Lenovo is to offer partners higher rebates and new accelerator programs in an effort to ramp up its services momentum.
As part of its upcoming Lenovo 360 Partner Program, the Chinese vendor plans to offer partners 30 per cent higher rebates on sales spanning products, solutions and as-a-service sales.
Known as ‘Better Together’, the rebate will sit under ‘Program’, one of the three key pillars of the Lenovo 360 scheme.
Also under the ‘Program’ umbrella will be new accelerators called TruScale, which will reward partners for as-a-service sales and Solution Sales Rewards, an additional accelerator program for partners who sell any of Lenovo’s outcomes-based solutions across all three business groups.
Launching in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) in July, the initiatives are aimed at spurring partners on to offer services such as support, deployment, asset recovery and managed services in response to increased customer demand.
Speaking to ARN and Reseller News, Sunny Gandhi, Lenovo’s A/NZ head of commercial channel and distribution, said: “We have started focusing heavily on our services business because it has grown so big, and it needs a dedicated focus. Customers do not just want the box; they want the end-to-end solutions.
“We want to incentivise partners to sell these end-to-end solutions, not just the end product.”
The Lenovo 360 program was first announced last year and is designed to help partners sell a wider array of Lenovo solution, spanning its intelligent devices and data centre infrastructure businesses
As well as the Program element, Lenovo 360 will now also encompass two other pillars: People and Tools.
“This is a global framework that allows us to scale customised channel programs that will benefit the partners locally,” Gandhi explained. “They are looking for new ways to expand their business through incremental revenue streams.
For Gandhi, who was named Lenovo A/NZ channel chief last December, the 'People' element carries the most personal attachment. As such, Lenovo A/NZ has vowed to provide regional partners with "specialist and generalised" support through a single point of contact.
According to Gandhi, feedback from partner councils revealed that a single source of support was one of the strongest areas of focus for the channel community.
To support this, the vendor has appointed three new channel managers in Australia: Mayur Baruah, A/NZ channel manager, Cheryl Sullivan, A/NZ channel inside sales manager, and Luke Skinner, A/NZ distribution manager.
Meanwhile, under the 'Tools’ pillar, Lenovo has launched an upgraded self-service tool to enable partners to configure and confirm pricing for a range of services. This will launch in the second half of this year.
This will also include all Lenovo’s marketing assets in one place for the entire Lenovo operation, spanning all three business units.
“We want to make it easier to work with us,” Gandhi explained. “We want the quote turnaround times to be faster.”
In addition, under ‘Tools’ the vendor will now offer solutions to help partners sell sustainably, providing environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related offerings like asset recovery and CO2 offset services.
Th program revamp follows Lenovo’s recent restructure of its business into three distinct units: the first of these was ‘Solutions and Services’, which includes its device-as-a-service offering and managed services.
The other units consisted of its ‘smart’ internet of things (IoT) offerings named the Intelligent Devices Group (IDG), while its Data Centre Group was rebranded to the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG).
However, while the restructuring has created these key areas of distinction, Gandhi said the new program is designed to encourage partners to expand their offerings.
“Lenovo 360 is open to all partners in A/NZ,” he explained. “If partners are happy with what they’re doing with us today, so for example if they are just selling end-user compute, we are happy to continue that relationship.
“But if the partners want to grow their revenue streams and be a bit more profitable, this is where this program helps. They can now work with us on various aspects of the business.”
According to Matt Codrington, MD of Lenovo A/NZ, the new program reflects the IT community’s progression towards ‘everything-as-a-service” model.
“Lenovo 360 seizes the opportunity to equip partners with the tools, programs and expertise to deliver solutions that reflects the full spectrum of their customer needs, from device, to infrastructure, to services, including the need to ensure our program and initiatives allows us to collaborate more closely with partners to tackle sustainability and ESG goals,” he said.
Lenovo currently has up to 3,500 partners trading with it quarterly across A/NZ and works locally with the distributors Ingram Micro, Dicker Dtaa and Synnex – now part of Tech Data.
According to Gandhi, the vendor has no plans to shake up its regional distribution or its existing tier structure of Platinum, Gold and Silver.
However, speaking of A/NZ partner opportunities, Gandhi said public sector was showing significant growth.
Lenovo embarked on a major push into both federal and state government spaces since 2019 when it appointed Michael Cefai as regional sales manager enterprise for Australia.
In the time since then, Lenovo has won a $60-million end-user contract with the ACT government and also recently joined hardware panels for the South Australia and Western Australia state governments.
According to Gandhi, the vendor now has 70 per cent market share in Victoria for education, with all of those transactions carried out by partners.
“I have spoken personally to partners about this, and they are very excited to work on these state panels,” he said. “Lenovo is undergoing a service-led transformation. And we are working with the partners who supply the public sector to understand and engage what their service capabilities are. Most of them are big partners in Australia and New Zealand.”