One of the big questions around the Lenovo acquisition of the IBM System X portfolio was how it would evolve its existing channel to cope with a new customer base. At the time of the acquisition, IBM and Lenovo already shared many partners based on Lenovo’s previous acquisitions of IBM business units. What wasn’t clear was how many of the larger IBM partners would now stay with Lenovo and System X and how many would stay with IBM and transition to the Power 8 partner programme.
This new partner programme called the Lenovo Service Provider Program is focused on cloud and managed service providers (MSPs). According to the press release there are four key elements:
- Access to technology and lower acquisition costs to increase IT availability. Qualified Lenovo Service Provider Program enrollees will be eligible to purchase systems at a discount directly from distributors.
- Options to help improve profitability and cash flow. Lenovo’s Kickstart programme allows service providers to defer payments for up to 120 days, while its Rent & Grow programme mirrors IT payments to usage. A Trade-In programme for eligible products is also available to assist in recovering capital from currently installed assets.
- Avenues to accelerate cloud services and time-to-revenue. Lenovo offers dedicated Express solutionsand reference architectures along with special rate incentives on Enterprise Solutions Services to enable rapid infrastructure deployment.
- Unique access to co-marketing funds. Co-Marketing and Business development funds to further invest in company growth.
Many of these partners will have been part of IBM’s cloud, security and other specialist partner programmes. As such, they will not only be bringing expertise to Lenovo but also a lot of large enterprise customers. The challenge for Lenovo will be in ensuring that this programme delivers positive benefits in its next quarterly earnings report, something that will be watched closely by analysts.