Speed And Simplicity: 5 Ways Lenovo Is Accelerating Channel Growth

Lenovo channel chief Stefan Bockhop reveals where Lenovo is accelerating channel growth, including the benefits of its new consumption-based TruScale Infrastructure Services.


Lenovo is doubling down on efforts to remove any roadblocks slowing channel momentum by launching enhanced quoting tools and processes and making new partner investments, said Stefan Bockhop, executive director and North America channel chief for Lenovo’s Data Center Group.

In an interview with CRN, Bockhop—who has been driving data center sales in the U.S. and Canada for thousands of partners since 2005—outlines where Lenovo is accelerating channel growth though speed and simplicity, including the benefits of its new consumption-based TruScale Infrastructure Services.

5. Enhanced Partner Auto Quoting

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We’ve heard from our partners, ‘It’s great that you gave us a beefier pricing tool so it can put together parts that are in distribution, but sometimes we do a specific solution or custom model for a customer.’ So now we’ve enhanced our Partner Auto Quote tool to allow them to do configure-to-order configurations as well. What’s more, we’ve distributed that tool to our distribution partners. ... We have reached a point where 77 percent of our quotes are now being done within the hour. Also, 95 percent of our quotes are being done within six hours. The quote comes back to the requester within six hours—that’s twice as fast as we were just a couple of months ago. We’re going to keep adding enhancements and new ways to make this easier for our partners, including getting this tool distributed right out to them in their own four walls, to be able to get budgetary pricing instantly to their customers.

4. Better Tools And Processes

We heard loud and clear from our partners that we have to be able to go faster to give them a better way to get at the tools and processes they need to get solutions out to our mutual customers. One of the things we were told is, ‘It’s harder with you to get a config out.’ So we went from four separate configurators now to one unified configurator—that’s huge. So now you can do your solutions design in one configuration tool. That configuration tool is now linked right into our pricing tool, our Partner Auto Quote.

3. Storage 5X Multiplier

We multiplied the value of solutions that we’re heavily focused on, storage being the most prominent example. We’re offering for every storage deal a 5X multiplier against a partner’s targets and their attainment models in our channel program. So when you sell $1, for example, it counts toward a target or a payout for an MDF-type program. In terms of our storage portfolio, it counts five times. So $1 counts as $5 in terms of their attainment. It drives the payments and the results that way. There is an opportunity to think about Lenovo beyond traditional servers and think about the storage portfolio as part of the solution.

2. TruScale Changes The Game

TruScale isn’t tied to a particular product or solution, that’s the beauty of it. The fact that we can deploy TruScale right now, saying, ‘Would you like to have some TruScale on our Nutanix platform? Or on our storage platform? Or on a traditional three-pillar architecture?’ Any of our solutions and the hardware underlying those solutions that we sell today ... can all benefit from the TruScale deployment model. It’s a way to get the consumption model versus the underlying technology hardware. There’s not much out there that we can’t put into the TruScale model today. We’re definitely going to get to 100 percent as-a-service [offerings]. Some people will still move to a capital model, some will want a consumption model, and some will even have both models running in their enterprise for different applications and requirements. We’re allowing that customer choice and making sure you don’t limit the customer. That’s a bad path to go down, to limit or have vendor-lock in, or put the customer in a corner where they can’t be agile on their infrastructure.

1. Internal Pivot Toward The Channel

We’re going to allocate some of the folks that are more generally focused to be very specifically focused on a channel model. We’re going to put more of our resource pool toward a channelfirst model and really get after the next layer segment of the marketplace. It’s a mix of both field and call center personnel. … If you haven’t had an engagement with us in the last few months, our foundation is set and we are ready for amplification. I would offer to all the partners out there that maybe it’s time to try something new with someone and we’d love to engage with you on your next opportunity.