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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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May 19, 2011 |

Execs Highlight ‘Protect and Attack’ Strategy at Lenovo’s First North American Channel Partner Summi

At Lenovo Accelerate 2011 in Vegas this week, executive keynotes outlined the company’s business strategy and emphasized its commitment to its partners.

At Lenovo Accelerate 2011 in Las Vegas this week, Lenovo executives outlined the company’s “protect and attack” strategy, which includes keeping all SMB business entirely through the channel as part of Lenovo’s transactional model. †85 percent of Lenovo’s business is through the channel, with the other 15 percent attributed to direct enterprise accounts.

“We aim for sustainable success, not just the short term,” said Yuanqing Yang, Lenovo’s CEO, during his keynote address. “We protect our core business in global markets, commercial markets, and China. We attack to gain share in emerging markets, like consumer SMB and the mobile internet.” According to Yang, Lenovo’s channel business outgrew the market every quarter over the last fiscal year.

This “protect and attack strategy” is delivered on top of what Yang calls the core strength of Lenovo – the company culture. A recurring theme throughout the conference was the mantra “We do what we say and we own what we do.” This type of ownership, as explained during the keynote from Rory Read, president and COO of Lenovo, is a base that puts customers and partners first.

Yang also outlined lofty plans for the next five years. “We have a bold new mission to become one of the world’s leading PC companies over the next five years,” he said. “We should work closely on planning. We need to understand what you hope to achieve and how we can help you accomplish your goals.” Yang promised that Lenovo will provide more training for channel partners and build better relationships.

Within this five year plan, Lenovo is committed to not creating channel conflict, according to Read.

“We can do great things for our customers,” said Read, “with Lenovo creating high-quality, reliable, innovative products at a great value, wrapped with your solutions and capabilities. You’re not going to see Lenovo acquire a large services arm to compete with you.” This not-so-subtle dig at HP had channel partners applauding in the audience.

Channel chief Chris Frey explained this concept further in his keynote address. “Lenovo does not compete with your services business,” he said. “We offer a services strategy for channel partners to take advantage of – around the box service, services like warranties. We know what we’re good at.”

According to Frey, over the past year, Lenovo cut down its partner programs from 25 programs to six, thanks to feedback from its channel partners, and will continue to tweak its programs based on partner feedback. The channel chief also noted that it’s this commitment to listening to partners that sets Lenovo apart from the competition.

“With the ‘channel first’ strategy, every manufacturer says the same thing,” he said. “We have to earn the right every day and we aren’t going to take it for granted that we invited you [to Lenovo Accelerate 2011]. We’re going to earn [the right] with you and build these relationships.”

Among this positivity, the executives also discussed the negatives of the past and the future.

“There are clearly challenges in the marketplace,” said Read. He listed the economic downturn, consumerization in the marketplace, where customers purchase products, and cloud computing, with audience members nodding in agreement, particularly at consumerization. “What we see in challenges are opportunities for us to come together and make a difference. We don’t see these as threats. We see these as opportunities to wrap your great solutions and our products. Not only to build the brand, but to build the product set that addresses that consumerization.”

A key part of Lenovo’s strategy is to maintain the integrity and strength of its products, while increasing the consumer appeal for business models. While the products are not designed for consumer purchase, the executives noted that the buying decisions in SMBs are made by people, who are consumers themselves.† And users are using their computers for more than just work, so computers are being designed for businesses with consumer features in mind.

Dr. Peter Hortensius, senior VP of the Think product line, highlighted the product line’s increasing reliability and efficiency during his keynote. According to Hortensius, the repair rates have declined each year, to the benefit of channel partners.

“Failing less means less service calls,” he said. “There are fewer returns and exchanges, and fewer customer service escalations.” Hortensius added that with channel partners being more confident in their products, they’ll be able to sell Lenovo products better.

Read also addressed how product quality factors into channel strategy in his keynote. “Our customers love our products, they trust our products,” he said. “We are not going to turn our back on the product. We want you to wrap it with the solutions and services that make the value for the customer.”

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