Lenovo Accelerate 2016, the company's channel partner conference, has grown rapidly over the past six years. The latest event, held this week in Orlando, has attracted more than 1,000 channel partners. Most of the chatter involves data centers and hyperconverged technologies.
But if you listen closely enough, there's also MSP chatter in the air. Thought leaders like Eric Townsend, director of SMB and MSP marketing at Intel, are on hand to educate partners about recurring revenue opportunities. And Lenovo is spending plenty of time promoting services that partners can wrap around the company's hardware.
Lenovo launched an MSP partner program for selected countries in January 2015. (We're checking to see how that program has evolved over the past year or so; stay tuned for article updates.)
Lenovo's interest in the MSP market stretches back nearly a decade. When ChannelEyes CEO Jay McBain was Lenovo's director of North America channel sales (2007-2009) and then director of SMB, Americas (2009-2010), the hardware company was an early MSP advocate. In fact, Lenovo designed a purpose-built server for MSPs way back in 2010 -- long before the company acquired IBM's x86 server business in 2014.
Lenovo, Intel MSP Experiments
Still, those early Lenovo MSP server efforts -- like similar initiatives at the time over at Intel -- were mostly experimental in nature. By 2013, Intel killed its own Intel Hybrid Cloud server and a related AppUp Small Business Service. Instead, Intel promoted vPro Technology as a way for MSPs to more effectively manage systems. That message certainly caught on.
Today, Intel has strong relationships with small business MSPs, thanks mostly to the efforts of Townsend. In addition to speaking at vendor events, he's also very active at HTG Peer Groups, a community that attracts hundreds of MSPs into a group-learning format.
And what about Lenovo's own MSP efforts? We're searching today for updates on the Lenovo MSP Partner Program. Plus.... sources say Lenovo could be making one or more hires with MSP know-how. Stay tuned for updates to this article.