Samsung To Partners: 'Think Big'


Laying out its vision for 2014, Samsung said it expects to continue its rapid growth and plans to deepen its commitment to the channel, the company's Vice President of Marketing Todd Bouman said Tuesday at XChange 2014, hosted by CRN publisher The Channel Company.

"We continued down the path of focus on building the market and building our leadership ... My commitment to you as our partners is that we remain 100 percent channel-focused," Bouman said in his keynote address. "We continue to remain channel-friendly, channel-focused."

The past year was a successful one for Samsung, Bouman said, highlighting the company's 65 percent growth between 2012 and 2013, driven by a jump in Chromebook, memory, LFD and hospitality vertical sales.

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For the next year, Bouman said partners can expect an increased emphasis on vertical markets, driving technology across certain technology practices, building out the Samsung brand, and simplifying the way that the company does business overall.

"In a nutshell, you see a lot of firsts here," Bouman said. "Those firsts are based upon our commitment to business, our commitment to you [our partners] to not only build up the product and technology, but also the infrastructure and brands that [are] required to go forward."

For vertical markets, Bouman said partners can expect increased emphasis on health care, education, finance and, particularly, retail. Samsung already has a strong foothold in the education market, he said, holding a significant portion of the Chromebook market, but he said the company hopes to push further into the education tablet market, as well as create a full education solution that he called the "Samsung School." In retail, he said Samsung would develop mobile point-of-sale solutions as well as grow its digital signage business. For finance, he said Samsung was looking to increase mobility and creating the trade floor of the future. Finally, for health care, he said partners could expect an increased emphasis on EHR and the Internet of Things.

"We don’t have all of these solutions built out, and that’s where we want to engage with more of our partners to figure out where it makes sense and where we should go with this technology," Bouman said.

As for products, Bouman said partners should look forward to increased display, printer and mobile computing capabilities from Samsung, including large format displays, digital signage for the SMB market, document management, and a focus on the core tablet offering.

David Ruchman, CTO at powersolution.com, a Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.-based Samsung partner, said that he, in particular, appreciated the emphasis on print technologies mentioned by Bouman in his keynote address.

"It's one of those things that is never going to go away," Ruchman said. "It's good to have a rock-solid solution that's never going to go away."

To help get the message out, Bouman said Samsung would roll out four key marketing initiatives. He said Samsung was working to attend more events and conferences, focusing on those vertical industries in particular. He said the company was expanding its Executive Briefing Centers to educate partners and customers on Samsung solutions, as well as creating advisory boards to get more direct input from partners. Finally, he said the company would produce more vertically focused documentation to help partners communicate the new focus to their end-user customers.

"It doesn’t make sense to create solutions in a vacuum," Bouman said. "We need to make sure these solutions are hitting a pain point in the industry."

All of these initiatives for 2014 tie into a single goal of trying to simplify how Samsung does business with its partners, Bouman said. Toward that goal, Bouman said Samsung will prioritize a partner portal to help control, categorize and work better with partners.

"[Samsung is] thinking big about the opportunities -- it's thinking big about where this can go, how the market evolves and what our customer needs are. I would also like to ask you [our partners] to think big," Bouman said. "We're here. We're in your corner."

PUBLISHED MARCH 5, 2014