Lenovo is working with partners to fulfill the demand created by COVID-19.
Rumours of the death of the PC market have been greatly exaggerated, according to the Lenovo EMEA channel chief.
In fact, Fiona O’Brien points to a resurgence in PC sales this year, with users transitioning to home working.
“Industry analysts have been calling the death of the PC for as long as I’ve been in the PC business. But Lenovo passionately believes that our reading of the market is correct,” she said.
O’Brien’s comments follow Lenovo COO Gianfranco Lanci’s prediction this week of a nearly 300 million total PC market in 2021. That equates to additional growth of 20-30 million devices, he said.
Instead of a dying PC market, we are seeing the resurgence of it, said O’Brien.
“How it will be used may be different; how we deliver it and service those customers may change. But the fact is there is an inherent demand that needs to be fulfilled.”
The channel exec said Lenovo had an extremely strong first quarter, “despite the strange dynamics going on in the market.”
‘Pockets’ of Shortages
Nevertheless, O’Brien acknowledges that COVID-19 has created industry shortages, in the PC market especially.
“Demand escalation has occurred in pockets of the business that wouldn’t have been forecast to grow as quickly. So that has resulted in shortages … and we’re working to try and mitigate that with our business partner community. Distribution in particular plays a strong role in helping us mitigate the impacts. But there are pockets of the market that have some shortages that we have to work our way through.”
However, O’Brien also said that Lenovo has largely avoided the supply chain problems associated with a surge in customer demand. She said with 30 manufacturing sites around the world, Lenovo could “pivot very quickly through the crisis.”
She also revealed a new manufacturing plant opening in Hungary next week, to “help us better serve our European customers.”
Change in Partner Compensation
Irene Acedo-Rico, EMEA executive, is director of sales, Enterprise Business Group at Lenovo. She noted that both Lenovo’s PC and smart devices (PCSD) business and Data Center Group (DCG) are “channel-centric” organisations.
“It’s not just channel-friendliness, it is centricity; the business partners are at the heart of our ecosystem.”
Neil Berville, executive director, sales channel management and alliances at Lenovo EMEA, signalled a forthcoming change in partner engagement.
“We’re recognising and rewarding more know-how and expertise,” he said. “On the PC side, we have now expert programmes around our workstation and smart collaboration products. These are where traditionally the rewards back were geared by just the size of the business. Now they are geared by partners bringing know-how, where there’s presales, the ability to demonstrate and build those solutions. Those capabilities bring more rewards.”
Acedo-Rico added that the data center side of the business was “investing heavily” in partner certifications.
“Last quarter we had 1,500 partners going through our certifications, in cloud, analytics, for sure technical sales and sales, and storage.”
Additionally, O’Brien said that following feedback from partners, the firm is trying to facilitate better partnering across the Lenovo stack. She said Lenovo wants to help partners develop end-to-end solutions across both PCSD and DCG.
“You will see that played out … where we enable and reward those partners who sell the full Lenovo portfolio,” she said. “That’s an important development that we will bring to market over the course of the next few weeks.”