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Still stinging from recent partner problems in the aftermath of a disastrous ERP integration, Symantec has delayed delivery of its first software-as-a-service offering on the advice of those same partners.

The security and storage vendor had planned to deliver a selection of its technology as a service to reach more small and midsize businesses, announcing initial plans and a public beta for its channel partners in April 2007 with a general availability date of sometime over the summer.

Read about Symantec’s recent channel partner problems here.

The first module of the Symantec Protection Network was set to be an online backup and recovery service, with plans to add additional offerings, including security, as time went on. But as autumn leaves were falling, the program remained in pilot.

“As we continued to get advice and counsel from our partners, we realized there were parts and pieces that we needed to get much crisper,” said Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec.

The billing module was one of those. The model called for customers to pay based on utilization. But that meant the bill would rise as usage went up.

“We had to entertain things such as credit card payments and pass them through the partner,” he said. “The final version is being modeled now through our advisory council. The Symantec Protection Network will roll out slower than the industry would have liked, but it was done to ensure that we get it right.”

Now the company plans to launch the program in January or February of 2008.

“We felt like we should go through an extensive beta program, and that’s where we are now,” Cochran said. “You can light up channel pretty quick, but if you don’t do it correctly it will flame out on you.”