Samsung Electronics has been successful in the enterprise delivering solutions encompassing smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, software and services. Part of their success can be attributed to “product,” as they were the first to harden Android with Samsung Knox, they have the widest array of mobile offerings available, and are pushing the boundaries with mobile security. Their enterprise-grade support, services and ISV relations played a big part as well, and what I’d like to touch on here is Samsung’s revamped Alliances Program.
Samsung announced today they will expand their Samsung Alliance Program, whose charter it is to help accelerate businesses’ mobile-first strategies. I think this announcement is a great way for the mobile giant to start off the New Year, right after the company forecasted a 50% improvement in profits in the recent quarter and fielded a solid CES. Initiatives like this new program sends a good message that Samsung is geared towards the future and remain all-in, not looking in the rear-view Note7 window, to help solidify their place at the “mobile digital transformation table.”
Original program launched in 2013
Samsung Electronics has had an ISV program in place for a while. The original alliance program was launched at the Samsung Solutions Exchange in 2013 and was focused predominately on independent software vendors (ISVs) — designed to help businesses support their mobile workflows leveraging Samsung’s customized vertical solutions, mobile insights and enterprise support. Ranging from cloud integration, to device security, to personalized apps, the program helped enterprise customers optimize their mobility solutions through a partner ecosystem. According to Samsung, the Alliances Program, as it currently stands, is less about volume of partners and instead focused on delivering value to the customer.
New Samsung Alliance Program in summary
With the expansion, the new program will enhance benefits for over 300 ISVs who will now have exclusive access to Samsung’s product, R&D, channel and direct sales teams. This is crucial because it will allow the software vendors in the Samsung partner ecosystem to better provide end-to-end mobile solutions and services to their customers across multiple industries and verticals.
Another facet to the expansion is that the program will now bring all their alliance partners under one roof by including large technology vendors and system integrators (SIs). This is smart as it gets everyone rowing in the same direction.
What it means to businesses
There are many different areas where I see these expansions bringing value to businesses. First off, in the realm of security — which is of upmost importance when it comes to business mobility. Without security there is no solution. With the increased threats at epidemic levels, business end points need to be secured. With Samsung Knox, the company’s defense-grade mobile security platform, as well as coordination with leading security consulting providers, Samsung says their customers’ data will be secure without sacrificing convenience. I have appreciated that every year, Samsung and partners made mobile end points even more secure and convenient and I’m looking forward to the next set of improvement.
Another area that will deliver value to businesses is consulting — Samsung and its partners will be available to help customers develop their custom mobility strategies, from updating existing infrastructure, to finding new solutions that change the way business is done. Some businesses want the “easy button” and some want to piece together their own solutions. Samsung, along with their partners, want to bridge both ends. Experts can now provide a wide variety of consulting services — solution architecture, creative design, mobile device deployment and platform integration.
Additionally, I think we will see added value when we look at speed of delivery, speed to market and overall deployment success.
What it means to partners
Customers will not be the only ones who benefit from this expansion — Samsung’s partners will also reap the rewards. With this program, technology partners and Sis can combine their own emergent technologies (think Cloud and digital analytics) with Samsung’s mobile prowess, and I think we’re going to see some really innovative solutions coming from these collaborations.
In addition to the ISVs gaining access to key Samsung teams (which I mentioned earlier), select qualified ISV’s will be able to begin early lab testing on Samsung products before market launches. This is a huge deal as it shortcuts time to testing, solution and money. Samsung also provides streamlined support infrastructure to their partners. Better yet, their new partner information portal is designed to make it easy for ISVs to access online training programs and marketing materials.
Alliance partners seem to have good things to say about the program. VMware partners with Samsung to deliver high-security mobile solutions (backed by Samsung Knox and VMware AirWatch), designed to reduce risk for corporate environments. According to Blake Bannon in Samsung's press release, the vice president of Product Marketing, End-User Computing at VMware, the Samsung Alliance Program “simplifies management of Samsung endpoints,” and that the partnership is “delivering value-added solutions” that “accelerate digital transformation.”
Health care is an industry that is currently undergoing massive digital transformation. One of Samsung’s Alliance partners, Homecare Homebase, is a provider of solutions for home health and hospice organizations. They’ve partnered with Samsung to give their caregivers an all-in-one hardware and software platform for their workflow needs — for example, managing point-of-care solutions and accessing electronic medical records for patients in real-time. According to Scott Pattillo in Samsung's press release, Homecare Homebase’s Chief Strategy Officer, “Our ongoing collaboration with Samsung will help us as we continue to expand our offerings.”
Where Samsung Alliances wants to differentiate
Samsung Electronics says they’ve received feedback that there is a need for a framework that more effectively moves a partnership all the way through the discovery phases to the execution of a go-to-market plan. Think a holistic, real relationship. The Alliances Program seeks to assist in that, by providing dedicated resources, budget, solution definition, development support and marketing support — crucial for customers’ and partner’s long term success.
Think a holistic, real relationship
This sets them apart from many other companies’ partner programs, who tend to eschew direct involvement after procurement. Samsung professes to be committed to all stages of the customer journey. I’ll be very interested in checking in after six months to see how this is going.
I am very glad to see Samsung expand and extend the Strategic Alliance Program. Businesses need even more help transforming their workflows and mobility is a huge part of doing this. None of this is easy, particularly with the current security epidemic, and Samsung alone can’t solve every businesses problem, so they will arm their ISVs, SIs and large technology providers with the tools to help. This is a smart move, and, if executed as promised, should drive value for both their partners and customers. By extending the benefits for ISVs and bringing large tech vendors and SIs under the same umbrella, I think the program will only become more appealing to prospective partners. I look forward to seeing these new changes put into action and will be watching closely. I’ll be very interested in checking in after six months to see how this is going.