Samsung is bullish on setting benchmarks in the enterprise mobility space. As part of its roadmap, the company is renewing its focus on the partner ecosystem, which has been increasingly contributing to Samsung’s enterprise business in India. Sukesh Jain, Senior Vice President, Samsung Electronics India shares more details
How significant has been the contribution of the partner ecosystem behind Samsung’s growth?
The company’s growth has primarily happened because of our partners. While we engage with some large customers directly, we do the business with partners only. Samsung has evolved over the last five years – we started getting into the enterprise business in India. Earlier, the focus was on large corporates, with direct engagements, but over the last few years, we have been expanding the focus. We have realised that our strength lies in products, ecosystem and bringing them togethet as an end-to-end solution for customers.
However, we need the reach and connect, which only partners can provide. Around three years ago, we set a clear partner strategy which has evolved over the last two years. Our focus is now moving to the SMB space, wherein our partner ecosystem plays a critical role. We have been putting extensive efforts on partner engagement activities. We believe that our partners can take us to the next level.
Have you designed any specific channel programme, aimed at building capabilities around emerging technologies?
We have an elaborate certification programme, wherein we train our partner team members on our latest products. We have also graded our partners, depending upon their investment, resources and business. We run various engagement programmes for our partners. We also conduct customer initiatives with our partners, wherein we educate customers our various solutions. We also work with our ISV ecosystem, and bring in their solutions coupled with Samsung’s. Moreover, we organise numerous events wherein we showcase our latest technologies.
In terms of marketing, we provide a significant support to our partners; this helps them in reaching out to a larger customer base. Our initiatives span across the country, including Tier 2 markets.
MSSPs play a vital role in the overall IT space. Is it the same in the mobility space?
Managed security services a broad area, which encompasses mobile security as a subset, in addition to data and cloud security among others. Organisations look at security from an end-to-end perspective, and mobile security is one part of that. Any MSSP or system integrator can use our Knox platform to ensure that the mobile part is fully secured. Going forward, I believe that mobile security will become a big component of the overall managed security story. Samsung is well positioned to provide the tools and capabilities to MSSP partners.
Cloud has become a reality in terms of adoption; however, there are significant talks on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT). How will this reshape the industry with new opportunities for partners?
Technologies like mixed reality, augmented reality, machine learning etc will have a big impact in the coming years. Samsung is strongly placed on the virtual reality front with its products and solutions. Globally, we have launched many services in IoT and virtual reality space. In terms of training and hand-holding, we will work alongwith our software partners and ISVs in the ecosystem, who will develop applications based on these technologies. Through a portal, called SEAP (Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program), the company enrolls all the software partners where they get privileged access to their wide range of SDKs and APIs and integrate their applications. For instance, when we rolled out the Samsung Iris tablet, we worked very closely with all the ISVs to ensure that the applications got integrated to the Iris tablet. We already have three R&D centres in India, as part of which, a dedicated team works with enterprise customers and partners. This team works closely with software developers to help them integrate their applications into our latest products.
On the lines of Centre of Excellence, we already have our Customer Executive Briefing Centre in Gurugram. Furthermore, we will launch another centre in Bengaluru, wherein customers can learn about our entire spectrum of solutions and products.
Going forward, what can the partner ecosystem expect from the enterprise mobility space?
We, as Samsung, believed that enterprise is going to be a core focus area for the company. Samsung is probably the only OEM that has invested in a platform loaded with enterprise services. Knox, which started merely as security platform four years ago, has now evolved into a multi-product platform which purely focuses on enterprise services. Clearly, at the end of the day, mobile is just a commodity, but we wanted to bring an entire ecosystem of solutions which can be integrated with Samsung devices – that’s why we invested heavily on the Knox platform. Partners can leverage the Knox platform to develop customised services for their customers. Our recently launched E-FOTA solution Knox Guard reaffirm our focus.
How does Samsung measure the success of it partners; and how critical is their success for Samsung?
We strongly believe that we become successful only when our partners are successful. Our dependence on our partner ecosystem is utmost. We have also reorganised ourselves to focus more on the channel, instead of direct engagement with customers. Direct engagements – which consisted 70 per cent of our business earlier – has been now reduced to 40 per cent. Most of our business is now led by the channel community. Moreover, whenever a new product is launched, we organise exclusive preview for our partner community, so that they can learn and engage with customers.