After studying the managed services market for most of 2009, Lenovo is pulling back the curtain on a software partner strategy. It starts today with a Lenovo-Kaseya relationship, but Lenovo's efforts will expand to include a range of RMM (remote monitoring and management) and PSA (professional services automation) partners. In my mind, today marks the start of PC vendors getting serious about managed services. Here's why.
First, a little background. Jay McBain, director of SMB at Lenovo, in September 2009 provided some clues about the company's forthcoming managed services strategy. Fast forward to the present, and there are now plans to integrate Lenovo’s ThinkVantage Technologies with Kaseya’s remote management platform.
This is more than a PC vendor plugging into an RMM tool. Dan Shapero, senior VP at Kaseya, says there are opportunities for Kaseya's platform to integrate with multiple ThinkVantage components. One possible area of integration involves Lenovo's Rescue and Recovery capability, which helps users diagnose, get help and recover from system crashes -- even if the primary operating system will not boot.
Meanwhile, Lenovo's McBain says he's "thrilled" by the Kaseya relationship, noting that Lenovo has always emphasized software R&D tied to its ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops, and ThinkServer systems. And don't forget: Lenovo is introducing a range of new hardware form factors that could move into the MSP market. Longer term, McBain says, it's safe to expect Lenovo to integrate with more RMM and PSA systems.
The PC FactorI wonder if the Lenovo-Kaseya relationship will be a wake-up call to the rest of the PC industry. For the most part, Hewlett-Packard and Dell have been surprisingly silent about their PC strategies within the MSP market.
Still, there are signs of progress. Microsoft itself is starting to promote Windows 7 specifically to managed services providers. Acer-Gateway is working on a managed services effort in Europe, based on Level Platforms' technology. Intel has long promoted vPro technologies to MSPs. And now Lenovo is getting into the game with the Kaseya relationship.
At some point, the PC teams at Hewlett-Packard and Dell will need to jump on the integration bandwagon as well.