Nokia targets enterprise mobility channel

There is a great deal more to mobile giant Nokia than flashy phones. With a push e-mail solution scheduled to launch in the Middle East and North Africa market before the end of 2005, Nokia is finalising a channel recruitment plan that will target systems integrators, VARs and ISVs capable of selling enterprise mobility solutions to businesses across the region.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 16, 2005

There is a great deal more to mobile giant Nokia than flashy phones. With a push e-mail solution scheduled to launch in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market before the end of 2005, Nokia is finalising a channel recruitment plan that will target systems integrators, VARs and ISVs capable of selling enterprise mobility solutions to businesses across the region. “The vision is enterprise mobility,” explained Joe Devassy, enterprise solutions sales manager at Nokia MENA and a familiar face to many in the regional IT channel. “It is all about how companies can connect mobile devices to the corporate IT resource. This could mean e-mail or it could even be CRM, ERP or a specific vertical application.” Nokia has already signed up a distributor to work with channel partners in MENA to develop its route-to-market for enterprise mobility solutions. SecureWay, part of French distributor SoftWay, has launched its operation at DIC and will play a pivotal role in channel development across MENA. Nokia also plans to set up a dedicated call centre to generate leads for its enterprise mobility solutions offering across MENA. “I have already met some 20 partners from across the GCC,” commented Devassy. “We have partners ready to go and we are confident that even more will want to take part when the push e-mail solution is officially launched. A certified Nokia accreditation programme will be launched in August and partners will need to meet resource, training and minimum business requirements. Humansoft has been appointed as the authorised training partner for enterprise solutions across MENA.” Nokia will eventually look to work with approximately 30 top tier systems integrators across the GCC, capable of high level managed engagement with enterprise clients, and between 50 and 60 focused integrators reaching out to a broader customer base of smaller businesses. The primary focus will be partners with strong competency in network integration and messaging as well as access to a wide customer base. While Nokia’s handset business often grabs the headlines, the company also boasts a strong security offering and supplies network solutions to operators. Nokia’s enterprise solutions business group, which was formed at the beginning of 2004, aims to pull together Nokia’s expertise across all these sectors to create compelling solutions for customers ranging from small and medium businesses through to the largest enterprises. “Enterprise mobility sits in the middle,” said Devassy. “There are no clear leaders in this space and it remains very fragmented. Nokia’s vision is to dominate this space — to provide the device, the security and the connectivity solution.” With the worldwide enterprise mobility market expected to be worth some US$36bn by 2007 according to research houses, it is little wonder that the segment is becoming a strategic area of focus for Nokia. However, to reach the target customer base, the vendor is acutely aware that it requires a new go-to-market strategy. “The people that buy an enterprise mobility solution are the IT managers and decision makers,” continued Devassy. “The purchasing decision will come at a senior level and the companies that sell at this level are systems integrators and other IT channel players.” “This is a paradigm shift for Nokia,” he added. “For our mobile and multimedia products, the partners we have are basically retailers. For the networks business we work with specialised partners capable of selling to operators. For enterprise mobility we need to look at the IT channel and adopt a typical IT go-to-market model.” Devassy identifies four components that make up an enterprise mobility solution: device, security, application and connectivity. Nokia has a strong offering in three of these four areas with applications the only area where partner involvement is critical. Demand for push e-mail and application availability on mobile devices is expected to be strong across MENA. With many executives travelling extensively across the region, Nokia is setting its sights on businesses with the potential for five users and above. Many executives in MENA already use Nokia business devices such as the Communicator, but do not utilise the full functionality of these products. Some are connecting to e-mail using a dial-up connection — a system that is nowhere near as smooth or seamless as a real-time push e-mail offering. In terms of push e-mail services, there are two primary models that can be employed: an enterprise driven model and an operator driven model. Devassy explains the difference between the two: “Operator driven means that the enterprise has a connection to the operator. The e-mails go from the enterprise to the operator and are then pushed to the device. The enterprise driven model uses a client server model. The push to the device comes from the enterprise and is more secure because the IT manager controls the service over the operator’s GPRS network.” Enterprise mobility solutions offer a compelling margin model for channel partners with the lure of recurring revenue streams acting as another tempter. Annual maintenance contracts and long-term engagement with clients are sure to attract partners wanting to sell push e-mail solutions to their existing customer base. Partners with specialist software skills can also make high margins by developing and delivering specific vertical applications to customers. “The message is clear,” said Devassy. “This is a huge market opportunity opening up and the margins are there. Those that are first to move into this area will have the advantage in the long-run if they build up the long-term customer relationships early.” “Nokia is a player in the IT space and is looking for IT channel partners. When I talk to people, some say that they don’t want to sell mobiles. This is not selling mobiles. This is selling cutting-edge IT solutions that use the devices,” he concluded.

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