerings, such as its TopSeller and New Customer Bonus programs, also help Xylotek be "ultracompetitive," said Grosfield.

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"Lenovo continues to raise the bar when it comes to its product offerings, quality of manufacturing and service levels, and dedication to not only its customers but also to its loyal partner channel," he said.