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Symantec revamps channel strategy

Symantec revamps channel strategy 

“His learning from that was really that Symantec had a great set of assets that were not necessarily performing to market. We had a solid set of solutions, but we weren’t delivering on the growth plans that we wanted,” said Jim Willis, Channel Director, Canada, Symantec. “We really lacked a comprehensive corporate strategy, which included both the portfolio and our approach to the marketplace, as well as our channel strategy.”

As a result of these consultations, the company announced Symantec 4.0 at its Partner Engage event in November 2013. The strategy consists of three parts: a short-term, long-term, and a very-long-term plan, though Willis stresses that the strategy does not include an end point.

“This whole transformation is a journey,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a destination we’re trying to get to.”

Willis explained the company’s key objective: “To achieve sustained, profitable growth greater than market for partners and Symantec, leveraging joint assets to deliver value to our customers.”

With this new strategy, the company has moved to a competency model of delivery rather than a product-based model. The strategy includes 10 core offerings, which are housed in three key areas: user productivity and protection, information management, and information security.

The company is looking to leverage its partners’ assets – in terms of products, critical expertise and consulting services – and also to ensure that value for customers is built into the plan. Symantec will identify the best routes to market, and the areas that it needs to invest in and optimize, to deliver the best value to its customers.

It will also provide support for partners by guiding them to appropriate avenues for investment, and helping them understand their ROI as a result of those investments.

The company has created what Willis calls a “focus partner list”, in which it has identified partners that create the greatest value and have the capability to deliver on Symantec’s 4.0 objective. It has also created compensation benefits to its own employees to work with some of those partners, and has invested resources in Canada to encourage transformation.

Symantec’s partners, Willis says, have been responding positively to the changes.

“I think they’re recognizing that we’re spending a lot more time understanding our partners’ value with the strategy, and making sure it’s aligned to business growth,” Willis said. “We have the ultimate customer view – as the primary driver behind this strategy – and we recognize that our partners play a significant role, not only in capturing that value, but in generating that value as well.

“We just came back from our Partner Engage event that occurred in mid-November,” he continued. “We had a number of our Canadian partners there, and the feedback that I received was very optimistic about what Symantec is going through. They believe we have the right strategy and direction on how to capitalize on this, and are very anxious to participate.”

The company is in the process of finalizing the program: it has been in discussions with over 70 partners in 27 countries to ensure that the programs being announced will deliver the intended benefits and the desired strategy direction.

Symantec is looking to roll the program out in phases over the coming year, beginning in January 2014, with a full roll-out occurring around Q4 of 2014.

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