'Shared values ensured smooth integration'

DQW Bureau
07 Jul 2006

In an exclusive interview to Shrikanth G, Neeraj Sharma, MD, Lenovo
South Asia puts into perspective the year that went by. Excerpts:

What are the key inte­gration strategies Lenovo has adopted for creating
a portfolio of products?

During the transition, our prime objective was to sta­bilize the business.
This meant retaining and building the trust of customers and the business
partner network, and developing quality pro­duct offerings. In keeping with
this, we strengthened our enterprise product port­folio and focused on con­solidating
the 'Think' brand during the first few quarters. We also introduced 64-bit
computing with the Think­Center A51, launched the first wide screen ThinkPads
and the ThinkCenter desktops for small businesses.

What synergy challenges did you face in the process of integration and how
did you address them?

Integration has proceeded ahead of schedule, which is partly the result of
pre-acquisition research that resulted in a company with very little overlap in
opera­tions. Shared business values morphed diffe­rences in lan­guage and
geography. More­over, the two organiza­tions shared many common values that
eased the tran­sition, such as a commitment to inno­vation and quality, tech­nology
leadership, and a high commit­ment to talent. These shared values ensured smo­oth
and efficient integration and gave the company a strong foundation for shaping
the future growth plans.

How did you manage on the channels side? Were there any transition pains?

Actually, we were over­whelmed by the enthusiasm and support of our
business partners. We have received positive feedback from the channel community
over the last year. Their support has been encouraging. They clearly saw
opportunities in the merger and have been enthusiastic about Lenovo products. A
survey of more than 4,000 PCD (PC Division) international customers indicated
that more than 90 percent were favorable towards Lenovo. This and other such
indicators have helped build and retain their trust.

Initially, the IBM channel network and sales teams were leveraged to ensure a
seamless supply chain tran­sition. Lenovo immediately joined the IBM business
partner program, ensuring that Lenovo business part­ners continued to receive
consistent marketing and sales resources, training, certification and technical
support. Since Lenovo busi­ness partners demanded con­sistency in their
programs, we maintained the same blue-chip programs with which they had been
successful in the past. We continued to base our channel strategy on what
customers wanted: high—quality products, world-class service, low-cost of
ownership and constant innovation.

Is there any restructuring in HR terms?

We are taking some actions to ensure that our efficiency and productivity is
maxi­mized and we are compe­titive enough to meet the demands of the
constantly evolving market­place. We are inte­gra­ting key custo­mer-support
func­tions giving custo­mers a simple “one-touch” rela­tionship with Le­novo.
Secondly, we are stream­lining global sales and mar­keting to reduce layers in
our sales struc­ture, em­po­wer sales lea­ders and bring deci­­sion-making
closer to our custo­mers. We are also strea­m­lining mar­keting operations,
elimi­nating redun­dan­cies. Finally, we are centralizing the teams where it
makes sense.

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