We have decoded real pain points of SMBs: Shailendra Katyal, managing director, Lenovo India

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September 30, 2021 1:15 AM

In terms of pure operations, we saw SMBs being challenged in trying to manage remote working and finding digital channels of selling as many of them were still in a traditional offline mode with not adequate investments in digitisation.

SHAILENDRA KATYAL, MD, Lenovo IndiaSHAILENDRA KATYAL, MD, Lenovo India

According to IDC, consumer tech spending in the first quarter of 2021, a full year into the pandemic, grew 6.3% quarter-on-quarter. With growing tech spends, organisations have had to scale and provide flexible services at a much faster pace. This has led enterprise as well as SMB segments to seek solutions that enable them to better navigate IT challenges, handle device damages and mitigate security risks at home. Shailendra Katyal, managing director, Lenovo India, talks to Sudhir Chowdhary on the need to reimagine IT services to cater to new enterprise and SMB use cases that were accelerated during the pandemic .Excerpts:

What are some of the challenges SMBs have faced during the pandemic?
Some of the challenges that we saw SMBs face in the last two years were:

Revenue shock: SMBs in many sectors had demand challenges as the pandemic reshaped consumption patterns, F&B and travel being a few of them. The other impact was even if demand existed in many categories, fulfilling it offline was difficult during lockdowns. So SMBs which did not have an online method of engagement and delivery suffered more.

Cost inflation: Extended lockdowns put pressure on the supply chains and we did see commodity and other input costs go up. People costs also went up with labour shortages in some periods along with healthcare and safety costs increasing.

Working capital shortage: Longer payment cycles and higher costs led to many SMBs facing shortage of working capital. Credit availability became a challenge with lenders taking a more cautionary view with payment risks going up.

In terms of pure operations, we saw SMBs being challenged in trying to manage remote working and finding digital channels of selling as many of them were still in a traditional offline mode with not adequate investments in digitisation.

How is Lenovo meeting the IT service requirements of SMBs?
Lenovo has made significant efforts in decoding real pain points of SMBs in this period and quickly evolved solutions to support their remote working and digitisation efforts. We give them a wide range of products right from a smartphone or tablet to a datacentre or cloud solution under one umbrella. Given their capital constraints, we have evolved a DaaS model for them to pay as they go.

We have a host of managed services for IT which help SMBs avoid the cost of building in-house IT teams. Some of these are Smart Fleet management for remote resources, several security offerings and onsite help desks, etc. We have a dedicated go-to-market engine of LenovoPro hosted on Lenovo.com that can help customers and partners find the right solutions for SMBs.

What are some of the new service offerings introduced due to the pandemic?
Lenovo announced the launch of Lenovo Device Intelligence and the enhanced version with Lenovo Device Intelligence Plus. The Lenovo Device Intelligence is a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) device health management tool in India capable of assisting in not only diagnosing PC issues but also in predicting potential system failures before they occur.

Security has been a key issue with companies working from home, how has Lenovo helped mitigate these risks?
A resilient end-to-end supply chain is vital that includes a planning and development state intentionally designed with security in mind. Our offerings provide technical support, backup and repair services to keep devices performing at peak efficiency, and safe from cybersecurity threats.

Our Premier Support offers a 24×7 helpdesk and a technical account manager who is responsible for problem resolution. Sentinel One is the next-generation antivirus software that proactively identifies and blocks malicious activity from infecting the endpoint, cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT). Lenovo ThinkShield, on the other hand, is a custom solution that secures most critical data and business technologies with comprehensive end-to-end protection.

How does the evolution of IT services within Lenovo’s offerings set it apart from its competitors?
We have been gradually adding to our services portfolio over several years and service-led transformation was articulated as a major corporate priority in early 2020. Lenovo’s solutions and services portfolio are multi-faceted, complementing diverse segments and groups. This is bucketed into three segments.

First, our Attached Services & Software, which are sold with the device and cover everything needed to keep the product running across its lifecycle, such as extended support and access to Office 365.

Second, our Managed Services and Device-as-a-Service (DaaS). Customers outsource their infrastructure management to us. We provide standardised support and maintenance as well as overall device management. Combining hardware, software, and service solutions, helps customers lower costs and save time.

Finally, we have Complex Solutions that bring everything together on a strategic level with proprietary Lenovo Smart Solutions.

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