Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lenovo TruScale and Everything-as-a-Service

Lenovo’s TruScale, announced back in February of 2019, TruScale is Lenovo’s effort to get ahead of the as-a-service trend and come up with an umbrella service, somewhat like IBM’s multicloud effort in that both embrace and include third-party offerings in their efforts and both have the value of using what amounts to a general contractor to oversee both the services the firm provides and those provided by those third parties.  

As-a-service offerings are in ascension, and Lenovo’s offering is particularly interesting, because of its potential scope and the aggressive nature of the offering in that regard.  

Let’s look at Lenovo’s TruScale:  

As-a-service history

It is somewhat ironic that the computer industry under IBM started as-a-service. In the initial years of the mainframe, you couldn’t buy the hardware. Software and services were included in the monthly charge, and while the resulting solution didn’t really scale up or down with need as modern as-a-service offerings, it was clearly more of a service than it was a purchase model.

This initial service model had several huge advantages. Customers were effectively locked in to IBM, and they remained loyal, because IBM made a point to treat customers like family. Customer loyalty was high for IBM during the mainframe years. Services revenue was also incredibly predictable and didn’t go up or down with economic conditions. IBM became not only one of the best places to work for, but one of the most reliable investments in the young tech industry.

However, there was one big issue: IBM effectively saturated the computer market. So IBM started selling its mainframes, changing the market from one of massive stability and customer loyalty to one based more on individual purchases that were more cyclical in nature. Now IBM had to do software updates to generate revenue and hardware refreshes.

IBM later transitioned to the company it is today, and is once again focused like a laser. With its multicloud solutions and other as-a-service offerings, it is providing solid, service-based solutions.

The market has always looked back fondly at the days when a vendor handled the technology as-a-service and customer companies could focus on staffing for the business instead of technology deployment, maintenance, and support.

This led to the ramp of as-a-service offerings. Lenovo TruScale is one of the latest.  

Lenovo TruScale

Using partners like Nutanix (virtual PCs) and SAP, coupled with internal product offerings, like ThinkAgile, and ThinkSystem, Lenovo has created what appears to be an offering that blends Lenovo’s capabilities with those of top partners to approach one of the most comprehensive as-a-service offerings in the market.  

TruScale is designed as a true consumption-based model, and there appears to be no minimum capacity commitment. On paper, this allows the service to scale up or down depending on client need, something that has been problematic for IT companies, because it contains significant revenue and profit risk for the vendor, while providing a solution much closer to what IT buyers indicated they wanted in an as-a-service offering. Most initial as-a-service offerings had purchase elements and shared financial risks that IT was not pleased with, but Lenovo appears willing to absorb the risk to penetrate the infrastructure segment as a relatively new player.  

Lenovo partners, like CDW and SYNNEX that participate in this offering, have publicly praised it, and the service has grown to include offerings from VMware and Microsoft Azure.  

Wrapping up

Lenovo’s TruScale as-a-service offering is one of the most aggressive in the market and promises a single point of contact, eventually, for all the company’s as-a-service offerings. 

It will take time for it to become that comprehensive, but partners like SAP, Nutanix, VMware, and Microsoft are filling the gaps nicely as this offering grows to scale.  

I have yet to interview those who have used this service extensively and will update when that happens, but if you are looking for a comprehensive as-a-service offering, it would be worth your time to look at this Lenovo offering, if only as an indication of where the market is going and for long-term planning. 

Particularly during this time of key skill shortage, a comprehensive technology as-a-service offering like TruScale may be an ideal way to acquire the skills that are in such short supply today.  

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