We’ve made a pretty compelling case for the Nokia Lumia as a phone for regular people, with games, music, apps for just about everything and a truly stunning design. But what’s the story when it comes to business users?
Nokia’s press site reported a couple of significant wins in the sector recently, so we turned to David Mason, who heads up product marketing for Nokia’s business customers, and Gerard Bruen, the head of B2B sales, to ask them what clients want.
“The first thing to understand,” David says, “is that there isn’t just one set of requirements for business customers. Broadly speaking, you can divide the group into three.
“First, there are individuals who are doing business with their phone. Perhaps they’re able to expense the cost of their device with their employer, or choose it from a list of approved models. Here, there’s a lot in common with what everyone else wants from their phone: good looks, reliability, easy-to-use and plenty of apps.
“The thing that we’d stress most for these types of customers is that it’s easy and fast to set up and use your work accounts: you won’t need IT to get involved as you do with some rival smartphone brands.
“it’s important to show how fast it is to get everything done. Where’s your next appointment? Bang: it’s there on your lock screen. Got an email? Two taps and you’ve read it.”
But what of the smaller and medium-sized businesses (less than 500 employees) that are looking to get a small ‘fleet’ of phones for their employees?
“Here, there’s a particular need for phones that will slot right into existing systems,” says David. “If their communications and documents are based on Microsoft Exchange Server and Office, as is the case 90 per cent of the time, then we’ve got a very compelling case.
“For many small and medium businesses, the Office 365 service makes for an especially attractive proposition. This combines cloud-based storage and Office apps you can use on any computer and also your Nokia Lumia phone. The businesses the service is most suited for can’t or don’t want to employ an IT department. They need something that’s plug-and-play.”
Then there are the larger businesses, international brands and organisations with thousands of employees. What are the main things they’re asking for?
Gerard responds: “The requirements can vary enormously. But one common factor is that they are very mindful of the cost per user and any overheads that come in by agreeing to support a particular system.
“Here we’re also in a good position. One of our main rivals in this sector requires separate servers and software licenses that really bump up the cost and complexity. One of our other main rivals has a very high unit cost, so the cost per user goes up. With the Lumia, you have four phones at a range of price points – and which effectively do the same thing.”
“The added extras that come only with Nokia Lumia make a big difference here. The integrated offline Maps and Drive would be an extra $70 on top of the cost of the phone for other smartphone choices. That makes a big difference when you’re buying for hundreds, possibly thousands of employees.
“The security of the operating system is also an important consideration. Luckily, apps on Windows Phone are ‘sandboxed’ in memory and so we haven’t had the malware problems that have plagued other systems.
Very large businesses often want to be able to manage devices remotely. Here, Nokia is working with a variety of third-party suppliers to ensure its devices are supported.
David says: “businesses don’t want to install a different piece of management software for every different phone or laptop that comes into their organisation. So we’ve been working with trusted third-party brands to integrate Lumia into existing Enterprise systems. There are solutions from Symantec, Good Technology and Microsoft itself. Others are in late stages of development from the likes of SAP, IBM and Airwatch.”
“Overall,” Gerard concludes, “nobody says ‘no’. Sure – that doesn’t mean they always say ‘yes’ straightaway. But they want to know more. We’ve got a good story to tell and the more people know about it, then the happier they become.”