Lenovo's UK&I GM talk ESG, pricing structures and what's next for the portfolio?

CRN asks Neil Sawyer about Lenovo's partner's pain points and where the vendor is investing to drive channel growth

clock • 5 min read
Lenovo's UK&I GM talk ESG, pricing structures and what's next for the portfolio?

How would you characterise the go-to market performance you've shared with your UK&I over the past 12 months? What are your highlights?

I would say most would describe the year as one filled with many new learnings and experiences.

What Lenovo has admired time and again is the ability of the UK&I channel to continually develop, adjust and springboard into new areas.

For our channel partnerships - our innovation in new Sustainability Services, development of new market/technology opportunities such as Smart Collaboration, building out our joint data centre and end-user compute portfolio - all together. As One.

And wrapping it into the great solutions, consultancy and services that our partners offer in security, management, consultancy and joint client engagement.

Have there been any updates to the Lenovo Partner Programme recently? 

Yes: we have refined the programme to focus on joint business development and rewards in Data Centre, Services and End User Compute.

Expanding our programme to develop new business opportunities, particularly in partnership with Microsoft is something we are really proud of.

The joint partner and customer engagement we have enjoyed has built trust and strong results in all sectors. This is underpinned by our strong ethos to work with our partners first.

95 per cent+ of Lenovo's business is via the channel. This is a statistic we will continue to grow, develop and improve on.

As journalists, we are certainly picking up on pricing as one of the hot button issues for the channel right now. Partners are telling us that with the UK's macro conditions they are feeling driven to raise prices. What is your view on this as a company? What kinds of conversations are you having with partners on this?  

We recognise that our channel partners are continually navigating many forces that will result in adjustments of their pricing structures to our joint customers.

As I always say, pricing fluctuations are a factor of a large number of things including; supply conditions, economic conditions and specific country/market conditions.

For example - the costs associated with upstream supply of materials, the cost to produce and ship goods and the transferred currency rates at key points in time. For a global supplier these play the biggest part.

Our channel partners are always operating in front of the customer. Often having challenging conversations.

Whilst fluctuations are inevitable each year, then it is essential that we provide the appropriate notifications, communications and joint partner/customer interactions when these events do arise.

By nature of our customer base - often in the enterprise, mid-market and publicly funded sectors, Lenovo recognises the need for timely engagement and communication.

The other element for any pricing adjustment is to offer alternatives - there are always solutions to these sensitivities. Communication, innovation and joint engagement aides us all finding these solutions.

As companies plan ahead, what are the most important decisions you think partners should consider making sooner rather than later? 

I read recently that around 25 per cent of all Home PC/Computing devices sold in the UK&I are sold under a services or long-term financial arrangement.

Developing continual engagement, stronger lifetime relationships and the ability to offer lifecycle services.

This intrigued me, as I feel we are at the tipping point as an industry of delivering a predictable business model based on computing device consumption, deployment and lifecycle management.

The conversation on circular/sustainable device deployment is growing in UK&I. Driven by the directional legislation that we see in other markets in the EU including France.

We see those partners who are building this proposition out in advance of customers specifically asking for it are the ones who will gain the competitive advantage in the market over the next 2-3 years.

What are the top challenges likely to shape your channel over the next 12 months, in your view? And how can Lenovo help?

Funding models and supply chain finance has changed quite considerably in the past few months. In terms of risk management through the channel.

Our joint customers are more considerate on what and how they are investing in technology. As a channel, we adapt to this and the key is to maximise the portfolio of solutions/services that we offer.

We show up as one partnership. And it is our job to support our partners in the adjusting financial conditions.

Accurately plotting our way through market conditions will ensure we deliver a robust method of managing supply and customer demand tightly.

What are the opportunities for you and your channel that you are most excited about?

Lenovo will continue to deliver and innovate many new devices, solutions and services for our channel partners. This provides endless opportunities to grow!

Innovations include our ESG focussed partner services enabling the UK&I channel to support net zero goals in public and private sector customer projects.

We recently announced an expanded range of security solutions under the brand name ThinkShield for our partners to combine into a world centred around mobility and company security.

Additionally, our new ThinkPhone by Motorola and rapid expansion of our Lenovo Data Centre proposition will see continued double-digit growth through the UK&I channel.

Our core market is performing welll and we offer huge opportunities to continue our grow together with our wider portfolio of channel orientated services and solutions.

And are there any upcoming changes to your partner programme or go-to-market strategy you would like partners to keep an eye out for?

We will keep developing our programme to focus on joint collaboration, investment and rewarding the behaviours centred around the wider Lenovo portfolio. From the pocket to the cloud.

You will hear more about this over the coming weeks from our team of talented partner managers.

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