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Lenovo – Driving Innovation through Partnerships

Through centuries, partnerships have helped businesses shape their journeys and foster a spirit of collaboration, and it is IT’s new imperative.

Lasting Partnerships Are Engines of Growth

According to a McKinsey survey, business houses that actively collaborate with their peers tend to outperform those that don’t.

Businesses that have lasting partnerships fare well in a number of dimensions. They have an expanded market reach, and can penetrate newer markets easily. These businesses are the firsts to capture emerging markets, and are able to deliver their core services widely.

Tech-focused companies have, a long time, embarked on revenue-generating partnerships, reaching overlapping target audiences through partner networks. One of these companies is Lenovo whose colossal partner ecosystem is a template for the rest of the industry to follow.

On a Mission

Lenovo is frequently name-dropped in the Field Day presentations, and for good reason. A lot of the companies that come to the presentations are either innovation partners, resellers, or distributors with Lenovo.

Lenovo’s partner base constitutes all major tech companies – the likes of AWS, Google, Intel, AMD, Red Hat, and VMware. But an astounding number of lesser-known names also appear on the list indicating a progressive business vision.

So how did Lenovo come to have such a gigantic pool of partners? Lenovo has been expanding its network, gaining quality partners and driving groundbreaking innovations since 1984.

A Chinese tech company operating internationally, Lenovo made its early footprints with its line of laptops and workstations. When it comes to laptops, Lenovo has one of the broadest portfolios. Lenovo laptops strike a rare balance between design, performance and affordability which makes the brand a favorite of customers worldwide.

Capitalizing on its position in the electronics market, Lenovo diversified over and over, slowly foraging into enterprise IT. Today, a big part of its business subsists on data storage and IT solutions.

Infrastructure End-to-End

Stuart McRae, Executive Director and General Manager of Data Storage at Lenovo told Gestalt IT that one of Lenovo’s biggest ventures at present is the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG). ISG is Lenovo’s business unit for end-to-end datacenter solutions. “Storage is a critical part of that,” he said.

As a Fortune 500 company brushing shoulders with some of the top performers in tech, Lenovo sees immense potential in the storage market. As reams of data get produced across industries, digital businesses need as much storage as they can afford to save their data and squeeze value out of it. And Lenovo has all the intentions of being in the game as it happens.

With a predictable cash flow from its many successfully running business units, a glut of capital and a winning strategy, its next goal is to broaden the storage portfolio, and expand the partner ecosystem for delivering it.

Already the product line features many Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions. Adding to those, it is launching new ThinkSystem and ThinkEdge servers taking the portfolio to the next level.

Between the timeframe of 2017 and 2018, Lenovo pumped in a lot of investment to build up its ISG business. For the coming years, it has earmarked an investment worth $1 Billion to fund its AI initiatives which is in its second phase now. The result is a record growth in revenue.

Lenovo has recorded 5x growth in revenue since, says McRae. IDC reports that its storage revenue figure in the first quarter of 2023 is fourth globally.

Lenovo has been rated third worldwide in storage servers. In “Price Bands 1-4” category, IDC ranks it the storage provider.

While holding a dominant market share in North America, Lenovo holds its trajectory in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) markets too. The company has been ranked the top provider in the storage category in EMEA. It’s YoY revenue in the market surpasses those of its competitors, making it in the average growth category.

A Clear Advantage

What gives Lenovo advantage over so many of its competitors? It is its persistent focus on product economics. Lenovo’s storage solutions are meticulously priced with flexible OpEx and CapEx models. An example is the TruScale Infinite Storage. One of its key offerings, TruScale Infinite Storage offers enterprise storage on a flex pay-as-you-grow model, complete with rich features. Solutions like these help companies be on top of their storage expenses while availing best-in-class infrastructures.

Another big part of it is its robust partnership with companies in its ecosystem through whom a lot of the revenue comes. In the end-to-end infrastructure game with some of the toughest competitors, Lenovo capitalizes good relationships to reach a wider audience.

New Alliances

While many tech companies have fallen far in ranking facing the dire consequences of missed partnership opportunities, Lenovo has continued on strong, emerging bigger every year.

Recently, Lenovo has amped up effort to expand its partnership further by striking new alliances with a broad base of software companies. With WEKA, it has announced partnership to resell ThinkSystem servers with WEKA’s Data Platform software for data-heavy industries like genomics, life sciences, media and finance.

With Nutanix, Lenovo has been partners since 2015. Now its ThinkAgile HX Series comes powered with Nutanix’s cloud software delivering invisible infrastructure for multi-cloud.

Lenovo has also formed global strategic alliance with NetApp bringing innovation into storage and data management. The companies co-developed storage solutions combining Lenovo’s ThinkSystem infrastructure with NetApp’s all-flash data management solutions to power entry-level AI workloads.

Moreover, partnerships with companies like show how Lenovo resells its hardware with software vendors in the market.

Lenovo also commands a highly connected and robust supply chain that is the secret behind its swift logistics. Operating globally, Lenovo’s supply chain puts equipment on the ground anywhere in the world in record time.

In parallel to these, Lenovo is also continuing the work and commitment toward sustainability. Lenovo has been one of the early adaptors of sustainability in the industry. McRae informs that, for years, Lenovo has been practicing sustainability in the form of reducing impacts through local manufacturing and carbon reductions as part of CEO Yang Yuanqing’s net-zero goal. Additionally, the company offers broad DR capabilities in its products to ensure business continuity in places where extreme weathers cause frequent disruptions.

In Conclusion

Through innovations and breakthroughs with partners upstream, and distribution of products in native and foreign markets through partners downstream, Lenovo has created an exemplary value network that is the true force behind its success.

It goes to show that businesses operating in the same industry need not be overly competitive with each other to stay in the race. In fact, some of the biggest engineering feats in technology have been the result of strong collaborations between houses. As they say, two heads are better than one. If more companies can keep their ego aside and see opportunity where others see buyouts and acquisitions, businesses do not need to sideswipe each other off or squabble over the bigger market share. United, they can create a climate and culture of participation and shared values that promote new opportunities and fuel innovation, in the end, driving growth and revenue for all.

Be sure to check out Lenovo’s website for information on their new edge and AI releases, or catch the Gestalt IT Rundown that covers them in detail. Also check out this podcast that talks about Lenovo’s platforms for edge AI. For more stories like this one, keep reading here at Gestalt IT.

About the author

Sulagna Saha

Sulagna Saha is a writer at Gestalt IT where she covers all the latest in enterprise IT. She has written widely on miscellaneous topics. On she writes about the hottest technologies in Cloud, AI, Security and sundry.

A writer by day and reader by night, Sulagna can be found busy with a book or browsing through a bookstore in her free time. She also likes cooking fancy things on leisurely weekends. Traveling and movies are other things high on her list of passions. Sulagna works out of the Gestalt IT office in Hudson, Ohio.

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