Symantec urges partners to specialise

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Symantec urges partners to specialise

Symantec this week strengthened its focus on Asia Pacific partners at its inaugural Partner Engage Summit in China.

Symantec CEO Enrique Salem and a number of company executives joined 150 partners from the region to unveil drastic changes to the Symantec Partner Program.

The revamped program encourages resellers to specialise in four core competencies: endpoint management; small to medium business; data loss prevention; and data specialisation.

Symantec also plans to introduce specialisation options such as data protection, storage management, e-discovery and archiving at a later date.

The program represents a transformation of Symantec's traditional revenue-based tiered system of registered, silver, gold and platinum to more of a competency-based approach.

"Today we represent many, many solutions to market...our solution portfolio covers security, storage, systems management online cloud services...a product portfolio of 200 solutions," Craig Scroggie, managing director for Symantec Australia and New Zealand, told CRN.

"[Specialising] will enable Symantec to work with a smaller defined group of trained partners in each of those disciplines. There will be fewer [resellers] selling everything and more who are prepared to go deep and specialise for a greater return," said Scroggie.

The updated program will come into effect by the end of the year, with resellers expected to skill up in the meantime.

"It is a large and complex portfolio. To develop the discipline to be successful requires time," said Scroggie.

"We need to give our partners the tools, resources, support and the training programs to move to the specialisation program."

The new Symantec Partner Program will continue with the existing partner levels. However, revenue requirements will be removed, and specialisations will become essential to attaining partner levels.

"[Previously] our program was more about levels and we will still have levels but because of the depth of the product portfolio specialisation really is going to be critical.

Mark Phillips, general manager of marketing and alliances at Data 3 attended the conference and said the mood was "positive".

"Whilst there is some effort that the partners will have to go through, the return to us will be that it really articulates our capabilities.

"[The new program] gives us better recognition in the eyes of the customer and probably in the eyes of the partner to our skills and the breadth of our skills.

"We'll probably get a breadth of certification portfolios," he said.

Phillips said the attendance of high profile executives at the summit was testimony to the channel's importance to Symantec.

"The sheer amount of executives that had come out ... says to me that the channel is important and APJ [Asia Pacific and Japan] is critical."

Last month, Symantec announced that it will hand over majority of its consulting services to the channel.

Scroggie said the consulting partner program will be separate to this immediate specialisation program.

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