Within months of working at CDW, an IT solutions company, I realized that many of the Account Managers were having hard time finding products for Lenovo, a vendor I was responsible for.
The issue was that the Solutions Book, available in the Lenovo Solutions Center, was seriously outdated. The book contained old models that are no longer sold and the newer models that the customers are asking for were absent. The latest model was from February 28th, and was not being updated until it was taken down from the website.
Latest version of Solutions Book from Lenovo : Solutions Book — Canada PCG – 2.28.17
In order to increase Lenovo sales within the CDW, I decided to create my own version of the book, so that the Account Managers and the Partner Specialists, who helped the Account Managers in finding the products, can find the latest products that meet the requirements from the customer.
I first contacted the top 10 Account Managers who sold highest in COGS for Lenovo for an example of what kind of information the customers gave them for an opportunity. Then, I also asked the other Account Managers about the problems they have and what they would like to see in the new “Configurator”.
Having collected the data, I made a prototype of the Configurator and asked the Lenovo representatives if they had any files from the past that is similar to what I am asking, and also asked them for any feedback on how to improve my prototype.
The Lenovo representatives had a file similar to it, but the latest version they had were from 2010. The few characteristics of that file was that it was almost 10MB in size, and it had too much information inside of it, resulting in terrible readability.
As the file was too large, it would take forever to download the file each time from the internal website, and as the information, such as rebates, spiff, and availability would continuously change, I did not wanted the Account Managers to download the file, but rather know where the file was online, so they could look at the latest version every time they accessed the file.
I also thought that it was quite cumbersome for the Account Managers to navigate between the different sheets to look at different types of device and searching for similar specs. So I made the file such that all the “searching” can be done on one sheet.
With all these in mind, the Searchable Lenovo Configurator was created : click here
* File dated April 24th 2017.
* As the blog does not support xlsm files, the file will need to be downloaded and macro enabled for it to work.
How to use file:
To fit the needs of the Account Managers, the file had continuously been upgraded and updated with the latest information (publicly available online from Lenovo’s website). The current version of the Searchable Lenovo Configurator is quite different from when it was first created, and contains new product lines, more information about devices, and it now includes monitors.