Lenovo Unveils Forthcoming Partner Program, Lenovo 360, To Unite PC And Data Center Businesses

The global partner program is planned to launch in early 2022, and aims to ‘bring a lot of awareness to the strengths of the Lenovo portfolio,’ says Lenovo Global Channel Chief Pascal Bourguet.


Lenovo on Tuesday unveiled a new global partner program that’s targeted at bringing together the company’s intelligent devices and data center infrastructure businesses in a more cohesive and profitable way for partners.

The new program, Lenovo 360, won’t launch until early 2022, the company disclosed. However, the PC and data center giant is announcing the plans now to signal how Lenovo’s sales framework is going to be evolving, in connection with the company’s “One Lenovo” strategy, executives said.

[Related: 5 Things To Know On Lenovo’s New North America President, Vladimir Rozanovich]

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The company announced the plans for the Lenovo 360 program on Tuesday during a virtual event for partners.

The plans follow Lenovo’s April 1 reorganization that split the company into three business units--Intelligent Devices Group, which includes PCs and IoT; a rebranded Infrastructure Solutions Group (formerly known as the Data Center Group); and a new Solutions and Services Group focused on verticals and services.

At the same time, Lenovo is seeking to unite its businesses from a solutions creation and go-to-market perspective, to drive greater product synergies and partner opportunities, executives said.

As part of the recent reorganization, Lenovo created a new global channel organization that’s led by Pascal Bourguet (pictured), formerly the company’s chief category and marketing officer in North America, as global channel chief.

The global channel organization and forthcoming Lenovo 360 program will provide both global scale and better access to the three business groups’ portfolios, which means “our relevance is getting stronger,” Bourguet said in an interview with CRN.

“Putting the portfolio together from the three business groups is unlocking market potential for the partners, giving them access to solutions,” he said. “By putting the PC business together with the infrastructure business together with the service business, very naturally you can build solutions.”

Lenovo is aiming to help more of its PC-focused partners to expand into data center solutions, and vice versa, Bourguet said. A key goal of the Lenovo 360 program will be “bringing awareness of the power of the Lenovo portfolio to the channel community,” he said.

Globally, Lenovo has roughly 80,000 active Intelligent Devices Group partners and 20,000 active Infrastructure Solutions Group partners, the company said. Only 5,000 partners currently overlap between the two businesses, selling both IDG and ISG solutions, Lenovo said.

Examples of joint solutions uniting the PC and data center sides include Lenovo’s As-a-Service solution for hosted desktops, announced in April. The remote work solution leverages Lenovo’s TruScale infrastructure service offering as well as Lenovo client devices, such as PCs and thin clients.

Bourguet said that the specifics of the Lenovo 360 program will be announced by the end of 2021. Lenovo is currently working on the partner enablement aspects of the new program, including around training, certifications and channel marketing playbooks, he said.

At Loganville, Ga.-based CommQuest, a Lenovo Gold partner, CEO Mark Sanchez said he welcomes the moves by Lenovo to evolve into more of a unified business.

“As far as the vision and the strategy, I think it’s going to be good for the company and for us,” Sanchez said.

CommQuest, he noted, moved away from focusing on Lenovo’s data center offerings several years ago, and since then has been entirely focused on Lenovo PCs. But Lenovo’s shift to bring together the two businesses again should serve as an opportunity to get back into selling Lenovo data center products such as servers, Sanchez said. “I think it’s going to be a fit for us, for sure,” he said.

Sanchez said he’s hoping that Lenovo will structure the new partner program so that both PC and data center sales count together toward the overall sales number for the partner--as CommQuest has been seeking to move up to Lenovo’s top-tier Platinum status. “That way, no matter what you sell, those things would count toward your number,” he said.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Lenovo PC partner in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., also applauded Lenovo’s move to unite its businesses and partner programs. Goldstein said he plans to consider offering Lenovo’s data center solutions as a result of the moves.

“The program is a welcomed change and definitely beneficial,” he said. “The data center offerings seem very aggressive and fresh -- definitely going to be looking at them.”

Goldstein added that he appreciates Lenovo’s decision to share plans for the new partner program well in advance of the program’s launch. “The more transparent, the better for partners,” Goldstein said.

Bourguet noted that Lenovo 360 is not meant to disrupt any partners’ businesses.

“If there are PC partners who don’t want to do anything else, or infrastructure partners who don’t want to do anything else, it’s fine--they will keep the program that they use. There’s absolutely no change [for them]. It’s business as usual,” Bourguet said. “But for those partners that want to embark into a service-led business or a more solution-led business, we’ll give them a new opportunity. Those partners will have the opportunity to bring in new revenue and new earnings.”

Ultimately, “putting the different programs into the same umbrella program will bring a lot of awareness to the strengths of the Lenovo portfolio,” he said.

For Lenovo’s businesses in North America, the recent reorganization is also prompting a leadership change. Vladimir Rozanovich, formerly a longtime executive at chipmaker AMD, is joining Lenovo this week as the company’s president of North America. Rozanovich will also serve as senior vice president for the company’s newly created International Sales Organization, which covers all Lenovo sales outside of China.

Matthew Zielinski, formerly the president of Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group in North America, has been promoted to become president of the International Sales Organization at Lenovo.

Kevin Hooper remains the president of the Lenovo ISG for North America, reporting to Wilfredo Sotolongo, chief customer officer for the ISG. However, with Rozanovich now responsible for all Lenovo North America business groups including ISG, there will be a “dotted line” from Hooper to Rozanovich in terms of the reporting structure, Lenovo has said.

Steve Biondi, Lenovo’s ISG channel chief in North America, continues to report to Hooper, while IDG Channel Chief Rob Cato will report to Rozanovich, Lenovo said.