Lenovo Launches New Services Org: 4 Big Partner Takeaways

Lenovo channel chief Steve Biondi talks to CRN about the company’s new services group aimed at driving as-a-service sales for partners as well as Lenovo’s new Infrastructure Solutions Group brand.

Steve Biondi On New Services Group And Why Partners Should Be Pumped

Lenovo is doubling down on driving services revenue for the channel by launching a new Solutions and Services Group (SSG) to help partners win more TruScale as-a-service deals and opportunities spanning the company’s broad portfolio of PCs to infrastructure.

“With our new SSG, they’re going to really double down on TruScale. They’re really going to double down on service enablement for both our data center and our devices products,” said Steve Biondi, head of channel sales and alliances in North America for Lenovo’s newly rebranded Infrastructure Solutions Group in an interview with CRN. “We are declaring that as-a-service is now going to be part of our go-to-market strategy holistically now.”

TruScale Infrastructure Services is Lenovo’s consumption-based as-a-service offering that now covers almost the company’s entire portfolio, which is why Lenovo has created the new SSG organization -- effective today -- that Biondi says will not compete against channel partners.

Also effective today, Lenovo has split its sales organization structure into two groups: China GEO and an International Sales Organization.

Biondi talks to CRN about Lenovo’s new services group, rebranding Lenovo Data Center Group, the company’s global sales split and why channel partners should be pumped.

Lenovo’s New Solutions & Services Group

Lenovo has brought together its services and solutions teams and capabilities across devices and PCs to infrastructure to form a new dedicated services organization aimed at driving services sales. The Solutions & Services Group (SSG) will drive transformation by delivering incremental business across smart verticals, attached services, managed services and Lenovo’s as-a-service offerings such as TruScale and Device as-a-service (DaaS).

“The partners are going to see an improvement across the board,” said Biondi, Lenovo’s North American channel chief. “With our new SSG, they’re going to really double down on TruScale. They’re really going to double down on service enablement for both our data center and our devices products.”

In February, Lenovo reported a record $1.4 billion in software and services revenue for its third fiscal quarter, representing an increase of 8 percent year over year. Revenue from attached services, managed services and solution services achieved year-on-year growth of 26 percent, 73 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Lenovo’s DaaS delivered a whopping 74 percent sales growth year over year.

“We are declaring that as-a-service is now going to be part of our go-to-market strategy holistically now,” said Biondi.

New Structure: Data Center Group Becomes Infrastructure Solutions Group

Effective today, Lenovo’s business will now be structured into three main business groups: the Intelligent Devices Group (IDG) which includes smart devices and IoT; the new SSG group focused on services; and a rebranded Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG), which was formerly known as Lenovo’s Data Center Group, that will continue to focused on infrastructure such as servers and storage.

“Nobody is technically buying data center as-a-service, people are buying infrastructure as-a-service,” said Lenovo’s Biondi. “We provide big infrastructure solutions from the edge to data center. The rebranding was overdue. The evolution here is to better leverage a services go-to-market in an as-a-service consumption model.”

ISG will continue to be led globally by Kirk Skaugen (pictured), executive vice president of Lenovo and president of ISG.

IDG will be led globally by Luca Rossi, senior vice president at Lenovo and former President of PC and Smart Devices Group (PCSD) in EMEA and Latin America.

The newly formed global SSG organization will be led by Ken Wong, senior vice president at Lenovo and former President of PCSD in Asia Pacific.

TruScale And SSG Will Be ‘Channel First’

Lenovo’s channel chief said TruScale and its new SSG business will continue to follow the company’s mantra of “channel-first.”

“Everything we do is channel-first. Every deal we get, we hand to the channel. We’re not going to compete with them,” said Biondi.

“We’re going to have a version of TruScale that will be partner-led. And not only partner-led, but disty- [distributor] enabled as well,” he said. “So our hybrid cloud model is materially different from the other two big vendors in the North America market because we’re going to lead with partners. We’re going to make sure that they can monetize this, maintain owning the account and they own the assets. If they want the distribution partners to help them facilitate owning the devices themselves, we’ll allow them to do that as well.”

Biondi said compared to competitors, such as Dell Technologies and Hewett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo is not going to “cannibalize or compete” with partners in any way around services.

Sales Split Into Two: China And Rest Of World

In another big move today, Lenovo’s sales organizations in markets around the world split into two. There is now a China-focused sales organization and an international sales organization.

“Why there’s a China-focused entity and then the rest of world entity, is in China, there are very different kind of pressures. They have Inspur and other startups in the data center side that they’re just steamrolling,” said Lenovo’s Biondi. “What they’re trying to do there is put emphasis and extra focus in the China market so we can maintain leadership positions there. Matt Zielinski who is running IDG for North America will be the leader for rest of world for Lenovo. If I was a partner, I’d be pretty pleased that we’re going to have more resources available to us.”

Zielinski was formerly Lenovo’s president of PCSD in North America. The new China-specific organization is led by Liu Jun, former president of IDG in China. All leaders will report directly to Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang and sit on the Lenovo executive committee.

“These moves are going to be very positive for us and partners across the board,” said Biondi.