Ashish Sikka- Lenovo -“Our channel partners offer more value to their customers”

Lenovo – the Chinese multinational technology company was instituted in 1984 in a guard shack in Beijing. Lenovo grew to become China’s leading PC Company, and later acquired IBM’s Personal Computing Division, which were the creators of the first PC.

Today, Lenovo is the most sought-after brand when considered for laptops. Also, according to a German market research company Gfk, Lenovo India registered a 202 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth in the financial year 2017-18, as reported in Economic Times.

In a candid conversation with DQ Channels Ashish Sikka, Director, SMB, Lenovo, India discussed Lenovo’s channel strategy and digital transformation impact on the vendor-partner relationship for 2018-19.

Lenovo’s market share in the Indian laptop market

According to the latest IDC report, Lenovo has a market share of 21.7 per cent, which ranks it among the top three players in the overall PC market. Ashish said, “An increased focus on social media engagement, coupled with strong initiatives for our channel partners, led to a 16.7 per cent growth year-on-year and 16.9 per cent growth quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2018.”

He believes that their efforts on enterprise-focused customer solutions with the new generation devices helped retain key accounts, which resulted in a 45.1 per cent year on year growth in the commercial segment as well.

GTM Strategies for Lenovo

For Lenovo, the ideal way for GTM strategy is to make it simpler for the end consumers to experience and then purchase the products. The Chinese technology company works with traditional channel partners, Large Format Retails as well as key E-commerce players to ensure their presence at every customer touch point.

Channel Ecosystem in Lenovo

Ashish further explained the channel ecosystem. He remarked, “We have a three-tier partner structure for our channel, which is standard across all markets. Each tier has differentiated offerings that help our partners grow to realize their full potential”.

“We have also introduced unique initiatives to increase our core partner base such as geographic or product exclusivity in distribution and customer account management in B2B through Tier 2 channel partners. Our channel ecosystem is comprised of commercial and distribution channels which sum up to 3,500 partners”.

Digital Transformation Impact on Vendor-partner relationship

The digital transformation in the country has led to a need for more innovation, a better understanding of growth areas and product requirements. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in the vendor-partner relationship to capture the expanding markets.

For Lenovo, channel partnerships are more important now than ever. Lenovo believes in empowering the partners to move up the value chain and become a solutions provider in their own right.

Ashish said, “We are constantly refining our channel programs to help onboard different kinds of partners and enable newer partners to go after what is important for them. We keep revisiting strategies every 12 to 24 months. We will continue to work very closely with our channel partners to tap the business opportunities as the country moves towards becoming a digitally driven nation, thereby ensuring that our channel partners offer more value to their customers”.

Future Road Map of Lenovo

Government initiatives like GST are creating opportunities for increased PC penetration in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. It is bridging the divide between the Tier-1 cities faster than the physical infrastructure. In Tier-1 cities, the phenomenon is more of a PC refresh led by enterprise mobility leading to Thin and light devices and load-sharing with enterprise Tablets as well.

The technology multinational is deeply involved in PC innovation with new form factors – Thin and Light, usage scenarios, collaborations etc. Lenovo will continue to leverage our innovation capability, and drive growth in fast-growing segments such as detachable, gaming PCs, millennial PCs, and workstations. It also aims to increase our penetration from 170 cities to 200 cities thereby extending our reach to smaller businesses. Additionally, it will leverage the channel reach to address end-customers, build the skill levels of channel partners and enhance the customer experience.

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