Samsung aims B2B to be quarter of biz by 2020

South Korean electronics firm is rolling out a slew of enterprise products, a branding campaign, streamlining its channel program and is hiring from other heavyweights.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

JAKARTA--South Korean electronics giant Samsung is planning to make the enterprise segment a key pillar of its business, aiming to make it account for 23 percent of its total global revenue by 2020. The segment currenly represents 6 percent globally and 3 percent in Southeast Asia.
To achieve those targets, Samsung is rolling out a slew of products, raising awareness over its enterprise offerings with a branding campaign, streamlined its channel program and is hiring workers from other enterprise heavyweights, said Craig Gledhill, Samsung's vice president of enterprise and small and midsize businesses (SMB) for Samsung Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

"It's like having a startup in a very big company. That's the phase we are going through," said Gledhill during an interview, refering to the relatively new focus for Samsung.
He explained the push into the enterprise space was conceptualized two years ago when Samsung put together its long term corporate plans and identified it as a key segment to develop and grow. The executive emphasized Samsung's goal to derive 23 percent of revenue from business-to-business (B2B) was quite significant as it was  based on the projected revenue for 2020, and not on current numbers.

The vice-president noted one of Samsung's strategies to ramp up its competencies is hiring expertise from companies with "histories of enterprise" such as Cisco, Dell and HP. Gledhill himself joined Samsung last year after nearly a decade with Cisco, leaving his post as vice president for Asia-Pacific.

Tapping mobile B2B opportunities

"The biggest opportunity for us now is the mobile worker, anyone who can use a smart device is one," said Gledhill. He pointed out Samsung was already well positioned to tap the enterprise market as it had a range of products it could integrate together, and could also leverage existing infrastructure such as existing service centers.

The company has already taken strides to ride the bring your own device (BYOD) trend with its launch last week of a new containerised security system called Knox for some of its Android-powered Galaxy smartphones. Knox allows IT administrators to keep personal and work data completely separate by operating at the application layer level--similar to BlackBerry's balance system.

While Gledhill admitted Apple had a first-mover advantage in some verticals in attracting enterprise adoption of its iPad tablets, he played down the disadvantage from Samsung's late push.

Samsung booklet
A booklet part of Samsung's enterprise branding campaign with a tagline, "the new business experience is here" is being distributed to partners. (credit: Ryan Huang/ZDNet)

"Most of them haven't moved beyond a pilot stage. Right now, there are a lot of pilots but not for actual deployment," the executive noted. Some of the industries Samsung is targeting include education, healthcare, hospitality, retail, and financial services.

According to the executive, one of the key advantages offered by Samsung will be availability of Windows 8-based devices, which would cater to companies reluctant to migrate from their legacy Windows environment.

Building up B2B

To gain more traction, Gledhill said important changes have been made to its channel initiatives, such as streamlining them globally under one umbrella under a new Samsung Technology Enterprise Program (STEP) to avoid duplication and different standards across divisions.
He added there would now also be more attention paid to differentiating partners, according to a tiered structure. "We haven't done very well in working out how to treat our partners," noted the vice president.

More effort would also be put into attracting developers to migrate their applications onto the Samsung app store to differentiate its products further. For example, developers behild a computer program for emergency and treatment specialists were recently persuaded to port their software to the Samsung app store exclusively.
Another area where the enterprise division would be working on is branding and marketing, where a campaign has just been launched. Gledhill said this will help raise awareness over its competencies, as for example not many people knew the company was the world number two in the printer space.

Ryan Huang of ZDNet Asia reported from Samsung Forum 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the invitation of Samsung.

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