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September 19, 2008

Interview: Nokia at the World Business Forum

NEW YORK CITY, USA – Next week, Nokia will be sponsoring the 2008 World Business Forum (WBF). The WBF is a big-time symposium for top-level executives with a speakers list packed with world business leaders, this year includes John Chambers and Jack Welch. The draw of the symposium is for attendees to hear what the latest business trends are, stay current, and be able to better define where they are headed. It is also designed to bring folks together to collaborate and connect.

We caught up with Sandra Carvalho, Director of Global Marketing for Business Mobility at Nokia, to get a preview of why Nokia is sponsoring the WBF and what it’s doing there. Sandra has been working with the organizers for almost a year to define Nokia’s role at the event and she was keen to tell us all about it.

Who is Sandra?

Sandra joined Nokia only 11 months ago after a long career at IBM and at management and technology consultancy, Bearing Point. She’s been working in mobility solutions for a long time, since the ebusiness and remote working days at IBM. She still holds onto the first PDA she used for mobile email (though it’s her husband who won’t get rid of the thing).

What has been a common thread for her all these years is Brand Marketing, how to raise awareness, show proof-points, and participate in the discussion around technology in the enterprise. Working for Nokia, she’s focused on raising awareness of all the things Nokia does for businesses.

She joined Nokia before the last reorganization, which saw her division (the previously independent Nokia Enterprise Solutions) become part of a larger group closer to the core of what Nokia is. This unification of device and marketing to consumers, prosumer, and enterprise users reflects the reality that these types of users are no longer separate, but collide in the same customer and hence should be mixed in the same devices. Being part of the Greater Nokia allows the enterprise-focused device and services teams to draw more on Nokia’s user experience, interoperability, and consumer-focused product strengths.

The challenge

She points out that Nokia has all the components there for success in the enterprise, it’s just that people don’t know much about it. She chided me when I mentioned that it had been a long time since I had visited Nokia for Business. It has been refreshed and has oodles of info on what Nokia is up to in the enterprise world, full of white papers, case studies, and industry analysis.

Which leads to the WBF.

The WBF is an opportunity for her to raise awareness for what Nokia does in the enterprise. The attendees are not laggards, but leaders who aggressively use tech to get ahead. She hopes to enrich the dialogue with customers, spark up a conversation with all the attendees and hopefully get a tone of press mentions, of course.

As part of the WBF, Nokia will host a lunch with John Chambers and be on the floor taking pictures and video. Nokia will also have a demo booth showcasing products and solutions, including a cheeky picture of ‘Homo cubuculus’, the office worker stuck at their desk and what Nokia is calling an ‘endangered species’.

There won’t be any specific business mobility talks. To Carvalho it’s not a separate matter, but something that’s woven into the discussion – part of general business.

And then there’s the USA

One other reason to sponsor this big event is to let business leaders in the US know what Nokia is up to. While the market is competitive in the US, and Nokia is not really known in the US for enterprise solutions, there is plenty of room to grow. Sandra is excited with the Nokia E71 being available in the US. And there will be many on show at the WBF. But, she’s also careful to keep the message balanced and show what’s real and coming. The US is a key market and she wants to make sure she shows the value of our solutions and that there are alternatives to what’s dominating the market today.


I like to ask those new to the company what they think of Nokia, now that they’re here. And Carvalho said something interesting: When she was getting interviewed she read our corporate values. Ok, she thought, these are like so many other lists of values that corporations write up but don’t live. But, once she joined, she saw that Nokia always take a human approach to business and technology.

In some ways, she feels Nokia is so underrated (in her area, for sure). And, she believes, it’s great to have the energy and passion of the people of Nokia behind you. It drives her in her work around brand and business and to get the word out.

Plenty to do then, but Carvalho’s also a realist as her closing sentiment suggests: ‘we haven’t even scratched the surface’.

Correction (22sep09): I mistakenly said that the E71 was coming to the US in January. Alas, it’s already available now. My mistake.