The Year of Samsung

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — April 01, 2013

When it comes to the enterprise, Samsung isn’t all about devices. Tim Wagner, Vice President & General Manager of Enterprise Sales & Marketing at Samsung Mobile, said in an interview with Mobile Enterprise, “It’s absolutely critical to help organizations build an ROI. It’s about what the customer is looking to accomplish.”

Wagner described Samsung more as an enterprise partner than a cap-ex line on the balance sheet. He said, “Our goal is to become the absolute thought leader of B2B, and while doing so, become the number one provider of B2B solutions globally. We have our heart and soul set into being successful in those areas. We are already seeing the early signs that the road we’re on is the right one.”

Of course, some of those early signs are purely device related. Samsung saw 263% growth in tablets from Q4 2011 to 2012 according to IDC. And in smartphones, Android represents about 68% of the market share, of which Samsung owns a large part. As Stephen Drake, Program Vice President for Mobility & Telecom research at IDC told Mobile Enterprise in an interview in February 2013, “Samsung wants to own the Android market and they want to be the enterprise choice.”

When it comes to tablets specifically, Samsung has said as much in prior interviews. Nanda Ramachandran, VP and GM of Samsung Mobile put it simply: “Where do we go from here? When we look at the tablet market in 2013, we see ourselves as we were in the smartphone market in 2012. We want to become the top tablet category owner in the world.”

Wagner’s comments support this goal, “Obviously, tablets this year are very important to our success overall. We are very focused on tablets from a B2B perspective. But one of the key areas today isn’t just trying to figure out a way to further secure our devices, it’s really to trade holistic solutions on our tablets that allow us to be more successful in specific verticals.”

So the device becomes the entry, but the enablement for key business needs results in the asking for “solutions as a service.”

SAFE Start
Still, security matters, and back in 2011, Samsung introduced its “Samsung Approved for the Enterprise” (SAFE) program which was a clear move into the enterprise. Wagner pointed out that the SAFE designation allows the devices to be B2B friendly and provides “50% more IT compliance” than Samsung’s closest smartphone or tablet competitors.

SAFE has four pillars: device encryption, the ability to connect to and be managed by Microsoft Exchange, VPN support and MDM support for all the major players. He called SAFE “the foundation for our devices in the B2B marketplace, but added, “We have to go way beyond that.”

What exactly does that mean? Wagner said Samsung has gone above and beyond to embrace the ecosystem of not only security ISVs but also the different vertical ISVs as well. For example, he cited healthcare, K-12, government, POS, transportation, hospitality and manufacturing. Additionally, the company is “embracing” app providers and ensuring that appropriate accessories are available as well.

An example of the company going the extra step took them beyond the clouds with a large American Airlines deployment. Wagner explained, “When American Airlines came to us, we didn’t just give them our devices and say, ‘good luck.’ We worked with them to create a holistic solution to achieve the goals which they set out, both from an ROI perspective and from ensuring user experience and effectiveness.”   

A is for Approach
This approach is certainly a differentiator among the top players — a point that Wagner himself noted.

“Our closest tablet competitor relies on its device being highly desirable and has not gone to the lengths that we are going to, to ensure the appropriate adoption is taking place in certain verticals.” If Apple has an enterprise strategy or any similar philosophy, it’s a well-kept secret.

For Samsung, however, ensuring this adoption does not just come from a holistic approach in the customer’s business, but also in its own. Sales is organized so that channels are properly served. Wagner has four teams, segmented accordingly: one is customer facing, around the Fortune 1500 in key verticals; another focuses on the carriers; the third on “prosumers;” and the fourth on the reseller organizations.

He said, “These enterprise focused teams are out there every day working with end customers, and their whole job is to listen. We’re not talking about how many form factors and IT policies we have. That’s the exact opposite of our approach. We go in and we listen to line of business owners talk about challenges that they have right now, and we align holistic solutions with those challenges. That’s how we’re achieving success today.”

Not singly pushing their own devices, do they talk about their competitors’ options? No, that would commoditize the discussion and, as evident, Samsung is not in it to compete only on price.  Wagner said, “We want to compete and be successful leveraging our endpoints with our ecosystem partners and creating a holistic solution to be successful with each one of the key verticals.”

Veering Vertical
Verticals being a key part of the enterprise strategy, Wagner expanded on this component with an example. Noting the special requirements of the healthcare industry, for example, they invested in that internal team.

For healthcare to deploy Android, it’s a sizeable cost consideration. “If you don’t help them [healthcare organizations] understand that we have already overcome the obstacle for Android security, they may not make the investment.

That’s the ‘warm handshake’ that has to be created,” he said. Also understanding industry-specific requirements like, in this case, the need for an anti-microbial case enables vertical acceptance.  

“We are very focused on ensuring that customers are considering all of the different pieces of the puzzle. They are asking for our help and we are delivering on that promise with the idea that we are bringing to them solutions and embracing their ecosystems,” said Wagner.

The Year of Samsung?
Looking forward, Wagner took a look back. He summed it up, “2011 was about securing the smartphone; 2012 was about building the brand, which is SAFE; 2013 is around vertical solutions that are holistic; 2014 will be acceleration of all those strategies.”


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