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Samsung Aims To Deepen Channel ‘Commitment’ With Ascend Portal Upgrades

The Ascend partner portal has received enhancements around user personalization and marketing content as the push to win more business customers continues at the device maker.

Samsung is doubling down on its efforts to win new business customers in 2021 with the help of solution providers, most recently with enhancements to the company’s Ascend portal that seek to help partners more rapidly drive new business, Samsung’s channel chief told CRN.

Launched just over a year ago, Samsung’s Ascend Partner Portal received updates this week that include improved personalization for users along with access to marketing assets that can easily be customized to the partner’s needs, the company said.

[Related: 4 Things To Know About Samsung’s New Galaxy A Phones]

John Curtis, vice president and head of mobile B2B at Samsung Electronics America, said in an interview with CRN that the company is continually seeking new ways to help channel partners scale with Samsung solutions.

“If you’re an end user, you really get faster access to the resources that you need for your business opportunities—faster access for you to drive business for your organization,” said Curtis, whose duties were expanded to include the channel chief role at Samsung in January. “This should allow us to scale, and most importantly allow our partners to scale.”

This “enhanced partner experience” for the Ascend portal comes as Samsung is targeting major growth in 2021 with the help of its North American channel partners, Curtis said. Key products that Samsung is targeting for business customers include rugged devices such as the Galaxy Tab Active3 tablet, the Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone and Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition, as well as Samsung Chromebooks and the newly launched midrange Galaxy A series smartphones.

“We have hugely ambitious goals this year, and we’re off to a good start in Q1,” Curtis said.

As demand continues to surge for portable devices amid the widespread shift to remote working and learning, “we can see [the increased demand] in our pipeline, and we can see that in the specific verticals that are growing for us,” he said.

Samsung has been focusing its B2B efforts around taking a solutions-based approach and targeting several key verticals—including health care, transportation, manufacturing, retail and government, Curtis said.

To do that, Samsung is seeking to “go wide and go deep” with the channel and is actively “increasing our number of channel partners,” he said.

This week’s updates to the Ascend Partner Portal are targeted at better enabling Samsung’s work with solution providers, Curtis said.

In terms of personalization, users will now automatically see an interface inside the Ascend portal that’s based on their area of focus—whether that’s mobility, or displays, or both. Users can also see a personalized interface based on which verticals they are focused on.

Meanwhile, the Ascend portal will also now include access to an “automated marketing engine” that features assets for resellers that can be quickly customized in a “plug-and-play” fashion—saving time from not having to re-create new marketing content, Samsung said.

The changes make Ascend “a lot more user-friendly for our partners, and specifically for the end user within the partners,” Curtis said.

At Denali Advanced Integration, a Samsung partner based in Redmond, Wash., the changes are very welcome as a way to make the Ascend tool “more efficient and more effective,” said Bill Barry, executive vice president of global sales and alliances at the solution provider.

“This means that we will use the tool more, and it increases our speed to market,” Barry said. “This is another example of Samsung bringing tools to the B2B market that will improve our productivity and improve our efficiency.”

Jennifer Pointer, executive vice president of global strategy at Denali, said the Ascend enhancements “demonstrate the investment that they’re making in B2B” at Samsung.

“They’re continually improving and enhancing their tools based on the feedback of their partners,” Pointer said. “That demonstrates a level of commitment to the channel that partners like Denali appreciate and recognize and value as we are going to market.”

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