By Chris Frey, Channel Chief, Lenovo North America
Quarterly earnings are a time for us to announce our successes and business updates – we recorded our highest ever worldwide market share of 14.0 percent, and have continued to focus on balanced growth across all geographies, customer segments and product lines. We continue to grow and for the ninth quarter in a row we grew faster than any of the top four PC manufacturers.
We know this growth is made possible in part by the strong relationships we have maintained with our channel partners and the hard work of many people. After every quarter we like to take the time to reflect on our activity in the channel and part of this is asking for feedback from our channel partners to understand your priorities and what you see as potential opportunities for revenue growth.
So we asked you what you thought and below are some of the key takeaways and information on how Lenovo plans to align our channel strategy with what our partners are looking for:
1. Many of our channel partners view penetration within specific verticals as the most direct path to unlocking new revenue streams.
Clearly our partners share our belief that the vertical markets are a key growth opportunity. In 2012, we at Lenovo intend to continue our focus on activating our channel partners in key verticals, including healthcare, education and SMBs. We have products optimized to address the unique needs of these industries. We plan to educate our partners to ensure they can communicate this message to their customers by providing industry-specific toolkits, programs and training, and increased presence at industry events.
2. Nearly half of the partners we spoke to (49 percent) identified cloud computing as a top business opportunity for 2012. Customers are moving beyond the exploratory stages of the cloud into implementation. Partners are working to provide them with the best hardware technology solutions to realize the operational efficiency gains promised.
It’s a fact: the cloud is here to stay. We recognize that and have made a commitment to delivering innovative cloud services and technology to help our customers unlock the potential of the cloud. Our “Personal Cloud” vision creates a seamless digital experience for customers across multiple devices. I personally agree with our customers who are voicing demands for data from all their devices to be synced and backed up to the cloud; it should all be available on any connected device; and it should be highly secure and easily accessible. We’re on our way there with the Personal Cloud vision.
3. Channel experts are expecting customers to show increased interest in the tablet form factor in 2012. More than 29 percent of respondents indicated customers were making tablet PC purchases to enhance their existing mobile computing environments.
We absolutely agree, with the caveat that the tablet is a great tool for consuming content and as a secondary device, but it will not replace the laptop. In 2012, we plan to continue to add features and capabilities to our ThinkPad and IdeaPad tablets, including support for Windows 8 when it becomes available, making tablets even more viable for business customers. We are also exploring new form factors, like our recently announced IdeaPad Yoga, a convertible Ultrabook laptop that doubles as a tablet. We will also be turning our focus towards our server portfolio and building out our workstation opportunities. So stay tuned!
We understand that a healthy relationship with our partners is based on mutual success. We are committed to delivering quality, innovative, in-demand products, along with programs that help our partners sell them. The success of our partners is our success – and in turn, their success contributes to our business and helps us reach milestones.
I also have a “save the date” to share – we hope you’ll join us on May 14, 2012 for the second annual North American partner conference. Stay tuned for more details.