Symbol restructures to boost market share

Symbol has embarked on a massive restructuring project to boost its market share and allow it to capitalise on the growing popularity of mobile computing solutions. However, the three stage plan is still in its infancy.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  July 2, 2003

|~||~||~|Symbol Technologies has embarked on a massive restructuring project that it hopes will boost its market share and allow it to capitalise on the growing popularity of mobile computing solutions. While the three stage plan is still in its infancy, the vendor hopes to have completed the bulk of it by the end of 2003 before embarking on an investment drive in early 2004.

“By the end of this month we will have gone internal with our blueprint for the EMEA region and this will deliver what our expectations are. By the end of this calendar year I expect us to have finished the physical restructuring… and then we will be looking at how to drive investment and where best to invest,” explains Steve Priestley, area vice president, EMEA operations, Symbol Technologies.

The vendor’s restructuring programme will address three key areas in which Symbol has previously struggled, namely local coverage, sales, and the ability maximise its vertical knowledge in a wider market.

“If you look at the history of [Symbol] then there is a significant amount of knowledge that we are not leveraging. We are not sharing best practices and we are unable to do so because of our organisational structure… [There has been] a lack of investment in the field force and not enough hands to touch our customers with,” explains Priestley.

“Symbol is a good technology company, it has good product leadership and a lot of very smart people… However, we need to address the coverage of local accounts and develop the channel to support those customers,” he adds.

Just how this will be done in the local market is unclear as yet. For instance, Priestley says that headcount within the Middle East will increase, but is unable to specify a timeframe for the recruitment of additional employees.

“You will see a continued investment in the Middle East from Symbol. We will put more people here; we will restructure how we verticalise [sic] and how we touch the market… However, while I can say that we will have more heads here in the region, I can’t say how many,” he admits.

What is clear is that Symbol has to deliver on its desire to leverage its vertical knowledge. By doing so, the vendor will be better able to expand its sales into horizontal markets and more effectively compete with other vendors, such as Cisco and HP, that are also targeting the mobile computing space.

“This space [mobile computing] is very embryonic. There are multiple players doing multiple things and the challenge for any company is to try and take a leadership position. This is why we come back to our in depth knowledge of the verticals and why we are transferring this knowledge and changing our proposition in the market,” says Priestley.

“Mobile computing is maturing and one of the things that we need to do is leverage our knowledge and make Symbol synonymous with that maturity,” he adds.
In addition to pushing the vendor’s vertical knowledge, Priestley says Symbol will be touting its ability to deliver a full solution for companies looking to enhance productivity through the deployment of wireless environments.

“When you think about all of the components that [mobile computing] requires most companies only address parts of it. For example, Cisco comes from an infrastructure view. We come at it from a mobile computing environment and it is our heritage. This allows us to drive productivity and we believe that we can be number one in the mission critical mobile computing space,” he adds.

The ultimate goal of Symbol’s restructuring is to raise revenues and secure the future of the company. As such, the vendor’s growth goals are ambitious. “On a business level… we are looking to be double where we are now in the next three to five years. This translates to US$3-5 billion in three to five years,” explains Priestley.||**||

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