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Lenovo Exec: We’re 'Staying On The Forefront' With Better Solutions For Partners

Lenovo is staying ahead of the curve of the dynamic marketplace through acquisitions, new products, and better solutions, says Chun Lee, director of Lenovo’s U.S. Tier 2 VAR channel.

Lenovo is ’staying on the forefront’ of a dynamic technology marketplace through acquisitions, new products and better solutions, a U.S. channel executive for the vendor said Sunday.

Chun Lee, director of the company's U.S. Tier 2 VAR channel, spoke at the XChange 2016 Conference in San Antonio – hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company. He called Lenovo is a ’channel-first’ organization.

’The way we look at the market right now, we are in an inflection point,’ said Lee. ’Things are changing all the time and being dynamic. The PC as it started out was a single device … now you have all kind of multi-mode devices. Lenovo’s really focused on how to stay on the upper end of that … to reach new heights so that [channel partners] don’t turn into a dinosaur.’

[Related: Fortinet Channel Chief: Integrated Security Creates 'New Opportunity' For Solution Providers]

The company, which has $45 billion in sales, is split into four groups – PCs and smart devices, mobility, the data center, and the innovator group – to invest in new technology.

Lenovo has made a series of acquisitions to bolster each of these segments over the past few years, including PC company NEC, security solution cloud interface Stoneware, server segment IBM System X and the Motorola brand.

However, channel partners make a big difference with sales and solutions, particularly in the hardware platform, said Lee. In fact, $700 million in incremental revenue for the hardware platform went through the channel last year in North America, he noted.

Through channel sales, Lenovo has seen its SMB partners grow 96 percent over the past year, said Lee.

For channel partners, Lenovo is trying to improve the sales motion so partners can talk about the different form factors – the company is providing a sales toolkit for partners to take to their customers so they can decipher between different mobile devices, including 2-in-1s, tablets, slates and detachables – and figure out what the right devices are for clients.

Lee stressed that Lenovo is hoping to follow this type of revenue on the server side for channel partners, so the company’s recipe is following what Lenovo did with the PCs, continuing with strong value in the server space, and being open and scalable.

The company, for example, is expanding its enterprise workload partnerships, said Lee. For example, Lenovo partnered with VMware Horizon View and EMC View Labs so its Flex system x240 M5 could become a VDI solution for up to 3,500 desktops.

Michael Lomonaco, director of marketing and communications at Open Systems Technology, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based systems integrator and a Lenovo partner for several years, said he's impressed by Lenovo’s strategic investments so far.

’Lenovo has been on a smart acquisition streak – we thought the Motorola acquisition was very strategic,’ he said. ’Lenovo has been saying it is investing in new cutting-edge solutions, but acquisitions like this show that they are really trying to make their products smarter and more nimble by digging deeper into the mobile market.’

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