Ashish Sikka, Director – Channel and SMB, Lenovo India speaks about Lenovo’s directions for SMBs and the IT channel industry
What have been the key highlights of 2019 and how will 2020 be an important year for the IT channel industry?
Digital transformation, digital workspaces, and security were the key highlights we saw in 2019 and we expect the momentum to go on in 2020. IDC recognised Lenovo India as the leader in the PC business in FY1920, having achieved an unprecedented market share of 33.7 per cent (FY YTD share as per IDC: FY1920 Q3). We are the only player in the market still committed to PC innovation with our trusted brands such as Think and Yoga, which are highly recognised in the industry and among customers.
As we move further, we observe that the Indian audience is very dynamic and so are their needs, ever-evolving. Keeping in pace with the evolving trends, Lenovo has focused on customer centricity as one of its core values.
In 2020, we shall leverage emerging technologies such as AI, cloud adoption, machine learning, and analytics to gain deeper customer insights, make data-driven improvements, and implement new initiatives. We expect to see more and more portable and fixed networks with local high-capacity that embed analytics and AI to transform the customer experience in 2020.
Can you tell us about the top three technology trends that the channel community should be betting on and why?
In 2020, limitless connectivity, full automation, and immersion into extended realities will inch closer than ever before, expanding horizons and shaping how humans harness smart technologies in the time of intelligent transformation. The top trends that the channel community shall look upon are Smart devices to meet core human needs, AR to move from fun to function and AI to enhance (and challenge) security.
Also, businesses will continue to roll out the next phase of 5G, to enable better employee productivity, machine efficiency and an increase in profitability at a rate 100 times faster than 4G. This shall help in innovating with purpose and solving the real human problems and challenges of today and in the future. These trends shall also enable better employee productivity, machine efficiency and an increase in profitability.
A key ongoing trend that businesses find themselves facing today is the shift from traditional B2B offline and linear buying journeys to digital and omnichannel expectations driven by buyers’ consumer experience. This is why we strive to be the technology partner that channels can trust to tackle the evolving business landscape.
What are the top channel directions your company has set for your partners and where should partners invest to be aligned with these directions?
Lenovo puts channel partners at the heart of its business. We are 100 per cent committed to listening, taking action and improving to build a true win-win partnership. With most of Lenovo’s shipments coming through our channel partners, we are committed to equipping our partners in the fight to stay relevant, as well as future proof their business. Few measures that we have set for our channel partners, enabling them to align in the right direction are as follows:
We understand the pain points of our channel partners. Channel partners in India cited that their biggest challenge is how margin pressures are impacting their profitability. We at Lenovo understand their challenges and provide extensive and customised programs, from incentives to rebates to co-marketing to help channel partners sell more and reap greater rewards, gain expertise, and receive support.
Despite their challenges in the face of an evolving business landscape, we want their experience with us to remain easy, seamless, and transparent and so we launched our AP LPP to streamline all engagements and operations with our channel partners into one single platform. This portal provides useful sales and management tools, as well as training and marketing content, allowing our channel partners to experience how Lenovo value adds in this partnership with just a single log-in. We are recognised as the leader in the PC business in India, and give our channel partners the market confidence to sell the Lenovo brand.