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Lenovo's Kevin Hooper: Our Vision Is To Be The ‘Most Trusted Data Center Partner In The Industry’

Kevin Hooper, president of North America for Lenovo’s Data Center Group, spoke with CRN about driving deeper into enterprise and SMB accounts with his plan to attack the data center market alongside a reinvigorated channel strategy.

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What new resources will you be providing to the channel?

We are investing in field resources, and we’re investing in call center resources to engage with channel partners. … We’re not really changing our resellers’ approach since we’ve always been a channel-friendly company, but what we haven’t always done is expanded our reach to touch many more customers. We are taking our existing resources and unstacking them so, rather than the traditional practice at Lenovo of having five, six or seven resources on one sales call, it’s only going to be one or two—because our channel-first strategy is to reach out to the channel partner first before you reach out to another Lenovo employee. So now that channel partner is feeling like they are a value to the investments that we’ve made in their training and certifications, and their levels within the Lenovo Partner Engage Program are being respected by our internal sellers, and we’re looking to bring value on both sides of that equation. Then bring that joint value to our customers.

Lenovo launched its new consumption-based TruScale Infrastructure Services offering for data center infrastructure. How big of a channel opportunity is it?

The opportunity for the channel that is truly unique for Lenovo partners is that TruScale is really tied to the energy consumption of the infrastructure. Some of our competitors out there are tying that consumption offer at the user level, tying it at the application level—but TruScale is really at the lowest level possible within the infrastructure. That metric is tied directly to the operating expense of a data center, which is energy consumption. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our channel partners because in a negotiation with a customer, the balance between Capex and operating expenses is always a conversation that takes place between, frankly, people that just want to talk about the technology and solving the business’ problems. What TruScale does is it provides an opportunity to just streamline that conversation for customers and channel partners around, ‘How do you leverage your infrastructure to solve the problems in your business? How do you leverage your infrastructure to allow you to be more competitive in the marketplace? And how do you get access to the infrastructure in line with how you consume it?’ The answer to a lot of those questions comes down to that energy consumption notion.

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