It's conference season. Just this week I've been invited to four of them. Let's see first there was Lenovo (more on them later), then Citrix, then SAP and now Avaya. And, all these shows are happening at the same time in mid-May.
I will be attending the Lenovo Channel Conference in Las Vegas, but it will not be the only event Lenovo is hosting. The company has another conference in Miami strictly for distributors and Direct Market Resellers. The Las Vegas conference will be for solution providers focused on the SMB. That's Lenovo sweet spot.
According to Dave Stephens of Lenovo Canada, the company wants to be viewed as a relevant player in the channel since 80 per cent of its business is indirect. At the conference, Lenovo will outline its go-to-market strategy with partners. Stephens said that “Lenovo wants to be simple, predicable and consistent so they can make plans along side their channel partners. “What we don't want to be is seen as we’re coming out of left field,” he said.
Stephens did not tip his hand as to specifics coming out of the conference, but he did say that Lenovo will reduce the number of programs and tailor them just for the SMB space. No shocker, but its good to know your role when it comes to channel business.
Stephens added that the company expects about 400 solution providers at the Las Vegas event, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. That kind of attendance doesn’t seem like much compared to other vendors, but it’s about the same as the Juniper Partner Conference I just attending in Arizona and keep in mind this is Lenovo's first kick at the can.
Lenovo CEO Rory Reid will be on hand for a keynote and breakout sessions. This session will outline how partners can make money with Lenovo. I will see if I can attend that one.
Having the CEO at a channel event is extremely important because channel executives appreciate when the CEO shows up and they get very boisterous when they don't (IBM). Stephens did not want to reveal who the guest speaker would be, but CDN later learned that it’s NFL Hall of Famer John Elway of the Denver Broncos.
I will have more from the show floor starting May 15th. Make sure to click on www.computerdealernews.com.