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Samsung Primes New SaaS Marketplace with ‘Curated’ Apps for Small Businesses

AppStack is set to go live in the coming weeks with discounted apps for SMBs.

Jeffrey Schwartz

July 21, 2020

5 Min Read
Samsung AppStack SaaS marketplace on Chromebook
Samsung

Samsung is readying a SaaS marketplace of vertical and horizonal apps for small businesses that have minimal IT resources.

Set to go live within the next few weeks, Samsung’s AppStack will include SaaS apps suited for its mobile devices. Samsung revealed the pending rollout of AppStack last week during its Virtual Experience (V/X) Back to Business virtual conference.

Introduced at Samsung’s software developers’ conference last fall, the company conceived the AppStack SaaS marketplace to enable B2B apps for its mobile devices. In addition to its phones, tablets and laptops, Samsung wants to make its Samsung Gear wearable devices appealing to more types of businesses.

The company describes AppStack as a “curated” SaaS marketplace. The company only plans to allow two or three partners in any given business application category. Its initial launch partner, Google, will offer G Suite at a 10% discount.

Canva, ClickUp, PipeDrive, Freshbooks, OpenText Hightail and SealMessenger are mong other partners Samsung revealed. The mobile-device giant will offer apps in the marketplace at discounted rates ranging from 10-25%.

Samsung is lining up other partners for AppStack, but is decidedly restricting the number of providers it will host.

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Samsung’s Mark Howden

“It’s not intended to have 1,000 or 10,000 applications,” said Mark Howden, Samsung’s solutions director. “It is meant to have maybe 100 or 150 applications, and no more than two or three applications in any given vertical, or categories such as HR or CRM.”

Doing Their Research

Howden said his team worked with third-party consultants to determine which SaaS apps are best for SMBs, and which get the highest ratings.

“We’re doing the work for the SMBs, where they don’t have the resources necessarily to vet five different CRMs and figure out which is the right one for them,” he said. “We’re doing that work and pulling in the right ones.”

Kevin O’Kane, Google’s managing director for scaled partnerships, said he sees the AppStack SaaS marketplace as a good vehicle for G Suite.

“Small businesses are a critical lifeblood component of our economy and employment,” O’Kane said. “Anything that we can do to help them thrive and be more successful in this challenging time, we definitely want to be a part of.”

Samsung will sell the partner solutions through its e-commerce site or via its Shop Samsung app.

Industry analyst Maribel Lopez, principal of Lopez Research, said AppStack primarily is for growing Samsung’s B2B hardware device business.

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Lopez Research’s Maribel Lopez

“I like the concept of a portal where you can find things that you need,” Lopez said.

Getting Back to Business

Since Samsung revealed AppStack last fall, it has taken on more importance. As small businesses have struggled to continue or resume operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has become a lifeline.

Consequently, Samsung is launching AppStack with a focus on “back to business” to help organizations accommodate new social distancing practices.

Locally owned businesses such as restaurants and salons suddenly found themselves looking to reopen with restrictions. Samsung set out to focus AppStack on …

… providing those businesses essential solutions to help them operate under those constraints.

AppStack brings together a limited selection of business apps in any given category. At the same time, Samsung is building AppStack to cover the broad range of solution types small businesses require.

Speaking at Samsung’s V/X event, Taher Behbehani, SVP and GM of the company’s B2B mobile business, pointed to an IDC report that spelled out the economic impact of COVID-19. So far, IDC says lost revenue is an estimated $332 billion. Two-thirds of those who suffered from those losses were small businesses.

Keep up with resources for supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Samsung’s Taher Behbehani

“Some will never reopen,” Behbehani said.

The SMB Pursuit

Overall, Samsung considers an SMB any business with fewer than 1,000 employees. Behbehani said of the 100 million Samsung B2B mobile device endpoints in use, SMBs bought more than half (52%) of them. According to Samsung’s research, three in five (60%) of SMBs don’t have a full time IT person, and three in four (73%) will only purchase if there is a discount.

“In our research, we found that number one priority for SMBs is moving to cloud solutions and mobile SaaS apps,” Behbehani said. “We realized that we have the right solution at the right time.”

As 5G services become more readily available, that will give rise to expanded growth for partners, Behbehani added. He sees potential to combine 5G components with customizable features of its devices.

“5G could play a bigger role in terms of creating a new experience with our partners,” he said. “It [will change] the way we behave as a next phase of our remote work and remote learning.”

Samsung must still build up its ecosystem, Lopez noted.

“That takes time because you’ve got to reach out to everybody,” she said. “Clearly their goal is to sell more hardware. To do that, you need people to use their devices for more things. Particularly in the SMB, there’s a perception that the Apple products are easier to use. There are lots of apps that are built for Apple. This is where they are building programs in an effort to break that cycle.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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