Lenovo Amps Up Enterprise Charge, Sets 2020 As Date To Be No. 1 In Servers

Lenovo laid out an ambitious roadmap Tuesday to become number one in servers by 2020, grow its lead in PC sales and double its market share across the board at its Accelerate partner conference in Las Vegas.

It was a coming out party of sorts for Lenovo, which has transformed itself over the past 12 months from a leading PC maker to a company with all the pieces it needs to be an IT force to be reckoned with. Now, it says, it’s time to put all the pieces together and accelerate.

’Lenovo has had a great growth curve over the past five years. We have tripled market share from less than 4 percent to where we are today,’ said Aymar de Lencquesaing, president, Lenovo North America. ’We want to have a mindset of 2X. We want to double market share. And I don’t want to take five years to do it.’

[Related: Lenovo Channel Chief Q&A: Kinlaw Spells Out Bold New Enterprise Strategy]

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de Lencquesaing, who was addressing the channel for the first time in his new role since being promoted two weeks ago, said that in order for Lenovo to achieve its goals, neither partners nor Lenovo can afford to rest. Lenovo and its partners, he said, need to stay humble and hungry.

’We have a goal to grow [Lenovo] from a $50 billion company to a $100 billion company,’ de Lencquesaing said. ’What we need to do to double the size of the company is identify where the pressure points are and how we solve them.’

At Lenovo’s opening keynote for its partner conference, de Lencquesaing was joined by a parade of channel leaders who took the stage, each outlining the company’s strategic direction for the next year, which centered on driving server growth of its newly acquired System x hardware.

Lenovo's North American channel chief, Sammy Kinlaw, discussed new incentives for channel partners including new customer bonuses and a new army of 20 North American technical field engineers to support channel reps to help partners with complex sales opportunities. Lenovo, Kinlaw said, was on the cusp of becoming a 90 percent channel-driven company here in North America.

’This is a company that wants to be number one,’ said Scott Spiro, CEO of Computer Solutions Group, a Los Angeles-based Lenovo partner. ’The IT world has shifted and Lenovo is shifting right along with it. I like the Lenovo roadmap it’s talking about here. It’s aligning more with the direction that my customers want to take their business -- cloud, server and storage.’

But the biggest round of applause from the 1,000 partners in attendance at Tuesday’s keynote was reserved for Brian Hamel, vice president and general manager of Lenovo enterprise systems group, when he said Lenovo was committed to unseating Hewlett-Packard from the top server spot.

’If you were asked back in 2005 would Lenovo be number one in PCs in the marketplace, most of us wouldn’t have placed that bet,’ Hamel said. ’Lenovo is committed to the server business. If you look out five years from today, the headlines in the marketplace will be Lenovo is number one in servers.’

Hamel said Lenovo will drive new channel opportunities as it moves up the stack. ’Inside IBM, we were not channel first. We were about 50-50 within the mix of our server business. In the first six months with Lenovo, we are already up to 70 percent with System x in the channel,’ said Hamel, who joined Lenovo from IBM back in October.

Lenovo is going to be a big enterprise player, he said. ’The rack and tower and that 1U and 2U space is absolutely going to be where ThinkServer and System x play,’ Hamel said. ’We will be simpler and faster and we will gain share. And in network, we are the only hardware maker that offers choice. We have Lenovo offerings, we have offerings from Juniper and Brocade and Cisco. We give the market choice. And on storage, we have our low-end Lenovo based offerings, and we have partnerships and alliances with IBM for StoreWyse and EMC VSPEX.’

Partners said they were happy with Lenovo's progress over the past year. ’It’s still one of the best companies as far as margins when it comes to desktops and laptops,’ said Alessio Gronchi, general manager of DataServe, a Lenovo partner. ’We are really excited to hear about the server business. Lenovo is bringing the company closer where partners like me want it to be. With servers and storage solutions, we can move up the stack and tackle new market opportunities with the Lenovo brand.’