McAfee is staging a distributor beauty contest with the aim of rationalising its current line up.
After recently parting company with Bell Micro, the security giant has four UK distributors – broadliners Ingram Micro and Computer 2000, and VADs Sphinx and Arc Technology.
Call-for-tender letters are set to be sent out to seven distributors – including the quartet of incumbents – in early January. They will have six weeks to respond and McAfee will then spend a further six weeks considering their bids.
Jill Henry, UK and Ireland channel director at McAfee, said the vendor’s recent spate of acquisitions had caused a lack of clarity in its distribution strategy.
“We could probably do a better job for the market if it wasn’t split across four relationships,” she said.
“But I have a completely open mind. We may come out of the process with the four we already have but with a clearer delineation of what everyone is responsible for.”
McAfee has been running a similar review in its native US, with bid submissions closing on 30 November. Henry said: “[New global channel head] Alex Thurber is looking at the entire channel and we are being encouraged at a high level to do these types of activities.”
At the same time, McAfee will this week ink a UK and EMEA distribution relationship with Computerlinks, but Henry stressed this is purely to service its agreement with BT.
“Computerlinks is not part of my distribution strategy,” she said. “If the relationship succeeds, several years down the line we many say something different.”
Henry said McAfee has doubled its UK and Ireland channel team to about 15 heads since she came on board five months ago.
This has allowed the vendor to increase the number of VARs that enjoy direct touch to 120, she claimed. The top 20 resellers are managed face to face by f ive UK-based account managers, with the next 100 served by four newly recruited Cork-based telephone account managers.
“The idea is that the top 120 have somewhere to go, and that has been lacking at McAfee for a while,” Henry explained.
McAfee's remaining VARs will be serviced through distribution, and Henry urged the seven prospective candidates to consider this requirement in their bids.
Most EMEA telesales activities will now be based out of its Cork office, which previously only housed back office functions. McAfee’s telesales activities have historically been outsourced to Israel-based firm IDT but the vendor opted to bring them in house and is in the process of hiring 120 heads at its Cork offices.
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