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 inteÂgration strategies Lenovo has adopted for creating
a portfolio of products?
During the transition, our prime objective was to staÂbilize the business.
This meant retaining and building the trust of customers and the business
partner network, and developing quality proÂduct offerings. In keeping with
this, we strengthened our enterprise product portÂfolio and focused on conÂsolidating
the 'Think' brand during the first few quarters. We also introduced 64-bit
computing with the ThinkÂCenter 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
operaÂtions. Shared business values morphed diffeÂrences in lanÂguage and
geography. MoreÂover, the two organizaÂtions shared many common values that
eased the tranÂsition, such as a commitment to innoÂvation and quality, techÂnology
leadership, and a high commitÂment to talent. These shared values ensured smoÂoth
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 overÂwhelmed 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 tranÂsition. Lenovo immediately joined the IBM business
partner program, ensuring that Lenovo business partÂners continued to receive
consistent marketing and sales resources, training, certification and technical
support. Since Lenovo busiÂness partners demanded conÂsistency 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
maxiÂmized and we are compeÂtitive enough to meet the demands of the
constantly evolving marketÂplace. We are inteÂgraÂting key custoÂmer-support
funcÂtions giving custoÂmers a simple “one-touch” relaÂtionship with LeÂnovo.
Secondly, we are streamÂlining global sales and marÂketing to reduce layers in
our sales strucÂture, emÂpoÂwer sales leaÂders and bring deciÂÂsion-making
closer to our custoÂmers. We are also streaÂmÂlining marÂketing operations,
elimiÂnating redunÂdanÂcies. Finally, we are centralizing the teams where it