Chinese vendor Lenovo has unveiled some changes to its partner programme as it looks to scale even more across Europe and launch what it calls its Channel 2.0 phase.
The firm is also hoping to get closer to business partners through its portal, and help them get closer to their own customers through analytics.
It has created a new entry-level partner category – Accredited – aimed at the smaller channel partner, and offering them direct access to rebates and Lenovo sales support.
It is also set to launch a brand new Platinum level in the near future, adding to the existing Premium and Gold tiers in its ONE Channel programme.
And finally it has taken the wraps off a new initiative, Star Seller, that will offer incremental bonuses in product areas that it feels are driving industry growth.
Pascal Bourguet, EMEA vice president of channel at Lenovo (pictured below) told Channelnomics Europe sister publication CRN at the Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona: "Lenovo is a 'category creation' company, particularly with the launch of our Yogabook product. A lot of vendors are saying that at the moment, but we really are doing it. Innovation and engineering is a part of Lenovo, and we want to evolve our relationships with business partners from a traditional buy/sell model to a more strategic planning type role. We are calling it Channel 2.0."
He said the firm has big plans to drive sales through its business partner portal as well and is looking for more partners across western Europe and the UK.
"At the moment 15 per cent of sales are through the portal, but by next year we are aiming for 40 per cent," he said. "This way we will be able to analyse the shopping behaviour of those customers with our partners and stay ahead. We are investing heavily in this initiative."
At the higher end of the spectrum in the server space, Bourguet said Lenovo had worked hard to establish relationships with the right partners such as SAP, Nutanix, VMware and Microsoft to ensure it can continue to bring innovation to the datacentre.
He said the biggest challenge facing vendors was ensuring their partners were happy.
"It is about having a set of services and making sure business partners are happy with the tiering," he said. "The biggest difficulty that most PC vendors have is to evolve the different business partners within the different tiering levels. It is always challenging."
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