SMB & Midmarket Analytics & Artificial Intelligence Adoption


    SMB & Midmarket Security Adoption Trends


    Channel Partner Trends


    2024 Top 10 SMB Business Issues, IT Priorities, IT Challenges


    2024 Top 10 Partner Business Challenges


    SMB & Midmarket Predictions


    Channel Partner Predictions


    SMB & Midmarket Cloud Adoption


    Networked, Engaged, Extended, Hybrid


    Influence map & care-abouts


    Connected Business


    SMB & Midmarket Managed Services Adoption


    SMB Path to Digitalization

Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.
Anurag Agrawal

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4: Power, Style, Ultra-portability for SMBs

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4, launched at CES 2024, is a highly anticipated device that lives up to the hype. This ultra-portable notebook is a testament to the advancements in AI PC technology and showcases Intel's new Meteor Lake Ultra 9H processor and an AI-specific NPU. It offers a compelling package for SMBs, with its unique selling points being its sophisticated design, dual-toned top cover, ultralight portability, the world’s first 13-inch laptop with a 74-WHr battery, and a nice balance between power and style.

My first encounter with the Thinkbook brand was with a Thinkbook Plus Gen 1 in November 2019. The notebook's 'Think' pedigree, focus on the SMB segment, and the unexpected E-Ink screen on the lid piqued my interest. It was an intriguing design. Fast forward to September 2022, and the innovation difference between the Gen 1 and Gen 3 was nothing short of exponential. The ultrawide display on a laptop made multitasking more accessible and allowed users to see more content with fewer distractions. The massive and roomy display is a visual treat, a productivity enhancer, and ideal for Windows 11 snap layout. Straddling the line between business, work, and life, ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 boasted Dolby Vision for lifelike images, blue light reduction, and 2 X 2W Harman Kardon audio for superior sound.

My latest experience with a Thinkbook incarnation, the ThinkBook 13x Gen 4, is a testament to the brand's commitment to mobility. The ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 notebook model I am using features a 13.5-inch, 2.8K HDR400 display with Dolby Vision, making for smooth and vibrant visuals, Anti-Glare, Non-Touch, 500 nits. It also has EyeSafe low blue light certification, ensuring a comfortable and productive user experience. On the audio side, it includes four Harman Kardon speakers with built-in smart amplifiers and Dolby Atmos certification for immersive sound.

Weighing just 2.56 lbs and measuring a mere 0.5 inches thick, the ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 is designed for easy portability. Its thin profile is not a compromise on durability - the ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 is built to endure the bumps and knocks of everyday travel, instilling a sense of reliability and trust. Its aluminum finish and tastefully designed logo give it a look of sophistication that belies its price. The laptop's design ensures it sits comfortably on the lap without feeling top-heavy, making it an ideal companion for flights, daily commutes, or working on a couch in a work-at-home setting. The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 is great for mobile professionals seeking a sleek and portable laptop and users who appreciate a high-quality build. Its combination of performance, portability, and premium design make it a top choice for a wide range of users. It has a Copilot key, which provides the ability to quickly and easily access Microsoft's Copilot AI assistant directly from the laptop's keyboard.

thinkbook 13x gen4

Anurag Agrawal

AI PCs Poised for Takeoff in SMB and Midmarket Segments, But Snapdragon Faces Hurdles

A new type of computer is gaining traction: the Artificial Intelligence-powered PC, or AI PC for short.  At Microsoft Build 2024, Microsoft and its leading PC partners, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, unveiled a new class of laptops, Copilot+ PCs, explicitly built for artificial intelligence (AI).  These laptops are powered by powerful Snapdragon® X Plus processors, exceeding 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS), and deliver long-lasting battery life and access to cutting-edge AI models. 

The personal computer market is undergoing a significant shift, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and upper midmarket companies are paying close attention.  A recent study by Techaisle, covering 1410 SMBs and Midmarket firms in the US, suggests a potential surge in demand for these innovative machines within these business sectors. 

High Awareness Paves the Way for Adoption

The study reveals a high level of awareness and purchase intention among SMBs and midmarket firms, painting a promising picture of the market potential of AI PCs. A significant 77% of SMBs and an impressive 86% of upper midmarket firms are already familiar with AI PCs, demonstrating a high level of awareness and understanding of the potential benefits of AI technology for their productivity and operations. This awareness is not just passive, as the study reveals that a substantial 32% of SMBs and a much higher 64% of midmarket firms are actively planning to purchase AI PCs, indicating a strong market potential and the confidence these businesses have in the technology. This robust purchase intention signals a significant market shift and underscores the potential for widespread adoption in the near future. Moreover, 40% of SMBs are considering evaluating AI PCs before making a purchase decision, hinting at the possibility of even broader adoption in the coming years.

AI PCs are projected to dent the PC market within 3-5 years substantially. SMBs, known for their agility in responding to market trends, will likely mirror this trend. With 54% of SMBs planning to invest in new PCs in the next 12 months, AI PCs could become a decisive factor in purchasing decisions.

The study also uncovers some intriguing insights into SMB priorities. While 14% of SMBs view AI PCs as a crucial upgrade, and another 12% are considering a strategic shift towards them, a substantial portion (24%) see no compelling reason to adopt this new technology. However, 58% of SMBs report that their employees are actively requesting AI PCs. This highlights a potential disparity between management and employees regarding the perceived benefits of AI technology, suggesting the need for better communication and alignment.

The study identifies potential early adopters of AI PCs within the employee base. These are the content creators, tech-savvy departments, and executives in corner offices. Creative and design professionals top the list (45%), followed by IT development (27%) and sales and marketing teams (26%). These departments will likely benefit most from AI PCs' enhanced processing power and AI-powered features.

Copilot Gains Traction, But Snapdragon Faces Recognition Hurdle

The Techaisle study delves deeper, exploring the potential for Copilot, a new software solution designed to unlock the true power of AI PCs. Awareness is high, with over half (54%) of SMBs and a staggering majority (89%) of upper midmarket firms recognizing the name.  Despite its recent launch, nearly half of these businesses already know about Copilot+ PCs.

However, adoption intent dips regarding Copilot+ PCs powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. This hesitation stems from a few key factors. Limited brand awareness compared to the established giant Intel is a significant hurdle. Concerns about compatibility with existing applications and potential issues with peripherals further dampen enthusiasm. Many SMBs are adopting a wait-and-see approach, holding out for the announcement of Intel-based Copilot+ PCs, hoping these systems will offer similar features and impressive battery life.

Despite the growing hype around AI PCs, the study reveals some interesting realities regarding PC selection criteria for SMBs. While GPU/NPU might be a consideration, it does not reign supreme. For SMBs, the top five priorities when choosing a PC remain long battery life, a processor with built-in security features, ample storage capacity, a high-resolution display, and biometric login options.

Anurag Agrawal

Lenovo's Vision of 'AI for All': Unlocking the Power of AI

AI has swiftly moved from being a mere buzzword to a pivotal catalyst of transformation across various sectors. In the face of modern technological strides, adopting AI is not just an option but a necessity. Its transformative potential is not limited to large enterprises but also permeates small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), reshaping the business landscape by streamlining operations, boosting efficiency, and enabling data-driven decision-making.

Echoing the global trend towards AI integration, Lenovo unveiled its ‘AI for All’ vision at its ninth annual global event, Tech World 2023. The company is committed to driving intelligent transformation by prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility. This commitment is underscored by the introduction of innovations across its three business segments: the Intelligent Devices Group (IDG), encompassing PCs and smart devices; the Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG), tasked with delivering infrastructure solutions; and the Lenovo Solutions and Services Group (SSG), offering a wide array of IT solutions and services.

Lenovo’s Hybrid AI Strategy: Unleashing the Power of Data Everywhere

Believing in the universal accessibility of AI, Lenovo has embraced a dynamic hybrid AI strategy aimed at unleashing the power of data everywhere. This extends AI capabilities beyond the conventional cloud environment, delivering real-time solutions at the edge. The strategy envisages a harmonious coexistence of public, private, and personal foundation models to make AI increasingly accessible and secure.

Lenovo’s AI can function solely within a device or securely on on-premises servers, learning from data supplied by individual users or proprietary enterprise data. Importantly, it ensures that no shared information is publicly disclosed or incorporated into open training datasets. This not only bolsters security but also facilitates more personalized AI experiences.

Lenovo and NVIDIA: Pioneering Next-Generation AI Infrastructure and Services

Lenovo is actively developing next-generation AI-ready and AI-optimized infrastructure, aiming to deliver powerful, customized, scalable, and energy-efficient AI to customers through a hybrid approach. This includes an expanded partnership with NVIDIA, introducing a new generation of hybrid AI solutions and engineering collaboration. This partnership is based on a shared vision of making generative AI (Gen AI) accessible to all businesses. Lenovo plans to deliver fully integrated systems that bring AI-powered computing to every location where data is generated – from the edge to the cloud. This will enable businesses to deploy custom Gen AI applications at scale, fostering innovation across various industries.

Moreover, Lenovo and NVIDIA will develop next-generation systems based on NVIDIA’s flexible MGX modular reference design, providing robust and secure solutions for demanding Gen AI workloads.

The companies will also introduce the Lenovo AI Professional Services Practice, offering businesses a suite of services, solutions, and platforms to navigate the AI landscape. This initiative aims to help businesses of all sizes find the most suitable solutions, implement them swiftly and cost-effectively, and simplify their AI journey. With Lenovo’s AI expertise and NVIDIA’s cutting-edge AI technologies, businesses can confidently and quickly embark on their AI-driven transformations.

Lenovo’s Vision for the Future of Devices: AI-Ready Devices and Personalized AI Solutions

Lenovo showcased the future of AI-ready devices and AI-powered features, including a vision of an AI PC designed to enhance productivity, streamline workflow, and protect data. The company is also developing a new concept feature, AI NOW, a personal AI twin (AI assistant) solution for AI PCs. This solution leverages personalized models and information stored on the user’s device to effectively understand and assist the user while ensuring data privacy and security.

Furthermore, Lenovo announced the development of Enterprise AI Twin, a suite of AI applications tailored for businesses. This suite is designed to deliver customized solutions by synthesizing and extracting relevant enterprise data from various sources, including devices, the edge, and private clouds. Users can utilize Enterprise AI Twin in different scenarios and for multiple purposes. For instance, it can simplify travel bookings in accordance with company policies and individual preferences or assist supply chain teams in risk management by integrating public AI data with enterprise-specific information, thereby enhancing decision-making across business areas.

lenovo tech world 23 keynote 0322 min

Lenovo’s Digital Workplace Solutions: Navigating the Evolving Work Landscape with AI and Security Innovations

In response to the dynamic work environment characterized by the widespread shift to remote and hybrid models, Lenovo introduced its Digital Workplace Solutions (DWS) in May 2023. This comprehensive suite of managed services is designed to assist businesses in seamlessly navigating the evolving work landscape, with a strong emphasis on enhancing the digital workplace experience. DWS encompasses a variety of tools and systems that address critical facets of the modern workplace, including technology, security, operational efficiency, and employee satisfaction, thereby helping businesses address the unique challenges posed by the changing work environment. This holistic approach prioritizes employee productivity, job satisfaction, and workplace efficiency.

Lenovo’s commitment to enhancing the digital workplace experience with a human-centric approach is further exemplified by the upcoming launch of the “Care of One” platform. This platform aims to elevate the employee experience by offering automated and hyper-personalized support, leveraging AI and data-driven insights to understand various user personas within an organization. Besides improving individual experiences, it contributes to overall employee productivity, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks and enhancing job satisfaction.

Lenovo tech world 23 Keynote 2295 min

Moreover, Lenovo is making significant progress in the area of security. It has broadened its partnership with Microsoft by announcing an upcoming offering, “Cyber Resilience as a Service.” This cybersecurity solution combines Microsoft’s AI-enabled security stack with Lenovo’s robust security operations center (SOC) capabilities and global reach. As such, this partnership aims to equip businesses with essential tools for protecting their digital assets.

Lenovo’s TruScale: Revolutionizing Business with ‘Everything as a Service’

In recent years, the “Everything as a Service” concept has garnered considerable attention, offering businesses flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. This approach provides a wide range of products, software, and infrastructure as services, simplifying operations, minimizing upfront costs, and facilitating quick adaptation to changing market demands. Lenovo’s TruScale, launched in February 2019, is a testament to this as-a-service trend. It offers a solution that enables businesses of all sizes to access Lenovo’s extensive portfolio within a unified contractual framework. TruScale provides a scalable, pay-as-you-go model with predictable payment options for hardware and services.

Under TruScale’s ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, Lenovo’s hybrid AI solutions are now accessible. Kirk Skaugen, Executive Vice President and President of Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group, underscores, “We’re offering everything as a service through Lenovo TruScale, unlocking the power of Next Generation AI technology not only for large enterprises but also for small and medium-sized businesses.”

Lenovo tech world 23 Keynote 1513 min

The TruScale approach is particularly beneficial for SMBs as it allows them to manage and scale their IT resources based on their current needs without any minimum capacity commitment. This ensures they always have the necessary technology to stay competitive in the market, whether experiencing rapid growth or facing challenges that require scaling down. This “as-a-service” approach creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. It enables SMBs to thrive in a constantly changing business environment while IT providers can maintain steady revenue through subscription-based services.

Final Techaisle Take

Lenovo's "AI for All" vision is a significant step forward in the AI landscape. The company's focus on inclusivity, innovation, and data security, combined with its hybrid AI strategy, paves the way for AI to become accessible to everyone, including individuals and businesses of all sizes, in a secure and personalized manner. Lenovo is well-positioned to shape the AI landscape and drive intelligent transformation by establishing strategic partnerships, delivering AI-ready infrastructure, and showcasing the future of AI-powered devices and features.

Lenovo has been undergoing a significant change over the past few years, transitioning from being recognized primarily as a hardware company to providing solutions and services. This transformation is exemplified by Lenovo TruScale, which showcases the company's adaptability and unwavering commitment to meeting the ever-changing technology needs of businesses. A key part of the transition to solutions/services is the relentless innovation of intelligent devices so that the solutions, services, TruScale, and DaaS are wrapped around cutting-edge tech.

Lenovo tech world 23 Keynote 1490 min

It is inspiring to see Lenovo, despite having achieved remarkable success for decades, embracing what's best for its future, even if it means deviating from the tried-and-tested model that initially brought them success. Suffice it to say, the future looks bright for Lenovo.

Anurag Agrawal

One year with Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition: A Celebration of ThinkPad Excellence

Sitting in a hotel in SoHo district in New York City on a cold winter day in October 2022, I received my 30th-anniversary edition of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Upon unboxing, I was immediately drawn to the thoughtful details that set this edition apart. The packaging, crafted from eco-friendly bamboo and compostable sugarcane materials, was encased in a 30th-anniversary sleeve. Nestled within was a pamphlet chronicling the ThinkPad’s journey, a commemorative anniversary sticker, and interchangeable TrackPoint heads in vibrant RGB red, green, and blue colors. The lid branding was the first thing that caught my eye as I unveiled the laptop. The tri-colored logo is a delightful throwback to the old branding, reinforcing the nostalgic theme of this special edition.

My journey with the ThinkPad brand began in 1993, when I first laid hands on an IBM model, though I can’t recall if it was the 700 or 700c. The day the screen shattered was a heart-wrenching one for me. However, the efficient tech support at IBM’s Exchange Square in Hong Kong swiftly replaced the screen, much to my relief. In 1994, I switched to 701, also known as the Butterfly.

Fast forward to 2005, Lenovo took over IBM’s PC division, continuing the legacy of innovation that the ThinkPad line was known for. Among their offerings, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon stands out as a highly sought-after business laptop, earning critical acclaim for its slim design, robust performance, and impressive battery life.

In honor of the ThinkPad’s 30th anniversary, Lenovo introduced a special edition of the X1 Carbon. I am fortunate to have spent the last twelve months with this 30th-anniversary edition of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition is a remarkable milestone, celebrating three decades of the esteemed ThinkPad series. With a mere 5,000 units in circulation, this limited-edition model pays homage to the ThinkPad’s illustrious past and its progressive evolution.

Retaining the body design of the Gen 10, this compact laptop is a traveler’s dream with its 14-inch frame. Its slender 0.6-inch profile and feather-light weight of 2.4 pounds make it my constant companion during my relentless travels. Indeed, the laptop’s negligible weight in my backpack is such that it allows me the added convenience of carrying a ThinkVision M14. The two together have traveled with me three times around the world in the last twelve months. The presence of 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports and 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports proves incredibly handy. They allow for effortless connection of an external webcam or a light, eliminating the need for additional dongles.

The keyboard boasts a unique anniversary design, with the TrackPoint cap mirroring the classic ThinkPad colors. These nostalgic colors pay tribute to the original ThinkPads and serve as a recurring theme on this device. I’ve carefully preserved these interchangeable heads in a Ziploc pouch in my backpack.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition version I’ve been using is a powerhouse. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i7-1270P processor, which ensures robust performance for all my demanding tasks. Accompanied by 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, it allows for seamless multitasking.

The laptop also features a 1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD, providing me with ample storage space and facilitating quick boot times and rapid data access. This feature is a boon for someone like me who accumulates a lot of information.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition display is indeed a highlight. Its 14-inch screen, with a 3840 x 2400 pixels resolution, delivers crisp visuals and vibrant colors. This enhances every task, whether working on spreadsheets, watching videos, or participating in video calls.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 30th Anniversary Edition is more than just a laptop; it’s a testament to thirty years of innovation and quality. Its top-tier specifications, sleek design, and limited availability embody the ThinkPad brand's legacy. This powerful and stylish laptop is a device that celebrates the ThinkPad’s journey, making it an excellent addition to any workspace. My workspace.

thinkpad 30th

Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

Techaisle - TA