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Enterprise business to go as Samsung rationalises

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Kathy Gibson reports from Samsung Africa Forum in Cape Town – An organisational restructure at Samsung SA will see the three operational areas rationalised into two.

Enterprise business will be absorbed into the consumer electronics operation, with mobility still standing alone as the other business area.

Mike van Lier, director: enterprise business division at Samsung SA, tells IT-Online that the move was necessitated by HP Inc’s purchase of Samsung’s printer business.

“On 12 September last year, we announced that we would sell our printer business to HP Inc,” he says. “This is very exciting for the printer world, which is under a huge amount of pressure.”

The acquisition is expected to close around the end of the second quarter, or early in the third quarter of 2017. It is currently going through regulatory processes around the world, although the merger has already been given the green light by the South African Competition Commission.

“Once that happens, the printer business will go to HP,” Van Lier says. “But it is important that our go-to-market strategies are in line with the other products and solutions that we offer.”

With printers leaving the enterprise business division, the rest of its offerings will move into consumer electronics. But Van Lier stresses that the focus and channel that has been built up in these solutions will carry through.

“It is important that we don’t lose the B2B ethics we have built up over time. There will still be people dedicated to our B2B customers, looking after all the solution areas and vertical markets that we’ve built up.

“We will still keep the B2B environment, together with its go-to-market channel, as a separate business unit within consumer electronics.”

Importantly, the B2B channel will remain intact, Van Lier stresses. “We decided up front we have to keep the integrity of the channel true.”

There is no finality yet on how the team at Samsung will look, but announcements are expected within the next few weeks.

“Businesses have to adapt and change with the times in order to be successful,” Van Lier adds. “Samsung knows this, and sometimes makes some tough calls, but they benefit the business and so they benefit our customers.”

Although the enterprise business will report into consumer electronics, Van Lier reassures customers that Samsung will still invest as heavily in the products and offerings. “There is no reason not to invest money and resources into these technologies.

“Samsung has always been known for its R&D,” he adds. “About one-fifth of the staff complement is in R&D, including about 5 000 doctorates. There is always something happening in terms of product development.

“And this investment cuts across all environments, including energy, 3D printing and memory. There is a hunger to continue to develop those technologies that is very much the heartbeat of our business.”

On the merger of the Samsung printing business into HP Inc, Van Lier believes this a very positive move and the market will benefit from it.

“The merged companies offer a very powerful proposition,” he says.

HP Inc will retain the Samsung brand as a separate product line for at least 18 months, and will keep the existing channel intact for the foreseeable future.