PC and data center hardware maker Lenovo has introduced a suite of managed services for SMB users of Microsoft 365.
Called Lenovo Managed Services and billed monthly, the new offerings are sold through partners but delivered directly by Lenovo technicians. They’re designed to help businesses with few to no in-house IT resources implement, manage, and secure Microsoft 365 applications like Teams, Outlook, and OneDrive.
“There’s no denying the operational benefits companies can reap when incorporating Microsoft 365 into their business. However, SMBs may not have the time, resources or budget they need to be able to effectively manage these tools. Lenovo Managed Services offers a solution that does the heavy lifting for them so they can affordably maximize the potential of their Microsoft 365 platform and ultimately do more with less,” said Jie Yu, vice president and general manager of global IDG services at Lenovo, in prepared remarks.
Channel pros who sell Lenovo Managed Services receive margin on subscription fees and are eligible for additional rebates and incentives. At present, the product is available exclusively through channel partners via the Lenovo Cloud Marketplace. Though direct sales to end users will begin later this year, the company says, partners will remain the offering's "central route to market."
Built to Microsoft specifications, Lenovo Managed Services contains two specific offerings. The CSP (as in “cloud solution provider”) Managed Services program includes one-time services like onboarding users, migrating data, and configuring applications plus ongoing 24/7 technical support and license management assistance.
The Endpoint Managed Services offering combines everything delivered through CSP Managed Services with automatic enrollment in Lenovo’s endpoint and security management service and use of Lenovo’s Endpoint 360° Dashboard, which provides consolidated real-time information on service requests, security notifications, and more for an entire fleet of devices. The package also includes access to Lenovo’s Premier Support and Premium Care break-fix support services and accidental damage protection for new Lenovo PCs.
Though none are available now, Lenovo plans to offer bundled solutions combining PC hardware with managed services in the future.
Lenovo Managed Services was unveiled in conjunction with Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference, which takes place today and tomorrow. It arrives at a time of rapidly growing interest in managed services among Microsoft partners, according to Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner organization.
“There’s a big pivot within our existing ecosystem to move to managed services because so many of the solutions enable the partners to deliver those managed services and to get to a better level of profitability through managed services,” said Schuster last week in a media briefing.
According to Lenovo, both of its new service offerings make jumping into the market for outsourced, subscription-priced IT assistance easier for channel pros without managed services capabilities of their own. They also provide a ready-made platform for creating solutions that combine Microsoft 365 support with a partner’s own value-added services.
CSP Managed Services launches in North America and Australia this month. Endpoint Managed Services debuts in those same locations in October. Lenovo plans to execute a phased rollout of the two programs elsewhere worldwide in 2021.
Lenovo competitors Dell and HP both offer proactive remote IT support, but those offerings focus exclusively on client hardware rather than Microsoft 365, like Lenovo’s new services.