Lenovo Admits 'Mistake' in Server Approach, Promises to be 'In This Business'

A Lenovo sales leader vowed to partners that the tech company will better market itself as a player in the server industry.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 16, 2016

3 Min Read

TECH DATA CHANNEL LINK – Lenovo sales leader vowed to partners that the China-based tech company will better market itself as a player in the server industry.

bd7fb1434eb743b0b11a6897047a0284.jpgChris Frey, Lenovo’s vice president and general manager of U.S. commercial sales, told the audience at Tech Data’s Channel Link conference that his company will make a strong play in the server marketplace, but that prediction was followed with an honest admission.

Frey said that in the wake of the company buying IBM’s x86 server business in 2014, many partners still don’t know what Lenovo plans to do in the server space.

Frey promised change.

“I promise you that you will see branding happening in this geography, across social media, regular media, that we’re going to tell the world that we’re in this business. Just like we did on the PC front,” he said.{ad}

Frey also acknowledged that Lenovo spent its first six months post-acquisition with the wrong approach.

“Our mistake was, we thought the server business was like the PC business. We thought it was a commodity business. We told you to sell one- and two-unit towers,” he said. “We forgot or we didn’t know or we were ignorant, that you sell solutions in the data center, not just a piece of hardware.”

But the rest of Frey’s speech was a rehashing of Lenovo’s success in the last year and its goals to take advantage of “next generation IT.” New disruptive technology is standing at the doorstep of the customer, he said, and that technology is converged, hyperconverged and software-defined. And in the case of the latter technology, Frey said customers will and should be drawn to the idea of software-defined.

“If you’re not talking software-defined to your customers, you’re missing it,” he said.

Frey closed his keynote by explaining his company’s mission to transform from “product-centric” to “customer-centric,” and invited partners to join.

“I believe that together in the data center we can do something really special, and I promise you we’ll give you everything you need to get it done,” he said.

Windows 10 Upgrade

Jordan Chrysafidis, vice president of Microsoft OEM U.S. sales and marketing, took the stage to provide attendees with the latest information on Windows 10. More specifically, why the software giant wants partners to …


… get their customers to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft is allowing free upgrades until July 29. The company will also stop selling Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1 at the end of October.

But Chrysafidis didn’t stop at telling partners to upgrade their operating system. He encouraged them to upgrade devices as well, lest a mixed environment cause security and operational problems for end users.

“If our customers think they’re saving money by hanging onto these old devices, they’re really sadly mistaken,” he said.

He said partners should help customers with migration and question those that want to downgrade to Windows 7.

“This is another great reason to pick up the phone and go have a conversation with your customer about what their Windows 10 migration plan is,” he said.

Partner Playbook

Tech Data on Thursday rolled out a quarterly online publication that’s intended to be a resource tool for its VAR partners.

The publication uses articles and videos from the company’s engineers to enable partners and let them know what support is available to them.

“What we want to do is take information that we’re receiving from our engineers … and we want to take that information as far as what we’re seeing in trends in the marketplace and pass that on to our partners,” said Maurice Hamilton, Tech Data’s vice president of Technical Services.

Tech Data has released the first edition of the Advanced Technologies Playbook.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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