Jerry joined Lenovo in 2005 and is currently the Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Portfolio & Product Management. His responsibilities include global commercial portfolio strategy, innovation planning, and product management for the corporate, education, and government segments. Jerry also has responsibility for Lenovo’s Workstation and Smart Office businesses. Prior to this, Jerry led the global Commercial Business Segment for Lenovo and was a key contributor to Lenovo’s rise to become the largest commercial devices company globally. Before joining Lenovo, Jerry spent 13 years at IBM holding numerous management roles across manufacturing, and development. He has multiple patents in the information technology field and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from N.C. State University.
What is your definition of “innovation”?
Innovation is taking transformative technologies and turning them into business advantages for our customers. It is what drives us at Lenovo as we focus on designing products with purpose and smarter technology for all. By listening to our customers’ feedback and studying their habits, we are continuously innovating and bringing new solutions to market. Our foundational engineering principles focus on things that matter to our customers: productivity, collaboration and security. For example, Lenovo has been selling the iconic ThinkPad computer for 27 years, and we have continuously innovated by listening to 140 million ThinkPad users worldwide. A few of those innovative solutions include new form factors like ThinkPad Yoga with 360-degree hinge, new lighter and more durable materials such as carbon weave and aluminum, as well as security features for today’s business users. Our ThinkShield security solution provides holistic hardware, software, services and processes for a business to secure its data. ThinkShield Innovative features also include a privacy screen, security of data while working in crowded areas, airplanes, as well as ThinkShutter camera for confidential conversations. Our customers shared those pain points, and Lenovo has delivered – that is the definition of innovation to me.
Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?
Technology has the ability to empower smarter business. At Lenovo we see this as Intelligent Transformation – using intelligent computing to empower people and business. I have seen first-hand the impact leading technology can have on a small to mid-size company, and I would break down the benefits of adopting new technologies into three points:
Smarter Devices: Outdated technology increases downtime. According to IDC, the average cost of downtime is $70,000 per hour. Small to medium companies can’t afford downtime. Thus they have to make sure they are using the latest technology and devices to make their business competitive. Different job functions require different tech solutions. Engineers need powerful ThinkPad workstations with the latest processors to complete their tasks. Much of the healthcare industry needs workstation power for diagnostic imaging. With more data analysis, more industries are turning to these solutions. It’s all about the device of choice and giving employees devices to do their specific job from PCs to tablets, to workstations and servers. Smarter devices and technology are also being used to attract talent, as 80% of millennials say technology influences job selection.
Smarter Workplaces: Technology allows for workplace transformation. Physical boundaries do not define younger generation employees and small/medium businesses – they expect to work remotely or in co-working spaces and look for virtual connectivity and collaboration with colleagues on-demand. Around 92% of businesses are embarking on workplace transformation initiatives creating smaller huddle rooms that promote better collaboration. Lenovo ThinkSmart conferencing solution with Skype and Zoom can link people faster and transform meeting culture, making it simple to connect across the world with one touch of a button. This is the evolution of the smart office, and 57% of employees expect to be working in that type of environment within five years. Delivering on these technology expectations creates a positive employee experience and increases productivity and employee retention.
Smarter Businesses: Emerging technologies can revolutionize the way we interact with each other. Adapting innovative technology in the workplace can increase competitiveness and enhance the speed of business processes with employees and consumers. An example of this is the automation of labour-intensive manual tasks. Integrating AI technology in the workplace can effectively streamline busy-work and get your employees focused on more strategic thinking and greater business challenges. Augmented reality and Virtual reality solutions are allowing businesses to change their practices completely. For example, our aerospace customers are using Lenovo’s ThinkReality headsets to eliminate downtime by diagnosing airplane issues, fixing them quickly and getting travellers on the way faster. At Lenovo, we see similar applications in manufacturing, oil/gas/utilities, field service, healthcare, engineering and architecture.
What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?
Updating technology is essential for a company to remain relevant. However, the transition to new devices and tools should be done mindfully. Ensure that your investment in tech seamlessly enables a better employee experience and promotes agility, creativity and productivity while meeting security needs. Just like you have a business plan to run your business, you should have a tech plan so that you can allow your business to grow.
Technology also attracts and empowers employees. People are a company’s most valuable asset, and it is predicted that by 2025, Millennials and Gen-Z will represent 75% of the total workforce. Companies must accommodate how this next generation is looking to work with advanced tech tools and have smarter experience between devices. They must demonstrate dedication to employee success and motivate their teams by providing them with technology that helps them perform at their best.