José Luis Fernandez is dead set on “making a lot more noise” in the market next year to put Lenovo’s portfolio and technology innovations in the spotlight.
“We don’t publicize our strengths well enough. We have the most reliable data center infrastructure on the planet, but we don’t make enough noise about it,” said Fernandez, president and general manager for Lenovo’s Data Center Group in Latin America and Caribbean, who also took over as leader for global channels at the Data Center Group earlier this year. “We have the best records in terms of performance in x86 servers. Not everybody knows that. We will be making a lot more noise. I will make sure this information is more widely spread, particularly to channel partners.”
Fernandez breaks down four reasons why channel partners should be pumped about partnering with Lenovo in 2021.
1. ‘Better Together’
Lenovo will push its “Better Together” strategy in 2021, which offers extra incentives to Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group partners who sell Lenovo’s Data Center Group portfolio, and vice versa.
“So some of the data center partners want to adopt the IDG portfolio. One thing that’s going to make it a lot easier is our new Partner Hub. The configuration tools there are exactly the same. The Hub is the same. They don’t have to go to different places. So if a partner wants to build a VDI solution, for example, they can put together all the data center infrastructure, the software, the services, and the smart devices to offer an end-to-end VDI solution. That puts us in a unique position. I think that’s very compelling to a channel partner because it’s truly a one-stop shop,” said Fernandez.
2. SMB Momentum
Lenovo is preparing for a sales spike in the SMB market next year via channel partners thanks to new enablement investments, Fernandez said.
“We’re getting ready with a well-oiled machine of enablement, training and solutions approach to help our channels to be very effective in selling repeatable solutions to SMBs. Things like data protection, anti-ransomware, solutions for analytics and databases, and VDI are very popular. We want to help channels with very well-defined solutions. We want to help them understand the target market. How the solution is built. Why is it important. What are the relevant questions they need to ask to really understand the business problems. And they need a solution with services,” said Fernandez. “The SMB market is very unique because for large customers—like banks, oil and gas—you have all the vendors lining up trying to do demos, proofs of concept, etc. but the small and medium companies don’t have that luxury. So what we are pushing is reference architectures, proven architectures—it’s like selling a recipe. In a supermarket analogy, we’re not only offering the ingredients—the ingredients come with a very well-tested recipe alongside. That’s why we’re gaining stickiness in the marketplace.”
3. Interoperability And Open Standards
What gets Fernandez excited about Lenovo’s data center technology is that everything is designed to be “absolutely open.” By designing its technology based on interoperability and open standards, Lenovo is giving partners options that will help customers save on total cost of ownership.
“Openness is extremely important because in the data center business, if you invest $1 in data center infrastructure, you’re going to spend $7 to run that infrastructure during the next three years. So it’s important to be careful with your Capex, but it’s way more important to be very careful with your Opex. Opex is a much bigger portion of the expense of any data center. When you have interoperability and you are conscious as a vendor knowing you need to be interacting with multiple vendors in switching, storage, software—then that $7 starts to reduce. Then you’re talking about $6 or $5. That is a very compelling story for any CIO or CTO because they’re very aware of operational expenses, and interoperability is the key. The way we maintain all the infrastructure—networking, sever and storage—has to be easier to orchestrate and to automate. Everything we do is designed like that,” said Fernandez.
4. Backing Up ‘Channel-First’
Eighty-five percent of Lenovo’s Data Center Group total revenue comes via indirect sales as the company’s ChannelFirst mantra pushes forward in 2021, according to Fernandez.
“When we say ‘Channel-First,’ we back it up with 85 percent of our total Data Center Group revenue coming from partners. Some companies talk about channel-first, but only half of their revenue goes through the channel. In our case, it’s 85 percent on a worldwide basis,” he said. “So we are truly Channel-First.”