Lenovo has launched a hardware-as-a-service offering it says will add flexibility to its channel by retaining current rebate arrangements and letting them offer an opex-driven consumption model to clients.
Dubbed “TruScale”, the new global program applies only to Lenovo’s ThinkSystem servers and ThinkAgile hyperconverged systems. The company is also working to bring the NetApp storage it sells as ThinkSystem DM and DE into the program.
TruScale is all about getting Lenovo into the “subscription economy” and sees the company install, own, monitor and repair devices installed for end-customers. End-customers can agree to certain consumption levels, or use the products as they see fit and even downscale to zero usage. Lenovo has cooked up a method to measure consumption by monitoring power usage, an arrangement it says will let it offer as-a-service pricing without ever touching customer data.
In an FAQ for partners sighted by CRN, Lenovo is at pains to tell its channel that the new offering won’t hurt a bit.
“Partners will continue to receive deal credit upfront (as CapEx equivalent) despite the recurring nature of the business offering,” the document says. There’s also an option to receive recurring rebates that reflect the as-a-service a model, or to mix things up.
“This enables our Partners to incentivize their sellers in any way that maps to their broader business objectives. Should Partners want to continue to recognize their margin upfront and pay their sellers as they always have, they can do that with Lenovo TruScale. If Partners are looking to shift their business to a recurring model, they can do that with Lenovo TruScale.”
The new model comes with a new role for Lenovo: the company will appoint “Customer Success Managers” who will “either be single point of contact for the end customers (involving or not involving the Partner, as desired by the Partner) or be the primary point of contact for the Partner (with the Partner directly engaging with the end customers).”
“Lenovo remains committed to enabling the partner to maintain primary relationship with the customer where desired,” the document says.
Lenovo’s server market share trails Dell EMC and HPE and its hyperconverged business trails those two firms, Cisco and Nutanix. Yet Dell EMC and HPE have had similar offerings in-market for quite some time. Lenovo is not only late to market, but in the throes of turning around its data centre group after initially failing to build a dedicated enterprise sales capability after acquiring IBM’s x86 server business in 2014.
TruScale looks like another tactic in that turnaround plan, with its plan to make the new opex-driven way of acquiring IT without also changing the way it compensates its channel a nice bridge between the two worlds.