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Lenovo links up channel partners and customers

04 Oct 12

New and planned offerings from Lenovo are providing channel partners with new opportunities and easier conversations with customers, as David Heyworth tells Heather Wright.

David Heyworth is more than happy to showcase Lenovo’s latest offerings.

The director of product solutions and alliances for Lenovo enthusiastically whacks the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook against the table – with some force, I might add – to demonstrate its robustness.

Were it not for the fact we’re in a public cafe, I suspect he would be only too happy to pour water over the keyboard to showcase its ‘water ports’ which allow 250ml of fluid to be poured over the keyboard and safely run out.

The Windows 8 ThinkPad Tablet 2, due for release in October, is proudly displayed – albeit, not nearly as roughly – with the pint-sized ThinkCentre wireless desktop computer also pulled from Heyworth’s bag of tricks.

The company, which posted a 24.4% growth in PC shipments last fiscal quarter at a time when overall global PC shipments were down almost 2%, is currently the second ranked PC vendor in the world and fast closing in on HP’s top spot. “Next quarter we hope to have some fantastic news,” Heyworth proclaims.

But the company is focused not only on growing its traditional desktop and notebook markets, but also its newer domains of servers and tablets.

Storage plans are also on the cards, following the recent partnership deal with storage giant EMC. And Heyworth is adamant that the company will be taking channel partners along for the ride.

“For us, everything is about the channel. We’re 100% channel focused and we see Lenovo and the channel as partners. We want to help drive their business, support them and help make them successful – because that’s how we become more successful also.”

Late last year, the company appointed Synnex as its second New Zealand distributor, alongside Ingram Micro. “Both businesses have grown since then.”

Perfect storm

Heyworth says the ThinkCentre, a tiny, full performing desktop consuming 40% less power than a conventional PC, and capable of being conveniently secured to the underside of work desks, creates ‘the perfect storm for the desktop market”.

Just launched, the ThinkCentre has already had some ‘significant wins’ in New Zealand, he says, though details of the wins are still being kept under wraps. However, Heyworth says there has been substantial interest from the healthcare sector, along with policing and defence.

“This will create a huge market for the New Zealand reseller. There’s not another product on the market like it and many organisations have been putting off replacing their old PCs. This gives resellers a chance to go in and talk desktops.”

Meanwhile, he says the ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook, with a 14-inch screen, is ‘built for business’, particularly road warriors at an executive level, be they in SMB, enterprise or government. “Business needs tool, not toys,” he notes. “This is thin, lightweight and very, very strong.” Carbon fibre strong, in fact, with a rigid base and flexible monitor, and a battery which can handle 30 days of standby.

“From a partner’s point of view, this is about being able to go to the market and talk leadership, while making high margins on this product.

“We have been very, very successful in the high end of the market. In ANZ we dominate the high end market, and that is classic X1 Carbon territory.”

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s launch late last month marked the kick-off of the ThinkPad brand’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

When it comes to the ThinkPad Tablet 2, a 10.1-inch, 9.8mm offering, Heyworth is keen to stress a key differentiator is that it’s ‘not just for data consumption – this is for data creation as well.’

Heyworth says the tablet with its Windows 8 OS, may help resellers entice companies previously reluctant to use Android or iOS offering to make the jump. And resellers, he says, will be well placed to sell services such as device management and security, and make additional revenue, around the offering including device management and security.

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