Lenovo is turning to Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) to help businesses manage their digital transformation – and the stars now appear to be aligning for an end-to-end landscape.
The value proposition is straightforward: a provider is a one-stop shop for planning, procuring and managing a customer’s IT environment, offering comprehensive maintenance, support and management, real-time insights and consistent ROI through a cloud-like usage model. Under the umbrella brand TruScale, better known as Lenovo’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering, countless functions are covered, from infrastructure to device to platform and vertical solutions.
Progress was noted at an analyst summit in Budapest in June, where Craig Routledge, Lenovo’s executive director of hybrid cloud, presented the TruScale strategy. Matt Kimball of Moor Insights and Strategy, wrote: “The company is making appropriate investments and focusing on the right solutions to establish TruScale as an effective service.”
The hard work with the analysts and consultants has therefore paid off, as Routledge explains. “It’s interesting – a year ago, awareness [of TruScale] was pretty low,” he says. “We are interested in [industry] Recognition and what I would call competitor recognition. They know we’re here now.”
Additionally, Routledge believes Lenovo has also benefited from what he calls its competitors’ “missteps.” “Some companies have expanded some of their service capabilities very quickly, trying to diversify from OEM products to services, then to solutions, then to software, all in a very short period of time,” he explains. “Certainly becoming a software company at scale is a huge, very different challenge.”
This is where a longer-term strategy comes into play. In Lenovo’s Solutions and Services Group (SSG), Routledge notes that its customer base is steadily growing with each quarter, a mix of long-term customers who have purchased PCs and agreed to let Lenovo manage their infrastructure and applications until to customers who are used to purchasing infrastructure to those who are simply looking beyond their current OEM. He describes it as a “continuous evolution” of sales, pre-sales, design and delivery capabilities to accommodate these diverse conversations. “It’s not finished yet,” he added. “We are far from reaching the end of this journey.”
An example of an XaaS customer story is US retailer Kroger. Kroger uses Lenovo’s Edge AI servers, equipped with warranty services to strengthen its self-checkout lanes and process hundreds of hours of video footage from tens of thousands of transactions each day. There are several benefits, from inventory placement based on store traffic to reducing shrinkage; This ensures customers can scan items correctly and creates more efficient processes, not just for customers, but for the entire store.
“[These customers] “Consider the “everything as a service” concept, where we wrap a software layer, a service layer and a support layer and bundle them together as a complete solution for the customer, as very exciting,” adds Routledge.
This far-reaching process encapsulates how Routledge defines the term “digital transformation”. “I would say that digital transformation is digitizing existing business requirements end-to-end – and for me that is the difference,” he says. “Companies have been digitizing parts of their processes for a long time, [such as] Providing ways to fill out smart PDFs and [digitally] Sign them, which is all well and good [until] You then need to transfer this document to something else.
“Unless it flows continuously and allows that flow in a complete environment, it doesn’t really add enough value. It doesn’t help the customer to leave the old ways of working behind.”
Companies are often aware of the possibilities of digital transformation. You just want the consistency that comes with it. For example, Kroger also used a visual AI application from Everseen that ran on Lenovo servers. “Often customers already have the software they want and they know what they want,” explains Routledge. “What they need is extremely high-performance infrastructure at uniform prices.
“This is the other end of the ‘everything as a service’ infrastructure; consistent price per terabyte, per gigabyte of virtual memory; the unified price per hour for the operation, combined with the managed services and professional services for the operation,” he adds.
This consistency is especially important when you’re working quickly. At Lenovo launched its global XaaS strategy in 2021, a statistic attributed to Ken Wong, SSG president, stood out: CIOs said their organization’s technology needs evolve every 12 to 18 months. Routledge says this is still the case, but emphasizes the need for certainty – in a financial sense – in such a move.
“Your needs are likely to change even faster, although the turnaround time is still 12 to 18 months,” notes Routledge. “But the other question is: How do you finance this? If you suddenly have to abandon your old IT architecture after 12 to 18 months, many IT organizations take massive write-offs and the corporations simply cannot afford it.
“That’s one of the reasons why, for both our Device as a Service and our Infrastructure as a Service, we’re trying to embed financing and asset control into that model,” adds Routledge. “If the customer needs to make a change, we can migrate some of the assets that are maybe a year or two old, use them for less demanding applications that don’t require as much processing and storage, and introduce new systems.” in. This helps to ease the financial burden on the customer.”
Another aspect that is very important to Lenovo in this digital transformation process is sustainability. Kimball described the company as “manically focused” in this regard, and Lenovo is named the top-rated IT company in the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index.
The company has a liquid cooling technology for data centers called Neptune The goal is to “go beyond just cooling CPUs” and not sacrifice energy efficiency for higher performance. “Part of this digital transformation is making sure we have minimal impact on the environment, because data centers are pretty hot places,” notes Routledge.
Routledge speaks in Digital Transformation Week Europe Event in Amsterdam on September 26th and 27th on key considerations for technology investments in this landscape – and we expect to cover many of these topics. “Don’t think, ‘I need to redesign this little part of my data center,'” he explains. “Look at the question: ‘Can I leverage the performance somewhere else?’ or ‘Can I design the platform differently to get the business outcome faster?’
“The central theme is: Don’t think in narrow silos.”
Want to learn more from industry leaders about how you can accelerate your digital transformation? The Digital Transformation Week The series of events takes place in Amsterdam, California and London. Discover other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge Here.