Lenovo Pitches Services Opportunities to Channel Partners
How do you differentiate in the highly competitive PC market? Lenovo thinks it has some new answers. The PC and mobile computing giant has inked a distribution relationship with Brightpoint and launched a new Partner Services Program. Here’s what ThinkPad and Idea channel partners can expect, according to Jay McBain (pictured), director, Small and Medium Business, Lenovo Americas.
“We’re in a year of convergence. In the past, notebook and desktops were a different channel than cell phones and smart phones. We’re starting to see a blending and convergence of the two channels, and we’re definitely seeing the convergence of both products [technologies and usefulness]. Traditional retailers in the wireless space are now selling netbooks, and computer resellers are selling connected devices.”
So starting July 2010, US partners can buy Lenovo ThinkPads and Idea products from Brightpoint.
Oh, About That Channel Program…
But the bigger news is that Lenovo is announcing their Partner Services Program. It’s all part of Lenovo’s plan to make it life easier for partners by giving them the ability sell more than hardware while enabling them to look to Lenovo for services that traditionally had been sought elsewhere. The portfolio includes service offerings for the entire “life-cycle of the PC.” McBain explained that they don’t want to compete in the services business. They just want to give their partners more up-sell opportunities:
“What we’ve done is setup a number of a-la cart services…simple and easy. Channel partners take the lead, but Lenovo acts as a subcontractor. [Plus] we want to have the ability to make money as [a Lenovo] channel partner.”
McBain detailed that the Performance Incentive Program allows resellers to gain up to 10 additional discount points on what they’d typically receive selling Lenovo Priority Support. In addition, Lenovo has developed a program rewarding resellers who are expanding their services business with data protection and life-cycle services by earning between 7 and 12 percent of the invoiced amount.
When I asked about the point of entry for the new services and level of support, McBain noted that…
“Lenovo doesn’t have tiers. [Whether you sell] one ThinkPad or 100,000 ThinkPads, you can take advantage of these services program. We’ve setup a unique [and] innovative support center with online chat [and] e-mail and phone coming soon [which] resides on a brand new portal on the Partner Network site. [It’s complete with] new set of reference sheets, simple to understand and bolt on services [with] online chat helps you build a quote and walk you through, rather than [reading a] 200 page PDF.”
The Bigger Picture
Lenovo’s push beyond traditional PC and notebook segments has been underway for more than a year. In April 2010, Lenovo introduced a server purposely built for managed services providers. And McBain has been busy attending MSP-centric conferences, analyzing trends and connecting the dots between managed services, mobility and the cloud.
After navigating the recession, Lenovo in May 2010 signaled a return to growth mode — though competition with traditional PC makers and emerging mobile device makers remains fierce.