Post the acquisition of Blue Coat, Symantec has positioned itself as a complete security solution player. This has led the company to recalibrate its partner strategy so that partners from both the world can take maximum benefit.
It will be fair to say that the Symantec has refocused its brand strategy at the right time as the market dynamics is changing very rapidly. The Blue Coat acquisition has given capability to Symantec to expand its addressable market from end-point to network security and from the SMEs to the large enterprises and government. As per Torjus Gylstorff, Vice President, Global Partner Sales, Symantec, the company now has a portfolio which can focus on end to end security landscape, including end-point to perimeter. He said, “We are now in a situation where we can talk on security architecture. It resonates well with the customers and partners. We have opened our API for the integration. It has gone to the extent that our cloud technology is integrated with our end-point technology and gateway technology. So, from the technology stand point, things are aligned very well.”
“From a partner standpoint, the up-sale and cross-sale opportunity is phenomenal.”
He added, “We are very focused on winning on the cloud market place. We have a very large installed base of on-prem technology. It offers a great opportunity to work with cloud partners in taking that to cloud based consumption model. This is expected to happen in small- and Mid- market scenario. That is one angle. The other angle is that everything we do from our CASB stand point will be expanded to cloud. We are expanding the DLP on to cloud. That is extremely relevant to many of our customers.”
From a partner standpoint, the up-sale and cross-sale opportunity is phenomenal. They have been delivering Symantec end-point technologies and DLP technologies to its customers for several years and now that will be expanded to Cloud.
“Globally, we are looking at a size of US$30 billion addressable market annually for the partners. Therefore, it offers a huge market opportunity to grow along with our partners.”
Global Partner Sales
The major trend that is unfolding today is transition to the cloud based infrastructure. The current positioning of Symantec resonates very well with the customers and partners. Torjus maintained, “We are talking about protecting the persona rather than protecting the devices. If you are using your personal device and accessing your corporate information and we are ensuring how we can protect the corporate infrastructure in cloud based model. So, cloud is absolutely the way forward as the things are moving. From a partner stand point, we are partnering with cloud service providers. We are setting up our businesses in the cloud market place, where cloud based computing is being consumed.”
In the changing business dynamics of Symantec, partner becomes an important spoke. Torjus says, “We are looking at partnerships in various dimensions; one being reach in the market, we are making sure our technologies and our solutions are available where the customer is ready to make a security decision. The other dimension is the technical capability of the partners to advise a customer about implementing technology in a good way. Moving into the enterprise security portfolio, the capability and accreditation of the partner is increasingly important. We are making sure that the partners understand the mobile environments in a good way; so also, they understand the industry vertical in a good way.”
From the partner program stand point, the company basically has come from two different worlds. They have two different partner ecosystems and programs. The positive move is that the company is combining both the programs into one Symantec Program where the cross-sale and up-sale opportunity is quite significant for the partners. In process, the company is giving access to its partners the broader customer base. Blue Coat was focused on the government and large enterprise space. For the Symantec partners, the access is much bigger now.
Torjus maintained, “We have the channel first strategy. When we do business with our channel partners, predictability and transparency are the important elements. So, when we are launching a new program, we are very open the way we transact in the market. Partners obviously would be looking at a good financial position so how do they execute to run a profitable business is our priority. And in general, we want to improve the partners’ experience – meaning we want to make this program flexible and straight forward enough.”
So, when Symantec is bringing everything under one umbrella, obviously, the company would like to give the partners access to its entire portfolio. The focus is then to improve competencies because dealing with SMBs for end-points solutions is different from selling solutions to the large banks, corporates and governments.
“We are then looking at three different tiers of partnerships. We have Platinum, Gold and Silver. On the core security side, it is really about the size of the business and how much the company grows its business with the partners. On enterprise size of the security, it is about size and growth of the business too but it is also about the technical accreditation that the partners carry. We are also responding to how the partners are making investment and scaling up their resources in building out their business for Symantec,” Torjus added. “One of those is to make a lot of content and training materials available to the partners, which can help them to train and build up their skills. We are also offering them the various program elements; one being opportunity of registration. We understand the pipeline the partner is working on; then that has the financial benefits – meaning we ensure that the partners’ investment is protected while gaining new customers. We are also doing strategic investment where there is a requirement of joint investment between partner and Symantec.”
About Symantec Secure One Partner Program
“The existing Symantec Secure One Partner Program is undergoing changes to accommodate new partners and provide them the opportunity to sell across the combined enterprise portfolio. The new Secure One program is designed to give partners more opportunity for greater growth and profitability. The new program is easier to navigate, offers more earning potential and more access to development funds. The updates will go into effect this spring and are aligned with our integrated solution portfolio. As a part of these updates, the number of competencies are now reduced (from four to two) to make the program easier to navigate. The benefits have also been modified so that the business is easier to predict, and give partners more opportunity for greater growth and profitability.”
He maintained, “We are really focused on making a strong foundation for the partners and on a longer run the program will be refined and built on top of it. We want to create a very strong market opportunity for the combined portfolio.”
While Symantec is in the process of consolidating its partner base, Torjus expresses his willingness to adding new partnerships but the essential will be to skill up its existing partner community in order to enable them to cross-sale and up-sale.
Obviously, the new partner program has created a cap in every tier from the number stand point. So, it is believed that there will be 150-200 partners in the Platinum and Gold tier in the Asia Pacific Region out of which India will have 10 -15%.
Torjus says, “We do not want to have too many partners or too few partners. We want to have right number of partners with whom we can work for a sustainable and profitable business model while delivering our solutions. Globally, we are looking at a size of US$30 billion addressable market annually for the partners. Therefore, it offers a huge market opportunity to grow along with our partners.”
At a time when Symantec is very bullish about enhancing its business through the channel partners, the company Think tank are equally gung-ho about capturing high market share given the fact that there is a huge potential in the security market.
“We do a lot of training for the partners in India in order to skilling them up on various solution areas. If you look, each partner has its own set of customers and market verticals. We will continue to support them in their strategy; and as and when they require specific training we will training for the specific vertical also. We are looking at 10-15 per cent of partners in the Gold and Platinum in India out of the entire Asia Pacific number. We have already been working with a close set of managed partners; with whom we do business. Our strategy is to how deep we work with them and expand their business. We are not running any local program as such but distributors have their own localized programs. We are ensuring that how effectively we can adopt our global program in India.”
Director – Partner & Commercial Sales