As Lenovo changes CEOs, some pundits think the PC giant is retreating to China. On the contrary, Lenovo will soon launch a managed services initiative as part of its SMB push in North America, according to VP Stephen DiFranco. My big question: Will Lenovo focus purely on well-managed hardware, or does the ThinkPad maker plan to offer a full-blown managed services software platform? Here's an early sketch of the strategy.
Although an official managed services strategy has yet to be announced, DiFranco says Lenovo should be able to share deeper details around March 0r so. In the meantime, DiFranco sees the following clear trends:
- Lenovo has already integrated its ThinkManagement console with LANDesk and Intel vPro technology.
- The console provides centralized inventory and reporting for Lenovo hardware as well as management of Intel vPro-enabled devices.
- The integrated console tools allow developers to write third-party software for the console.
Connecting the DotsThe following paragraph is pure speculation on my part -- based on the bullet points above. When you consider Lenovo's market position and ThinkManagement technology, I suspect the company will position its ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, ThinkStation and ThinkServer brands as the easiest-to-manage endpoints for MSPs.
But I also think Lenovo is mulling a bigger managed services software strategy. Much in the way that Dell promotes its Silverback and Everdream offerings as managed services software platforms, I suspect Lenovo will promote the ThinkManagement console to MSPs and VARs serving small and midsize businesses.
What's known for sure? DiFranco mentioned the forthcoming MSP strategy before I even broached the managed services subject -- so something's definitely brewing within the Lenovo marketing department. And he told me to check back with him within a month or so.
Marching ForwardIn the meantime, DiFranco strongly rejects speculation that Lenovo is somehow retreating to China amid a CEO change. Instead, DiFranco asserts, the company will export many of its most successful business practices from China to North America.
One closing thought: As Dell and now Lenovo make managed services moves, where is Hewlett-Packard's PC and server team? Back in October 2008 I noted that HP's PC teams needed to formulate and launch a managed services strategy. So far, I've heard nothing from HP about a potential effort to embrace MSPs.
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