If you were ranking the most revolutionary technology products of the past quarter century, the modern PC would have to be at or near the top of the list.
Early on, PCs were playthings for the technically inclined before businesses adopted them for productivity and workplace tasks. Continuing evolution and countless innovative developments helped bring modern PCs to where they are today: reliable, affordable, easy to use devices that are more akin to home appliances than they are to early personal computers.
Can the example of modern PCs be applied to other technologies? Certainly. In fact, that very point is central to the new Lenovo Turnkey Solutions that the company’s Solutions and Services Group (SSG) introduced recently at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo. Let’s consider the new offerings more closely.
The problem with business solutions
Finding and choosing IT solutions to best support business processes and industry-specific workloads is a continuing challenge for many organizations.
Why so? First, because of the sheer complexity of the process which requires sorting out numerous vendors’ technical, product and pricing details, as well as those of their chosen partners.
Next is determining configuration and deployment requirements, including what can be handled in-house and what requires expert assistance. Finally, comes management and maintenance plans, and hoping that the choices you make coincide with future events and unforeseen emergencies.
How would this process change if, instead, a vendor offered customers a simple checklist covering hardware, software and service requirements, then quickly delivered solutions based on those specifications? What would be different if, instead of countless performance and technical options, the vendor and its partners tested and validated solutions so they performed as promised out of the box? How would customers benefit if, instead of being presented a long list of contacts required for various hardware, software and peripheral issues, they were given a single contact for answers to all technical support questions?
In other words, how would business customers and the acquisition process benefit if purchasing solutions were as simple as buying a PC?
Lenovo’s new Turnkey Solutions
That is the question that Lenovo SSG intends to answer with the company’s Turnkey Solutions. The six initial offerings fall into three groups:
- Immersive Education: All-in-one virtual reality (VR) solutions for education
- Immersive Design and Engineering: Solutions supporting photorealistic image quality for advanced design processes with network participation
- Purpose-Built Infrastructure
- Backup and Recovery: Enterprise-class backup and recovery and software-defined secondary data storage solutions
- Seismic Modeling and Geotechnical Computing: High-performance virtual workstation solutions that enable accelerated geotechnical workflows
- Workplace Productivity
- SMB Office in a Box: Right-sized solutions supporting office infrastructures for small- to medium-sized businesses
- Mobile Workforce: Solutions enabling employees to access corporate applications and data from anywhere, on any device
In addition, the company is providing tools to ease and streamline decision-making for solution acquisition and support:
- Turnkey Solution Builder: A simplified web-based questionnaire that helps customers rapidly determine recommended hardware, software and service configurations for specific solutions and use cases
- Turnkey Solution Support: A “single point of contact” for technical support to address customers’ questions about hardware, software and services related to Lenovo Turnkey Solutions
Consistent with Lenovo’s recent Everything-as-a-Service announcement, businesses will have the option to purchase Turnkey Solutions as-a-service, paying on a monthly contract or to buy them outright with a single one-time payment.
In essence, Lenovo’s new Turnkey Solutions are designed to make the acquisition, ownership and support of complex business IT solutions as simple, predictable, reliable and cost-effective as buying PCs.
So how do Lenovo’s new offerings stack-up against its aims? Very well, for several reasons. First, as the longtime leader in worldwide PC sales, the company knows a lot about how simplifying complex configuration, purchasing and support processes can increase client engagements and customer satisfaction. Employing “simple as buying a PC” concepts to complex business solutions would be quite a stretch for many or even most vendors but not for Lenovo.
Second, the company has one of the broadest portfolios of any end-to-end solutions vendor. Its business hardware products range from smart phones to tablets to point of sales (POS) devices to laptops and desktops to portable and fixed workstations to servers, storage arrays, networking gear, HCI appliances and supercomputers.
In other words, when Lenovo claims to be able to offer solutions supporting high performance, highly technical or “accessible from anywhere” requirements, it has the goods to back-up those claims. Clearly, not all of its formidable hardware arsenal is being applied to the half dozen initial Turnkey Solutions, but it is worth considering how other Lenovo innovations might be employed in the future.
Finally, it is worth considering how Lenovo’s strategic partnerships will impact its Turnkey Solutions. The company’s history of effective strategic partnering is something I’ve discussed numerous times in the past. Working with and gaining the experience and expertise of innovative partners has helped Lenovo rapidly access new business opportunities while minimizing risk and maximizing value to its customers and channel. Overall, it seems highly likely that strategic partners will play major, continuing roles as Lenovo’s Turnkey Solutions portfolio matures and grows.
While it is impossible to forecast the potential impact or possible success of new solutions and strategies, the physical pieces, practical design and partnerships required for Lenovo Turnkey Solutions all appear to be in place and aligned. That portends well for Lenovo itself and for its thousands of business customers.