In September Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7. After a month of trying to correct problems with replacement devices which continued to ignite, Samsung was forced to permanently discontinue the Note 7s. Now, the preliminary findings of Samsung’s investigation into the fires appears to confirm the problems were related to the battery, its irregular size, and “a quick ramp-up” in production of batteries made by third party ATL for replacement phones that caused the problems. Samsung’s debacle shows just how fragile smartphones can be and demonstrates why enterprises need to support telecom departments.
While the iPhone is the lead smartphone for enterprises in the U.S., there is much that telecom managers can learn from Samsung’s costly PR, brand and service nightmare. First, more effort needs to go into testing new models before roll out to employees. Second, mobility management and support for employees is more critical than ever.
Nearly a decade after the iPhone was introduced, advances in hardware for each release no longer make new model a “must have” upgrade. The next wave of advances in smartphones will not be driven by hardware. Instead, the Wall Street Journal and other analysts have determined that software and services will be the drivers as the industry enters its second decade.
As data consumption rises from new applications on smartphones, it will become more important to manage employees’ data plans. Pooling and other approaches are critical to managing expenses. Telecom managers should work proactively to manage usage and control monthly costs for carrier services. Thanks to T-Mobile and Sprint, there are more competitive plans and opportunities to drive savings.
In response to Samsung’s problems, telecom managers must maintain a balance between two contradictory priorities. Enterprises and executives will continue to demand cost reductions from IT and telecom departments. At the same time, telecom managers need to be prepared with more responsive plans to support employees. The indispensable role these devices play calls for reliable back- up of data, security for wiping devices remotely and fast replacement when devices are damaged or lost. Winning the case for a bigger budget will require a strong demonstration that carrier expenses are being managed effectively. At the same time, executives need to recognize that smartphones are part of the critical infrastructure for business continuity and acceleration.