Samsung sharpens enterprise focus

Sukesh Jain, Vice President – Enterprise Business, Samsung India

Through its innovative offerings, Samsung is establishing itself amongst enterprise customers as a focused partner in their mobility journey.

Born in the mobility era’ – this is the way the world addresses the Indian market today. People here in India think of mobile first and this has transformed the domestic market. As of date, 80-85% usage of the Internet is taking place on mobile, which is opposite to that of a market like the US, where the Internet usage is far more prevalent on the PC. The US market is still a very advanced economy in terms of ‘e-tization’ of their services. But as far as the mobility piece is concerned, the end consumer in India is using the mobile as a far effective way to access the Internet.

Moreover, the Indian government’s push to the Digital India has also enhanced the usage of smartphones, as a lot of applications, digital initiatives, and e-services are today available on mobile devices.  Another big thrust has been the roll out of Aadhaar. With its one billion footprint in terms of biometric database available, it has been at the forefront of a lot of reform, both on the government as well as citizen side and speed of service delivery on the corporate side.

While the growth of mobile phones has swayed the end consumer market in the country, the enterprise segment too has started adopting mobility solutions in a big way to transform their businesses. Mobility and mobile solutions have now become a new go-to-market in itself. In fact, from the enterprise perspective, it is seen as a new business model. This has come as a big change in the last 12 to 18 months in the country, which has given an impetus to mobility at the core of business solutions or business centric services.

The global leader, Samsung, has benefited immensely from this push or overall uptake both at the consumer as well at the business end. Apparently, the last year and half has been really exciting for Samsung’s enterprise business.

Sukesh Jain, Vice President – Enterprise Business, Samsung India, points out, “We, at Samsung, have clearly defined a roadmap for the enterprise business. Innovation continues to be the core of our business model. We are bringing out the latest in technology from the enterprise perspective and the best-in-class security, which is the biggest concern today. We have made a huge amount of dollars and man-days investment in the R&D piece. A lot of this helps us to focus on B2B or enterprise side of the business by bringing in these core values.”

Fort Knox
The first and the foremost concern for any enterprise today is the ‘security’, which is being addressed through Samsung’s Knox platform. Jain states that from the security perspective, its platform, Knox, is considered to be the defense grade security platform available for any enterprise or government body to use. The biggest advantage that Knox as a platform brings in is the security right from HW layer right upto Application Layer. Knox Devices have multiple layers of security right from Hardware root of trust, Secure and Trusted Boot, Trustzone based Integrity Management, Security Enhancements from SE Android & Trustzone Based Security Services. This platform is today well recognized all across the world with certifications like FIPS, Common Criteria, etc. In fact, 29 countries have accepted it as best-in-class platform for their deployment.

The Knox platform brings in lots of loaded features to be able to customize & manage the device and secure it with fine granularity For example, taking control of hardware keys, controlling hard and soft reset , playstore level controls , whitelisting and blacklisting Apps and URLs, Creating Advanced Kiosk Modes, to name a few.
“We have 5 R&D centers and 1 design center and 2 manufacturing units in India and part of that workforce is dedicated to help organizations do this kind of tasks. We help them with advanced APIs to integrate their applications with Knox features. This is the kind of infrastructure we have placed here in India,” says Jain.

Besides, the company comes across a lot of operational challenges on the customer side from the deployment standpoint. “One of the major challenges that enterprises face is ensuring that the right set of applications are preloaded and set in the right frame. We took this feedback and came out with a product which is based on cloud configuration and pushes all the required applications and policies changes to the device from the MDM perspective. The moment a person boots up his device and puts it up on data network the applications and policies get automatically downloaded and these cannot be deleted. Even if the device is reset, the next time it is booted up, same configuration gets pushed again. This is great for enterprises as they don’t have to unbox the devices, side load all policies and applications and then distribute. In effect, a lot of time and cost savings.  We have made sure that this bottleneck from the enterprise perspective is taken care efficiently without much intervention,” explains Jain.

In order to remain ahead of technology, the company has introduced a ‘leasing program’ in which it gives its enterprise customers the flexibility of keeping the tablet or the mobile device on a per month usage basis and they get a refresh of it every 2 years. With this, they do not invest in new devices and continue using the latest in technology.

He further states, “The other feedback was how the device can be customized to the customer requirements even from the hardware perspective. In this case, we worked with our set of partners in which we have brought in an integrated device where a tablet or mobile would be at the core and along with it, we built a ruggedized environment, with options of an added printer, extra battery, a fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication, smart card reader etc. With this, we can customise the device according to the requirement of the end customer so that he does not need to carry multiple devices.”

Moreover, from the servicing standpoint, Samsung ensures a comprehensive and extended warranty up to 3 years (1 + 2) years warranty that is provided as a package. At some places, the company even provides pick-up and drop facility. “We have tried to look at the business enterprise needs and work out processes from the device or platform perspective in terms of integration of application through our APIs. Based on the feedback received in our journey over the last few years, we have tried to modify our go-to-market by bringing in these changes,” says Jain.

Current penetration in the Indian market
For Samsung’s enterprise business, BFSI as well as the micro-finance sectors are the biggest contributors to its growth in the country. Besides, it is focusing on education, government, FMCG, and the services industry like logistics, automotive, car rental, etc. in a big way.

“Government is a key vertical for us. With the government giving a major push to digitization, the various state governments and central agencies are leveraging mobility in a big way. Government departments are looking for quality offerings as these solutions form an integral part of successful implementation of any project. Our best-in-class offerings and customization capabilities make us a preferred choice. The success or failure of projects depends upon the end devices on which the applications run. We are bringing comprehensive solution for the government sector. We have done projects for several govt. departments-,” adds Jain.

Earlier, Samsung used to be considered just as a consumer brand. But the company has come a long way in the enterprise segment as well. Over the last 18 to 24 months, it has established itself by bringing in solutions like Knox and products like Iris or ruggedized tablets (exclusive for enterprise customers and not available for retail).

In order to address the burgeoning opportunities in the enterprise segment, the company has set up a dedicated B2B enterprise team. For instance, Jain’s team just focuses on selling to enterprise customers and the government. This is unlike most of the other OEMs that have the same team that services both end customer and enterprise needs. This approach has helped Samsung to bring more attention to the enterprise business and better handholding of the customers.

Additionally, it has invested and created a ‘technical solutions team’ that works closely with the IT department of all the enterprises to ensure their technology needs are addressed “This brings the confidence of the enterprises that Samsung is well equipped from an enterprise solutions perspective. Now, the enterprises are accepting us as a ‘business brand’ too,” says Jain.

To address Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), company also runs a Corporate Purchase Program, a platform for corporate employees to purchase Samsung products at a special discount along with various bundles and offers as a privilege.

The other thing that comes to the company’s favor is ‘after-sales service’. Currently, Samsung has 535 customer service vans catering to every nook and corner of India. With this, Samsung has the widest network of over 3000 service points across India. “Our focus and capability to handle services deep into a state also gives the confidence to the state government,” asserts Jain. As part of the enterprise business, Samsung has also invested in setting up a state-of-the-art ‘Enterprise Briefing Center’ at Gurgaon, wherein customers can get a look and feel of all its products, services, and solutions.

In partnership with solution providers
Samsung works very closely with a strong partner ecosystem. On one side, it has a set of partners who help it to offer bundled devices to the customers.  On the other hand, as a special program, it is working with all the major Software players/ ISVs of the country. Through a program, called SEAP (Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program), the company enrolls all the Software partners where they get privileged access to their wide range of SDKs & APIs and integrate their applications.

“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,” points out Jain.

The company has a separate team who only works on this relationship and manages the ISVs and system integrators. “In this journey with ISVs, we have invested a lot of resources and time and effort from our end in order to ensure that ISVs develop their applications in the best possible manner. We do hold various workshops with ISVs at various cities wherein our R&D team is also involved, who give their inputs and training to ensure that they are up with the latest of what’s happening at our end. We do a lot of joint go-to-market and representation to the end customers. We always strive to create a win-win situation for both,” mentions Jain.

Wearables as part of the portfolio
Samsung also offers wearables as part of its enterprise portfolio. This includes products like Gear VR, Gear S3 Watch, and Gear 360 camera which is able to record 360 degree view to be used in Gear virtual reality. As part of use cases, a lot of real estate companies are showing keenness on using Samsung’s Gear VR. There are classic business use cases that are coming up using its accessories. Wearables are becoming a parallel story for the company.

Recently, Samsung has introduced a very unique solution – Samsung DeX with its Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphone and now with Galaxy Note8. It is a virtual reality platform where using the smartphone and a screen, one can actually do away with a laptop or a computer. With a Microsoft license on the mobile couple with wireless keyboard and mouse, one can use a phone on a DeX as a virtual desktop.

The road ahead  
Globally, 10% of the Samsung’s business comes from the enterprise and the company is constantly looking to increase this percentage year-on-year. “We would continue to focus on our core values, which are security and flexibility in terms of enterprise adoption. As time goes by, we will focus on ensuring that whatever advancements in technology are happening, are brought to India as they are taking place globally. We want to keep India at par with the rest of the world. We are focusing on ‘Make for India’ meeting the requirements here in the country,” concludes Jain.

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