Lenovo Sets Big PC Sales Goals for the Channel
LENOVO ACCELERATE — Lenovo demonstrated unity as it paraded top executives across the stage at this year’s Accelerate event, held this week in Orlando. For partners, that coming together highlighted an increasingly fluid alliance between Lenovo’s Intelligent Device Group (IDG) and Data Center Group (DCG) as the company advances from selling products to offering solutions.
Senior channel and sales leadership across both organizations agreed that their failings with partners over the past couple of years would soon be seen as a blip on the radar as Lenovo lives up to its promise of being a channel-first company.
“I believe that Lenovo is in a very unique position with all the right building blocks – whether that’s 5G, big data, data center IP and client IP – to put all of these things together,” said Matt Zielinski, president, Lenovo NA IDG. “What does that mean to us as a community and as partners? We’ve done a very good job of selling hardware and devices, but we’re going to have to pivot to sell nothing but solutions going forward.”
Zielinski was nothing short of apologetic to partners admitting that Lenovo, “lost its rutter” with the channel. Presenting at his second Accelerate event, Zielinski he said it was great to be back at Accelerate, since joining the company a little more than a year ago. Then he got a few laughs: “Last year, I was the sixth person to present to you as the person sitting in my chair in six years. So, we’re setting records already.”
Taking it to the judgment zone, as promises are cheap and results are powerful, fiscal year 2019 was a good one for Lenovo, realizing growth of more than 20% with the channel. The vendor also attacked new markets, with the launch of a storage portfolio in September — and grew that business by 46% in North America, delivered new AR/VR solutions for education, and exceeded in the high-performance compute market, the cornerstone of artificial intelligence (AI). Partners also won with Lenovo’s enhanced workstation portfolio, with market share up 28% year over year.
He pointed to other areas where the company has made progress, but also where there’s still work to do. For example, the company diversified in retail, where it was 77% beholden to one major partner; today the company is 50-50. Lenovo promised to attain double-digit market share in Canada, from 4.5% market share, and reports that it achieved that growth. In the PC market, Lenovo is No. 1 in Canada for the first time. New customer acquisitions with Think are off the charts; the company’s K-12 business is up 27% year over year, but Lenovo is “nowhere” in higher education with Zielinski giving Lenovo a D+ grade at best.
He also noted the company’s SMB business is up 40% year over year, thanks to it being a partner-led sales engine.
“Our SMB business is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. And we’re about to throw some gasoline on that fire,” said Zielinski.
Lenovo acquired 247 new logos representing almost $1 billion in revenue in corporate accounts — thanks to partners. The company’s premium business did well in FY19 but services not so well – maybe a B grade – even though service revenue grew.
“We realized about a third of the way through the year, ‘Holy smokes, we’ve got a lot of work to do here,’” he said. “Honestly speaking, we realized that we had …