Symantec Reveals 2010 Channel Plan at Partner Engage Conference

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Security and storage solution providers headed to Symantec's partner event this week got sneak peeks of the company's channel plans for 2010, including the new SymDemo demo platform that lets partners show off product capabilities without the hassles of worrying about hardware, software licensing and logistics.

Security and storage channel providers converged in Orlando, Fla., this week to meet up with representatives at Symantec for the company’s annual Partner Engage conference. The intensive day-and-a-half event is highlighted by several sneak peeks into Symantec’s channel plans for 2010, including a new demo platform and a newly adjusted renewal incentive plan tweaked to favor incumbent channel partners.

"You're going to hear several themes resonating at the show," says Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales in America for Symantec. "They'll center around the four R's: revenue, readiness, reputation and relevance. We'll really be focused on how we can be mutually successful together and how to do that on a higher level and to be more effective."

He also says Symantec will be hammering home the data-centric mentality that the company believes should inform everything that its channel partners do.

"The other resident theme is going to be centered around data and data being the No. 1 asset in any organization," Cochran says. "You know, how do you preserve, protect, monitor, manage secure the data? Whether it’s at rest or whether it’s in motion, those are all critical components, and we'll be looking to drive that message home."

Among the highlights of the program, Symantec will be unveiling four major announcements today: a new demo platform called SymDemo, an improved renewals schema, a new online partner community and a new certification program for enterprise security specialists.


Of the four announcements, SymDemo excites Cochran the most. The new demo platform offers partners a way to easily demonstrate product capabilities without worrying about considerations such as hardware, software licensing, logistics and the like.

"In the past, if you were to try to demonstrate Net Backups, for example, the amount of hardware you would need with the cabling and the switching, plus a VMware license, an Oracle license—we just saw that to be totally inefficient and something that we couldn’t really scale," he says. "What's really cool about SymDemo is the only thing you need is a laptop and an Internet connection. There's no cost to you, there's no expense, there's no check you have to write."

Symantec will pilot the demo platform through the end of the year and roll with a launch sometime in January, Cochran says.

Enterprise Authorized Renewals Program
Also on the docket today is the unveiling of a new renewals plan meant to reward incumbent Symantec partners through better margins.

"The incumbent has a distinct advantage and has protection," Cochran says, explaining that Symantec is working to avoid share shift. "I can't prevent somebody from going in and bidding on something, but if they don't have the same price point, the likelihood of that happening is low unless there's a lot more things on the table that they're also bidding on."

He says that this new program is being deployed in direct response to feedback gathered from Symantec’s VAR Council and is a testament to the company’s commitment to listening to its resellers.

New Partner Community

After nurturing a growing user community through its Symantec Connect portal for just under a year now, the company decided to expand its networking reach to the partner community. The new partner component to Symantec Connect will give Symantec partners a place on the Web to collaborate and gather ideas from one another, as well as from Symantec directly.

"What we decided to do was utilize that technology and create a subset or sub area for our partners to come in and do the same thing, but do it partner-to-Symantec and partner-to-partner," Cochran says.

Though soft-launched a couple of weeks ago, the community will see its official debut today at the show.

Enterprise Security Specialist
The final announcement at the show is for a new certification meant for partners with expertise in dealing with the special needs of enterprise security customers.

Similar to the SMB Security Specialist Symantec already has in place, this new designation will be dedicated to those who have demonstrated proficiency in a number of areas Symantec has deemed critical for those dealing with companies with 500 or more employees.

"Rather than just being AV-certified or a certification for a specific, this is really becoming more of a security specialist," Cochran says. "The benefits for making that investment will come back to those partners in a multitude of ways, so they'll have a distinct advantage or differentiation for making that investment."

The details of this program will be released later in the month, but today the company will give some hints about the advantages, which will include increased margins, deal registration and special promotions for certified partners.


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