Lenovo: Innovating Faster than the Market

How can Lenovo analyze customer feedback, predict future demand, and accelerate new innovations with help from SAP HANA?

No market sector combines opportunity with risk quite like consumer electronics. Yesterday’s hot platform is today’s also-ran. Today’s struggling startup is tomorrow’s industry leader.

And product demand is always shifting. For example, consumer intent to purchase a smartphone dropped to a five-year low in 2016 – but then surged six percentage points, to 54%, in 2017. Yet the stakes remain high: 51% of those prospective buyers expect new features such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

It’s in that incredibly dynamic market that high-tech leader Lenovo must compete. When Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business in 2005, few people outside the IT industry had even heard of the Chinese company. Today, the organization is a force to be reckoned with: top in global PC sales in 2016, with 21% market share, and third in both global tablet and global X86 server sales.

Lenovo reached this pinnacle by combining customer-focused innovation with relentless optimization of its supply chain. And the company built its innovation and supply chain leadership on the SAP HANA platform.

Real-Time Data for Right-Time Innovations

Lenovo designs, makes, and sells PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, servers, and datacenter equipment. The company is regularly cited for its innovations, such as the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro augmented-reality smartphone and Lenovo Yoga Book touch- and pen-input device, which both won CES 2018 Innovation Awards.

Lenovo powers that innovation with SAP HANA. In fact, SAP’s in-memory computing platform was actually developed on Lenovo hardware. And Lenovo reports that it’s the top provider of server hardware used for running SAP HANA around the world.

To compete and win, Lenovo puts SAP HANA to work on real-time data analytics that enable fast, accurate decisions. The company captures customer sentiment and analyzes customer feedback to predict future demand. It then speeds its innovation to meet that demand ahead of the competition.

In the past, data transfer from Lenovo’s data warehouse to its ERP system took eight hours. With SAP HANA, the company can transfer data in real time, significantly improving operational efficiencies.

“Our entire system and reporting performance have been improved by roughly 45 times,” reports Qingtong Zhou, CIO of Lenovo. “We can now look at reporting faster and analyze it faster, so we can make faster decisions.

“For our company, saving one day or even one hour will generate profits,” he continues. “That’s why SAP HANA creates so much value.”

Lenovo: Innovating Faster than the Market


“For our company, saving one day or even one hour will generate profits. That’s why SAP HANA creates so much value.”

— Qingtong Zhou, CIO, Lenovo


Speeding Delivery for Better Customer Experiences

Once Lenovo commercializes its innovations, it relies on SAP solutions to speed them to market quickly and reliably. With SAP HANA, the company has:

  • Slashed supply chain planning time from 10 hours to 10 minutes
  • Accelerated delivery of shipment reports from one day to five minutes
  • Improved inventory planning and shipping dramatically
  • Gained end-to-end visibility of supply chain processes
  • Taken cost out of the supply chain, passing along the savings to customers

It’s no wonder Gartner ranks the Lenovo supply chain among the top 25 worldwide for best practices. “Our goal is to make our systems more compact, make our structure more simplified, and let our customers experience fast service,” says Michael Yao, executive director of integrated technology services for Lenovo. “SAP technology is crucial to achieving this goal.”

In addition to SAP HANA, Lenovo relies on the SAP Supply Chain Management application and the SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization component. “SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization allows us to carry out excellent end-to-end planning, from sales planning to final manufacturing planning,” Zhou notes.

The IT leader also takes advantage of the SAP Hybris Commerce solution for direct sales to both B2C and B2B customers. “We use SAP Hybris Commerce to do e-commerce directly with both customers and consumers,” Zhou explains. “It provides many enhanced features, including configure-to-order and multisite features. That enables a public site for end consumers and a customized site for each large customer.”

Going forward, Lenovo and SAP will partner to bring SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud services to the Chinese market. And Lenovo plans to leverage SAP HANA and SAP machine-learning technology to remain on the cutting edge of product development. It’s just another way Lenovo will deliver innovations with the help of SAP solutions.

Lenovo: Innovating Faster than the Market


“Our goal is to make our systems more compact, make our structure more simplified, and let our customers experience fast service. SAP technology is crucial to achieving this goal.”

—Michael Yao, Executive Director, Integrated Technology Services, Lenovo


Tags: Customer Feature, e-commerce, Lenovo, SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, SAP HANA, SAP hybris Commerce, SAP Supply Chain Management, supply chain