Lenovo and SAP Expand/Extend Partnership

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.  January 27, 2016

I recently wrote about dour and largely incorrect analyst pronouncements concerning strategic IT industry partnerships. It isn’t that questioning vendor relationships is wrong in principle. In fact, new and untried efforts should be able to stand up to serious enquiries. But the analysis of longstanding partnerships should also properly weigh what the parties have achieved, which is often a precursor to additional success.

That’s a relevant point when considering the announcement by Lenovo and SAP about expanding their longstanding strategic partnership. As a result, the companies will:

  • Strengthen joint execution, including developing cloud solutions for the Chinese market,
  • Explore new innovations between Lenovo’s enterprise systems and SAP’s HANA in-memory solutions. This includes SAP using Lenovo systems to power its SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud platform,
  • Jointly executing global go-to-market programs, including showcasing new solutions at Lenovo Enterprise Innovation Centers in Stuttgart, Germany, Morrisville, N.C., and a soon to be opened center in Beijing, China, and
  • Lenovo also noted that it has shipped over 5,000 servers optimized for SAP HANA and recognizes SAP as its own preferred ERP provider. The company estimates that implementing SAP solutions internally has resulted in a 45X improvement in reporting performance and a 50X improvement in data loading.

Final analysis

Every partnership carries some history, and the one between Lenovo and SAP is both rich and complex. The relationship actually began some years before Lenovo acquired IBM’s System x Intel-based server group in October 2014. Prior to that, IBM System x solutions had played a significant role in the evolution of SAP HANA. That was, in part, because of the company’s industry-leading eX memory technologies/capabilities, a factor that led System x to a leadership position in SAP HANA solution sales.

Since then, Lenovo has extended the innovative qualities of System x offerings with its own X6 mission critical solutions, its preferred platform for SAP HANA and other big data and analytics technologies. The fact that SAP has decided to base its own SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service on Lenovo systems attests to the proven value and performance of these solutions, as does Lenovo’s robust sales of SAP HANA-focused solutions.

This latest partnership expansion also underscores a point that arose during the System x acquisition process – how Lenovo’s strong position in Asia could eventually enhance its own and partners’ fortunes in those markets, particularly China. Lenovo’s planned Innovation Center in Beijing should provide a popular stage for spotlighting its solutions, including those leveraging SAP HANA. In fact, Lenovo’s Innovation Center investment is likely to deliver broadly positive returns for the company and myriad partners, including SAP.

Overall, this announcement offers proof that imaginative vendors can continue to grow and enhance strategic partnerships years after they were originally established. Things change, constantly and inevitably, and the companies that succeed are those which fully embrace the evolutionary process. In that way, Lenovo and SAP reflect the value found in many other parts of the larger IT industry which gains as much or more through incremental progression as it does from breakthrough developments.

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