By engaging directly with its end user customers, Lenovo can give them the benefit of its global experience is a digitally-transforming world.

Mahomed Ramathulla, sales director: South Africa for Lenovo SA, stresses that Lenovo is 100% committed to its channel, with the sales organisation playing a crucial role in building relationships, crafting solutions and offering a wealth of experience and resources to end user customers.

The sales operation at Lenovo SA is responsible for end user customer relationships, as well as for driving strategic growth initiatives like education and healthcare.

“Lenovo is a hardware company, but our approach is that hardware is just one element of any implementation. We are in a position to assist with all the components that are needed to bring a system to life,” Ramathulla says.

“Hardware will always be an important enabler – and users will always need their devices.”

In the private sector, businesses know they have to transform, but don’t always have the expertise to make the required transition.

“As a multinational vendor, we have a lot of knowledge that we can help them with,” he says. “And we can leverage the experience and best practices from around the globe.”

With only a very small number of South African companies having already adopted digital transformation technologies, Ramathulla believes there is enormous potential in the market.

“There is a lot we can help our customers with,” he adds. “We are not just trying to push technology down the users’ throats; we do know where technology is going, and have an insight into worldwide trends.”

The public sector faces the same challenges as the private sector, with the added problem of confusing and often-dysfunctional processes and procurement procedures, Ramathulla says.

“In many case, public sector organisations have got the vision – make no mistake, there are a lot of very smart people working in government, but the process can be an inhibiting factor.”

Lenovo SA is helping end users and channel players in the public sector to succeed despite the challenges, and is particularly successful in the critical fields of education and healthcare.

“These are key areas and we have made big investments in them,” he says.

“For instance, in healthcare, we understand that technology as an enabler can help to improve conditions and ensure very different outputs from what we typically see today.”

Ramathulla points to the Western Cape’s public health environment, where Lenovo has a 95% wallet share. “We have been the preferred brand for five years now. And, through the efficient use of technology, you can see the difference in how the administration is run.”

Education is another big focus, and it’s a major challenge across the board in South Africa.

“There simply aren’t enough schools,” Ramathulla says. This lack of infrastructure, combined with other resource limitations, has led to a gap in the quality of the education that is being passed down to the next generation, he adds.

“The kids are enthusiastic. They are capable and competent – but we are letting  them down. Instead of lowering the bar, we should be raising the benchmark to match their digital competency levels.”

Lenovo is driving technology in education as a major initiative, ensuring that its projects extend well beyond simply delivering hardware, but embracing access, applications and management.

Although Ramathulla and his team engage directly with end user companies, it works only through channel partners for fulfilment and support.

“We don’t have a direct strategy at Lenovo,” Ramathulla stresses. “Not only do all our sales go through resellers, we also source a lot of local services through our partners.

“Not only do we rely on the channel for sales and services, we also help them to execute and invest a lot in training and development,” he adds.

Ramathulla has worked in the field for the last 13 years, and his team of 12 consultants look after all the large enterprise, commercial and public sector customers.

“Lenovo has been very successful and, over the last four years, has really become the market leader,” Ramathulla says. “We have been able to give our customers a great experience.

“And I believe it’s the people at Lenovo SA who have made the difference. We have great people working here, they understand the business landscape and are helping our customers to solve their problems.

“The relationships we have built up with our customers are key to this.”