Lenovo Launches First Partner Program for Cloud/MSPs

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.  January 28, 2015

Lenovo announced its first partner program for cloud and managed service providers (MSPs). Effective immediately, the Lenovo Service Provider Program is designed to deliver streamlined channel engagement processes that offer advantages, including competitive prices, unique financing plans, and the ability to choose solutions from Lenovo’s large and diverse product portfolio.

Specific details and benefits include:

  • Qualified Lenovo Service Provider Program enrollees will be eligible to purchase systems at a discount directly from distributors.
  • Lenovo’s Kickstart program allows service providers to defer payments for up to 120 days, and its Rent & Grow program mirrors payments to IT usage. A Trade-In program for eligible products is also available to help customers recover capital from installed assets.
  • Lenovo dedicated Express and FlexPac solutions along with special rate incentives on Enterprise Solutions Services aim to enable rapid infrastructure deployment.
  • Lenovo is offering qualified partners business development funds to assist in company growth along with Lenovo vouchers that may be used for certifications to improve x86 technical skills.

According to Lenovo, as cloud technologies become increasingly attractive to complex business processes, service providers must develop and implement innovative approaches to enable flexible infrastructure integration, reduce IT sprawl and expenses and enhance service quality. The Lenovo Service Provider Program is specifically designed to help address these challenges.

The pitch

Lenovo’s new program and offerings will expand innovative solutions, opportunities and momentum for cloud and managed service providers.

Final analysis

The IT industry is so fixated on technical wizardry that how vendors effectively develop markets and create demand for their solutions is often regretfully ignored. Why regretful? Because without such efforts, chances are very good that today’s leading technology will be tomorrow’s missed opportunity and next year’s bit of IT trivia.

In fact, the history of technology contains a plethora of exploded miracles and forgotten contenders so it is interesting to see the steps that Lenovo is taking to ensure that it avoids such unfortunate outcomes. How does it accomplish this? In several ways. First, the company firmly understands what its cloud and MSP partners want. That includes flexible financing and purchase options, like the Kickstart and Rent & Grow programs, which allow SPs to cost-effectively adopt Lenovo solutions and adapt them to their requirements.

But the company is also tangibly helping partners build their businesses in terms of go-to-market funding, lead generation, business development and technical support. That may not seem like a big deal, especially for large-scale SPs that can and do their own markets. But for small to medium sized players, including regional and industry-focused companies, it can mean the difference between muddling along and solid success.

Even more important is that unlike some other vendors, Lenovo plans to make these features available to all of its cloud and MSP customers, not just cherry-pick desirable partners or reserve premium benefits for bigger players alone. That strategy should effectively make Lenovo’s a multi-dimensional value proposition for customers of every sort that extends far beyond its commercial hardware and service offerings.

Finally, remember that this new program, the first that Lenovo announced since it completed its acquisition of IBM’s System x organization and products, arrives just a week after the company delivered new Flex System solutions for Private Cloud and VDI. These may not specifically be of interest to a large number of cloud and MSP customers but they complement the new partner program and represent an admirable uniformity of vision that recognizes the continuing dynamism and value of these markets.

Overall, the Lenovo Service Provider Program looks to be both well-designed and well-intended, and appears differentiated enough to separate it from many or even most competitors. Simply put, by placing cloud and MSPs first, the company is helping to ensure that those partners think of Lenovo first when they are contemplating new or updated systems. As a result, Lenovo’s Service Provider Program should qualify as a textbook case of how to successfully build and sustain new markets.

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