As Lenovo sets its sights on knocking HP off its PC throne, its channel partners are set to come along for the ride, facing new growth opportunities not only in the traditional notebook and desktop market but also within Lenovo's newest stomping grounds - the server and tablet markets.
Fresh off a new partnership with storage giant EMC, Lenovo is aiming to bolster its ThinkServer offerings in the SMB space, a move that Chris Frey, Lenovo's North American channel chief, said will largely benefit partners.
Lenovo's server push not only will arm partners with the ability to offer an end-to-end Lenovo solution but also give them a new choice to offer customers in the SMB or lower-end server space, a market that is sparse compared to the enterprise.
"I think our partners need a choice on the low end of the [server] market, because I'm not sure everybody wants to play there. We do," Frey said. "We want to play there, we want to grow there and we want to earn the right in that marketplace before we even consider moving up the scale."
Tablets, especially those based on Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS like Lenovo's new ThinkPad Tablet 2, also offer a new opportunity for partners. Windows 8 may prompt users who have been reluctant to buy an Android or iOS tablet to finally make the jump for a product like the ThinkPad Tablet 2, thanks to the integration within their overall Windows-based environments.
Windows 8, which is set to launch in October, will make it easier for Lenovo partners to position tablets as being complementary to their clients' larger Windows ecosystems, affording them the opportunity to swoop in and help establish full client device management platforms to help IT teams monitor and secure these devices.
Frey made it clear that while Lenovo will continue to build a strategy around tablets, it won't ever fully replace the Think-branded notebooks and desktops that have become the company's bread and butter.
"We need to adapt to the market and be able to bring new technologies to the market, but we will not bank our future on tablets," Frey said. "But we will have the best tablet on the market."