Cato’s Secret SMB Weapon - ThinkBook

Analytics/ Analysis

One year later since his appointment to Vice President, North America Channels, Lenovo’s Rob Cato reflected on the past year of rapid transformation and offered visibility into the year ahead. Talking with us at the Lenovo Accelerate 2019 conference, Cato shared that while Lenovo got its mojo back

and implemented a path to a platinum tiered partner program model, he’s not satisfied yet and the work continues.

Specific to the small and medium business (SMB) space, the key announcement was about ThinkBook. A new thin laptop oriented at today’s younger workers comprised of Millennials and Gen Z. These two generations of workers crave meaningful employment and expect company devices that blur the lines of work, life, passion and purpose. Our take? Lenovo’s “Benjamin Button” strategy of reserve aging and going young.  

rob cato 2019

Figure 1: Rob Cato with SMB Nation’s Jennifer Hallmark at Lenovo Accelerate 2019

By the numbers, the ThinkBook line reveals the following:

ThinkBook ultra-slim laptops incorporate business features not often included in their pricier alternatives. Features include:

  • Single-step authentication and power-on with the touch fingerprint reader
  • Discrete TPM 2.0 to enable Windows 10 security features and user data encryption
  • Physical ThinkShutter™ camera cover for privacy control
  • Hinges coated in Indium metal to reduce WiFi interference
  • Loud and clear sound enabled by Dolby Audio™ through HARMAN® speakers
  • Premium FHD displays with Dolby Vision® (on ThinkBook 13s) for rich, ultra-vivid visuals
  • Spill resistant keyboard designed to withstand up to 60cc of liquid2
  • Up to 11 hours of battery life3 and RapidCharge on ThinkBook 13s, up to 10 hours3 on ThinkBook 14s

Cato also shared that he is investing in resources to help SMB partners win more business with better marketing resources and teaming with Lenovo field resources (already 60+ employees and growing). And it doesn’t just stop at SMB. Cato wants to help partners bid on and win government contracts including Federal, State, Local and K-12 education. Lenovo has created a “Center of Excellence” to provide domain expertise in helping partner play in the public sector.

As we’ve discussed in the past at prior Lenovo Accelerate conferences, Cato shared “I absolutely look to the channel is our primary go-to-market to go sell into the SMB market. Add to that our pure distribution model via distributors and our strategy is very clear.”