Lenovo 360 will launch in January, and builds on the recent organizational changes in the company’s channel business.
Lenovo has announced “Lenovo 360”, what it is terming a first-of-its-kind global channel partner framework. A key part of the framework is providing improved access to the “Everything-as-a-Service” consumption model, but it also involves more than that, including new stackable incentives for hitting targets.
So what exactly is the difference between a channel framework and a channel program?
“This is not a channel program,” said Jeff Taylor, Worldwide Channel Marketing Leader at Lenovo. “A program implies a time stamp and incentives. A framework will live in perpetuity and encompasses more than the Go-to-Market aspects of it.”
Taylor said that the Lenovo 360 Framework reflects three pillars of good channel relationships.
“One is people – Channel Account Managers, field sellers and support teams,” he noted. “Another is programs with their incremental financial incentives. The third is tools and the ease of doing business with them, such as how easy it is to price, quote and configure. Lenovo 360 is a combination of all three.”
Taylor also said the framework also creates opportunity to grow in three ways.
“One is how they go deeper to existing customers, and the framework creates a clear opportunity there. Another is more customer breadth. The third is the enablement and creation of end to end solutions focused on very specific customer needs and business outcomes.”
Taylor also highlighted how the framework complemented Lenovo’s recent restructuring of their business units.
“This really fits nicely into the reorganization, around three business groups,” he said. “Those are endpoint solutions (IDG) and infrastructure (ISG), and security [SSG], all of which are now represented in the International Sales Organization [ISO].
“We are the only vendor that is channel-first and with the breadth and power of our portfolio,” Taylor added. “Lenovo 360 provides a sales organization that can sell across the entire breadth of organizations to our customers, in a consistent global manner.
Lenovo 360 also has a strong focus around as-a-Service, which Lenovo brands as Truscale.
“We have seen a lot of demand for as-a-Service for a while, Taylor said. Somewhere between 75 and 80% of SMBs are working with MSPs, and we think our channel first approach will help in that market. Anything we sell can be purchased through TruScale as-a-Service. It’s not the essence of Lenovo 360 but it is an important part.”
Taylor then ran through the impending changes in tools , people and programs.
“Two years ago we launched the Lenovo Bid Platform, to provide an easy way to get quotes and configurations. It has worked in IDG and ISG, but we would love for partners to have the option of an as-a-service quote as well. To me, that will accelerate demand. Those are the type of tools we are working on.”
Some of these will go live in January.
“These are channel ready solutions, with configurator builders and solution builders,” Taylor said. “They make it easy to come in and get a quote and a price.
“On the People side, we realize our path to success is through the channel, and so we integrated our two channel sales teams into one,” Taylor indicated. “We had IDG and ISG separate, and individually they were doing great, but customers wanted a simpler model so we pulled them together, just a couple months ago, and it is now led by Rob Cato. We are replicating that people model across all our geos. We also made incremental investments in the channel on the sales and support side.”
Taylor stressed that the programmatic enhancements are not being paid for by reductions elsewhere.
“As we move to this model and put new incentives in, we aren’t taking anything away,” he said. “It’s not a shift of dollars. It’s incremental to what they have today. We are basically bringing three programs to market. If you hit targets on two, you get a 1.2 accelerator, and if you hit three, you get a 1.3 accelerator. These are stackable, so it’s a 30% increase.”
Out of the gate in January, new eight solutions will be available through the framework (although not all will be initially available in all geos). They are: Remote work Enablement; VDI Hosted Desktop; Complete Conference Room; Backup and Recovery; Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Enablement; Asset Recovery Service; Immersive Education; and Immersive Design and Engineering.
“Over the next couple of months there will be more solutions beyond the original eight – likely an additional 2-3-4 in the next 12 months,” Taylor said.
He also noted that the Lenovo Partner Hub, through which partners will access these solutions, is also being enhanced to support Lenovo 360 initiatives.
“There are also other things coming, through channel automation,” he added.
Taylor concluded by emphasizing the key message of the framework is its relentless commitment to channel and a channel-first philosophy.
“The framework will continue to grow and adapt to the market over time,” he said.