From The Editor | April 21, 2010

Lenovo Launches MSP initiative, Partners With Ingram Micro On Broadband


By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

So with a hard stop pending for a flight back out of Miami, Jay McBain, Lenovo's director of SMBs, Americas, still made time to talk with his full enthusiasm about Lenovo's presence at Autotask CommunITy Live and its newfound dedication to MSPs that so successfully target the SMB market. "Its not a coincidence that we're the only PC company here," says McBain. "We really spent the last year listening, and we weren't blown away by what we heard." He further explains that while managed service companies such as Autotask were built to listen and adjust to the input of their community, but hardware companies were not. "We had the mindset, build it and they will come. We are changing that." To achieve that, Lenovo has recognized the role of SMBs in the marketplace, and is targeting MSPs to reach them.

First, the vendor has rolled out the new Lenovo server built for use by MSPs. The ThinkServer TS200v starts at only $379 and fully configured with advanced configurations and manageability for $649, meaning it is designed to plug right into RMM tools that MSPs use today. "It is intended to be the SMB entry server, but it is manageable right out of the box." The goal, says McBain, was to deliver a usable server that was affordable (this server is more than $1,000 less than past comparable appliances from Lenovo). "It is what the community told us they needed, and it is purpose built to meet those needs," says McBain.

The community also told Lenovo is wanted simplicity – not just in products but in channel programs. So, the company has streamlined the program options, allowing partners to stack six programs to achieve as much as 20% margins. The goal, says McBain, is to drive partners to balance their IT organization between hardware, software, and services.

Lastly, McBain shared some news set to roll out at the Ingram Micro VTN event later this week. Can you say connectivity? Well, with many VARs and MSPs alike shunning involvement in the mobility craze that has hit around the world, Lenovo wants to encourage them to get involved. A new program with Lenovo and Ingram Micro will allow VARs to capture the activation on mobile devices ($100), encouraging the channel to get more involved with mobile devices. All this, says McBain, is about finding ways to help the channel adjust as technology fuels change.

If you are interested in McBain's outlook on the evolving impact of technology, check out his blog.