IBM Lenovo deal rewards VARs

IBM Lenovo deal rewards VARs

Rob Tomlin looks at the benefits the channel stands to gain as a result of the latest collaboration between IBM and Lenovo

In January, the industry saw both IBM and Lenovo collaborate beyond standard client computing. IBM announced plans to work with Lenovo to license its one- and two-way System X servers, which are to be branded Lenovo.

IBM is giving Lenovo a leg-up in the x86 market, providing it with the kit to continue its focus on the SME market ­ a sector that Lenovo has demonstrated it can more than crack with the right products.

The collaboration will also allow IBM to refocus its time and effort in the areas where it adds real difference and competitive advantage.

With the first product due in the fourth quarter this year, a similar distribution and channel model to today’s will be used: Lenovo will partner with those organisations that can demonstrate SME specialism and, as with PCs and workstations, products will be well marketed and packaged to this market.

From a distributor’s point of view this announcement is great news; for those that already deal with Lenovo, the announcement provides them with an immediate incremental revenue stream. Resellers and integrators can now offer Lenovo PCs, workbooks, workstations and servers ­ a more rounded SME proposition from Lenovo.

Julian Fielden, managing director of OCF, IBM’s number-one high-performance computing (HPC) integrator and Lenovo reseller, was excited by this latest proposition.

He said IBM and Lenovo clearly have a close business understanding. Lenovo’s move to market servers incorporating IBM-licensed technology should help to accelerate the increased adoption of HPC clusters, especially in the SME space where Lenovo has market strength.

Cannibalisation and confusion are words I have seen used to describe this deal. That could not be further from the truth. IBM and Lenovo have gone to great lengths to discuss this proposition with distributors and reseller partners.

IBM is strong in the value space and from a volume perspective Lenovo brings all the capabilities it has in the PC line to the server line.

This collaboration represents two very different markets, two very different approaches and two very large opportunities for all players in the channel chain.

Rob Tomlin is sales director at Interface Solutions International.