Leigh Saunders, head of mid-market at Lenovo UK and Ireland, talks about the growing IT opportunities in medium-sized businesses…
Contributing more to the economy than financial services and real estate combined, the mid-market (which Lenovo defines as organisations with between 250 and 999 staff members), employs more than 4.2 million of the nation’s workforce according to Grant Thornton and the New Policy Institute.
This sector of British business is growing in confidence and planning for future expansion, but for the IT channel, partnering with the correct technology player is vital to enable them to capitalise on the growth opportunities ahead.
Unlike other businesses, mid-market organisations are not concentrated in the South East. If government plans to invest in regional economies move ahead, it is these businesses which are most likely to benefit from improved infrastructure and local investment.
The challenge for the channel will be how can they identify these opportunities and use it to their advantage to build their businesses.
The key to capitalising on mid-market growth is to understand the micro and macro trends taking place within their business. Knowing which sectors are growing and what businesses are on the cusp of expansion can really help yield solid prospect lists.
Agility and mobility are some of the most common traits of many of today’s winning mid-market companies. With employees on the road and the average working day being from dawn to dusk, PC hardware they use needs to match the rigours of their businesses. Therefore channel partners need access to a strong hardware portfolio, to enable employees to work naturally.
Talking with many of our customers, long refresh cycles are also particularly important, and this is especially so with mid-market companies. As their businesses grow, they need the ability to scale up quickly. Being able to access the same model configuration for a period of up to 12 months offers a high degree of security and stability to IT managers, reducing the number of different PC models they need to manage.
Post purchase, swift fulfilment as well as strong after sales support is paramount. Downtime for mid-market companies has a big impact on productivity which can seriously hamper an organisation’s bottom line.
Finally the biggest requirement from a mid-market organisation is independent technical consultancy. This is where I see one of the biggest opportunities for the channel. Most small size companies do not have dedicated IT support. Instead, the focus will be to growing business and making money rather than defining IT strategy. At Lenovo the mid-market is a key part of our growth strategy in both the UK and EMEA. We’re investing heavily by increasing headcount and planning a number of campaigns to drive sales for our channel partners.
Leigh Saunders is head of mid-market at Lenovo UK and Ireland.