PC vendors tie innovation, strategies to consumerization

Enterprise-focused players view consumerization as opportunity to bump up portfolio of products and services for businesses, rather than threat to their survival.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

The IT consumerization wave and its impact on business users cannot be ignored, said hardware vendors in the enterprise space. More than an overhaul of go-to-market strategies, their focus is altogether improving products, services, and customer support to give clients what they need, and hence stay competitive, comprehensive and coveted.

Market players added that the consumerization trend is less a threat than it is a business opportunity for them to steer innovation and strategies--from product development to marketing campaigns--to cater to the different needs of various enterprise users.

Ng Tian Beng, Dell's managing director for South Asia and Korea, said increasing consumerization as well as a highly mobile workforce have added more complexity for CIOs, making elements such as security and services more important than ever. They want solutions that protect their organization's IT assets, secure device and data access, and defend against potential security threats--but without any of the complexity, he noted.

Keeping in mind what customers prioritize such as security issues with bring-your-own (BYO) device management, Dell has been adapting itself accordingly--whether in terms of product designs or to deliver comprehensive offerings, he told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail.

"Essentially, it's all about giving organizations what they want and need [taking into account the impact of consumerization]," Ng said.

Lee Chown How, country general manager of Lenovo Singapore, emphasized that enterprises users are becoming more informed and discerning with their purchasing decisions, so it is imperative vendors don't make the mistake of selling based on "hype".

Companies must build a foundation of strong, relevant products that meet the needs of customers, and where marketing comes in, such campaigns need to articulate key value propositions to raise awareness, educate customers and create brand preference, he explained in an e-mail.

Because enterprise customers are always looking at consumer products to add to their hardware fleet, Lenovo will stay focused on building hardware that combines the latest technology with design that delivers high value and an optimal user experience, Lee said.

"Commercial customers want durability, reliability and user experience, therefore these qualities matter to us."

For instance, one of Lenovo's brand campaigns, "For Those Who Do", embodies the idea that the company is "obsessed with making great machines that power great companies, great individuals and great ideas", he added.

In addition, Lenovo is also approaching the market with a corporate strategy that is essentially about "protect and attack"--protecting its core business in global commercial markets and China; and attacking, or expanding its reach, into key growth areas, such as the consumer and SMB (small and midsize business) space in emerging markets and transactional segments of retail and channels, Lee noted.

For Hewlett-Packard, the trends of IT consumerization and BYO present a "unique opportunity" to partner with SMBs, for which technology plays an increasingly significant role in how they conduct business, said Dennis Mark, vice president and general manager of HP's personal systems group in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

HP has responded directly to the consumerization trend with the launch of its Asia-Pacific integrated digital campaign "Make IT Happen: See Real Results", in collaboration with Intel, to market to SMBs its entire suite of technologies and services including mobile alternatives to suit their various needs, he noted in an e-mail.

Analyst Arun Chandrasekaran, Frost & Sullivan's research director for Asia-Pacific ICT practice, emphasized that different scenarios at the workplace could emerge from the consumerization trend.

Office staff may demand the use of their personal devices while IT teams may insist on some amount of standardization and hence prefer enterprise vendors due to familiarity, corporate readiness and security issues, he explained to ZDNet Asia in an e-mail.

To that end, he suggested PC makers produce devices that bridge the gap between personal and professional domains as well as make applications that also appeal to the personal and professional inclinations of their business clientele.

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