Symantec Extends Payment Terms for Select Partners

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Symantec partners certified as SMB specialists will be able to defer payment on endpoint security and backup application sales up to 60 days under the pilot program designed to allow solution providers to keep more cash on hand.

Symantec is taking the wraps off a new credit and financing plan today that is designed to help select security and storage solution providers keep more money in their pockets longer.

Symantec is extending payment terms to 60 days to partners with a SMB specialization on sales of Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 and Backup Exec, two of the company’s bestselling applications. The extended payment terms are available through distributors Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Synnex and Douglas Stuart. GE Capital is underwriting the financing and Symantec is paying all of the financing charges.

"If you’re running a business on a month to month expense cash flow, this is going to have an impact," says Randy Cochran, the vice president of North America channels at Symantec.

The Symantec program is different from other credit and financing programs announced by another vendors such as Cisco Systems, Dell, Microsoft and IBM in that it doesn’t extend credit to end users or the partner, but rather delays the payments by solution providers on licenses sold to customers. Extending the payment terms from the standard 30 days to 60 days will allow solution providers to keep more cash on hand for funding operations, Cochran says.

"Our intent is to help partners, not extend financing to customers," Cochran says.

The financing program isn’t available to all partners. Only solution providers certified as Symantec SMB specialists are eligible for the extended payments. Cochran says 700 Symantec partners are currently eligible and believes the payment program will motivate more to earn their SMB certifications. Some solution providers may criticize Symantec for not making the program available to all partners, Cochran says the certification is an appropriate benchmark for ensuring partners committed to Symantec products are receiving the incentive.

The extended terms financing program is a pilot through the end of the year. If shown to be successful, Cochran says it will likely be extended through 2010.

The announcement of the Symantec extended payment and financing program comes just two weeks after Symantec announced a whopping 58 percent decline in quarterly profits. Earnings for the security and storage vendors first quarter of the fiscal year fell from $172 million from the same period in 2008 to $73 million this year. Symantec blamed the sharp decline on the recession forcing customers to cut back on software spending.

At the same time, rivals are claiming market and earnings gains at Symantec expense. CommVault advanced earnings 30 percent in the recent quarter on sales of deduplication and backup software. McAfee reported strong revenue and earnings gains based on larger deal sizes; the number two security software company signed 28 deals in the last quarter worth more than $1 million.

Cochran says the timing of the payment term program following the poor earnings report is coincidental, saying the program has been in development for several months.


Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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