Samsung Expands Alliance Program To Get Cozier With Systems Integrators

Samsung Electronics on Wednesday announced an expansion of its vertical mobility solutions program, the Samsung Alliance Program, in an effort to formally bring aboard systems integrators as part of a push to work more closely with partners to win enterprise business.

The program originally launched several years ago with a focus on working with independent software vendors, said Jim Heesacker, vice president of strategic alliances at Samsung Business. More than 300 ISVs are now part of the program, and the expansion of the Alliance Program will also provide improved benefits for ISVs, he said.

[Related: Samsung Channel Chief Touts Increased Focus On Selling Through Partners]

While Samsung has been informally working with systems integrators as well, the addition of systems integrators to the Alliance Program "adds a framework to the process," Heesacker said.

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"This has given us a level of organization and framework to evaluate partnerships on the front end, and spend more time figuring out, what are the gaps we're trying to address in the marketplace? Is this a one-off, or are there multiple customers in the marketplace we can fulfill with this partner?" Heesacker told CRN.

In addition, the new framework will allow for figuring out "the proper scope of the partnership" up front, he said.

While ISVs in the Samsung Alliance Program fall into silver, gold or platinum tiers, systems integrators in the program will set expectations and benefits through negotiations with Samsung, Heesacker said.

"We didn't want a cookie cutter approach" with systems integrators, he said. Samsung is open to bringing aboard additional SIs to join the program, Heesacker noted.

One systems integrator that's worked with Samsung on projects in the past is New York-based Infusion, whose chief experience officer Peter Rivera said that access to product teams at Samsung is a key benefit of the program.

"We can speak with product leads, talk about the nuances of an API," Rivera told CRN. "If you have a question, you have a dedicated contact at Samsung and you can get the answer. That's invaluable."

A key focus of the Samsung Alliance Program is developing customized solutions built around Samsung's Knox mobile security platform, and one joint project between Infusion and Samsung involved developing a tablet-based staff training program for a major retailer, Rivera said.

The expectation going forward is that Samsung and its systems integrator partners will work more closely on proposing solutions to customers, Heesacker said. Businesses today are expecting increasingly complex, end-to-end solutions, which necessitates working with partners that have vertical expertise, he said.

"For us to continue to be successful, we need some partners that will take us beyond our own capabilities. Our customers demand and require that," Heesacker said.

Meanwhile, Samsung is also adding large technology vendors to its Alliance Program, and is enhancing certain benefits for ISVs.

Those benefits for ISVs include quick access to Samsung teams, early access to Samsung products (for testing prior to market launch) and off-loading of certain services, such as support calls.