The new portal adds many features, like customized personas, which haven’t been in a Lenovo partner portal previously, and the company is confident the portal tools will build on good momentum of recent months.
Today, Lenovo is announcing its new Lenovo Partner Hub, which will launch On July 27 in select geos, which include the U.S. and Canada. The new portal provides, for the first time, a one-stop shop for partners for all things Lenovo, to spare them having to jump between linked sites. This unification also marks the first time that their Intelligent Devices Group [IDG] and Data Center Group [DCG] partners will be served through the same portal.
“This is the next iteration of our commitment to our Go-to-Market strategy through the channel,” said Rob Cato, Vice President, North America Channel, Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group. “We spent several years getting ourselves to this point, and have invested millions of dollars invested to bring the Lenovo Partner Hub to fruition. We have the big launch event today, and go live on Monday.”
“Our old portal was fine, but this one provides a consolidated view of education, marketing, and collateral, and it is persona-focused,” said Steve Biondi, Head of Partnerships and Channels at Lenovo. “There are presentation pitch tools and a variety of cool aids for partners to build collateral to help sell their stuff.”
It also makes more use of modern capabilities like AI than the old portal.
“We can use AI and analytics to streamline chat functionality and make it more efficient,” Cato noted. “We also know the personal touch is still important, and channel managers trained on the tool will help partners as they get onboarded. We don’t want to lose being responsive with partners, but we need to take advantage of the opportunities AI and chat give us as well.”
The new portal provides a more unified, consistent experience, on multiple levels.
“The old one pinged you out to different sites, so you could get everything that you needed, but it wasn’t seamless,” Biondi said. “It lets us focus on enablement and making our offerings easier to consume – make it crayon-ready so anyone can consume it.
“When we started designing this last year, what really mattered most is presenting what partners are looking for, so we visited with 56 partners face to face across five geos to get their feedback,” said Jullie Wogelius, Sr. Manager & Global Process Owner for the Lenovo Partner Hub.
Wogelius said that in creating the portal, Lenovo had four key design principles: to empower partners to find information at the right time, to make sure it’s actionable, to make it very intuitive to find information, to make it a more personalized experience, with four different portal personas.
“The KPIs are personalized depending on the business partner type, and whether it’s a sales person or sales manager or admin,” she stated. Marketing also has a persona, but it is very different, and is designed to help them find assets they need to build campaigns rather than provide the sales performance KPIs and transaction data that the other personas receive.
“The home page has announcements and upcoming events, which are locally relevant to a given market, and they can easily toggle between IDG and DCG transactions,” Wogelius added. “There is also a Grow Your Business With Lenovo section on the main page with the latest promotions and solutions.” The portal is fully available on mobile devices, with each portal page having a dynamic mobile view and the full catalogue being available.”
The Lenovo Bid Platform is another new feature of the Partner Hub.
“This lets partners submit a bid opportunity directly to Lenovo and get pricing back in a matter of minutes,” Cato said. “Speed to price is critical, and this is a new functionality that partners will appreciate
This is also the first time that IDG and DCG have been managed through the same portal, which reflects the fact that the initial sets of legacy products were acquired from IBM years apart, and bringing them together in the same portal had not been a priority before.
“Their being separate just came from the heritage of the acquisitions, and this is the first time that they have been consolidated,” Biondi said.
Biondi expects the new portal to accelerate what he says is significant channel momentum.
“We just recently launched the new partner program, and while it is early, indications are we are seeing significant growth,” he said. “In Canada in particular, our Platinum partners are doing well. Zones and CDW told us that we are their only x86 vendor in the green this quarter. We launched the proper program at proper time, and we are seeing benefits of that.”
Biondi also emphasized that the benefits of the new program have been strongly complemented by changes to their partner coverage model.
“Changing the program in conjunction with changing the coverage model to the partners who had gravitated to our solution set – the dirt movers – continues to work well,” he said. “Had we just changed the program but not the coverage I don’t know if we would have got the same kind of results.”
While several large OEMs have been hurt by the pandemic in multiple ways, Biondi said that Lenovo has fared relatively well.
“The thing that we have enjoyed through the crisis is that our supply chain was worldwide so it had very little impact on us,” he stated. “Partners really gravitated to working with us because they got things faster than competitors.”
Looking ahead, with the portal successfully launched, Biondi said to look for more Lenovo action on the MSP/CSP front.
“We need to get a better grasp of MSPs and CSPs, and we need to aggressively pursue them,” he said. “There are some of those partners working with us today, but those groups are growing in number. Partners have made the leap from product to services, and now are making the leap to hardware-as-a-service.”