Key themes emerge from Lenovo's 2023 analyst conference

Enterprise Strategy Group looks at Lenovo's 2023 Global Industry Analyst Conference and how the company is taking a more holistic view, with a focus on AI and sustainability.

This year, the format of the Lenovo's 2023 Global Industry Analyst Conference (GIAC) offered a more holistic view of the company. My coverage of the conference last year discussed the impacts specific to Lenovo's Infrastructure Solution Group (ISG). But this year's conference included a holistic view across Lenovo's business lines, including ISG, Intelligent Device Group (IDG) and Solution & Services Group (SSG).

Leading the company toward a future full of innovation, sustainability and corporate citizenship, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang kicked off the event by discussing the future of personal computing, AI and infrastructure services. Yang addressed the 48 industry analysts attending the conference at Lenovo's North America headquarters in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., to share his vision for the company and highlighted three key themes: transformation, innovation and citizenship.

The changing landscape for Lenovo

Yang acknowledged the PC market had reached a turning point and hinted at a recovery. He pointed to growth in the infrastructure and services markets while emphasizing Lenovo's readiness to embrace AI. This strategic shift encompasses Lenovo's desire to pursue differentiation in the market and value creation. Yang said the company focus is on the future of personal computing and extended reality, or immersive technologies. His stated vision encompassed several pivotal areas:

  • Edge computing and edge AI. Lenovo recognizes the importance of edge computing and its implications for AI. It is investing in generative AI, which promises to transform how AI is developed and applied at the edge.
  • Sustainable computing. Lenovo is committed to sustainable and power-efficient computing in the age of AI. This focus on sustainability aligns with the company's broader themes of environmental and corporate responsibility.

At the event, the key themes for Lenovo's future were described as the following:

  • Sustainability. Lenovo committed to reducing its environmental impact and promoting responsible business practices in line with its global sustainability goals.
  • Artificial intelligence. Lenovo plans to harness the potential of AI, both as a foundational model and in deployment.
  • One Lenovo. This integrated approach was described as combining devices, infrastructure, solutions and services to offer comprehensive and seamless solutions to customers.

Lenovo is looking to address and navigate several critical challenges that include:

  • Supply chain issues. Lenovo acknowledged challenges in the supply chain and stressed signs of recovery in the PC market. The company expects year-over-year growth driven by factors like the Windows 11 refresh.
  • Cloud and AI. Lenovo recognizes the megatrends of cloud computing and AI, which have generated strong demand for AI infrastructure that could position Lenovo as a leading provider.
  • Digital workspaces, hybrid cloud, edge AI and sustainability. Lenovo is concentrating its efforts on these core areas, striving to use global resources and create a holistic experience.
  • Lenovo innovation. Dr. Yong Rui, CTO and senior vice president of Lenovo, emphasized Lenovo's commitment to embracing AI and driving innovation in AI foundation models.
  • Customer empowerment. Ken Wong, president of Lenovo SSG, talked about empowering customers with end-to-end products and services to strengthen Lenovo's core business and capture new growth markets.
  • Differentiation. Lenovo's focus on clear strategy, operational excellence, the global-local model and continuous innovation could sets the company apart in the industry.

Impact on developers

Lenovo has forged strong relationships with Red Hat and VMware Tanzu as it focuses on containerization and orchestration, essential for the development and deployment of AI and applications. But this isn't enough to gain the attention of developers.

Lenovo put customers into two categories: those who understand AI's potential and those who don't. Lenovo's approach to AI includes a focus on competitive requirements, data insights, responsible AI and the importance of location. This seems to apply to developers as well.

CIO challenges and risks were also covered. Lenovo acknowledges the challenges CIOs face in developing AI as a service and applying AI to business processes.

This is a good start to addressing self-service IT, but there was and is a lack of Lenovo messaging to developers. Lenovo aims to grow and improve its messaging. But it is not able to have conversations with C-level executives in terms of business application modernization without thought leadership in platform engineering and application delivery and deployment. Lenovo has a solid footprint in IT infrastructure -- but in order to grow, it will need to expand its markets and messaging.

This year's conference emphasized Lenovo's continued intention to follow the vision and direction it set years ago. Lenovo's strategic vision covers hybrid cloud, digital workplace, commercial extended reality, edge computing, security and virtualization/containerization. The company's stated commitment to transformation, innovation and citizenship reflects its intent to be forward-looking and to shape the future of the tech industry.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.

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