Pentura may not be the last security supplier to abandon large-scale, product-led deals as hard-nosed purchasing departments continue to drive down channel margins, according to vendor Sourcefire.
Anthony Perridge (pictured), EMEA channel director at the intrusion prevention vendor, conceded that procurement teams had become increasingly involved in the decision-making process on maintenance deals, particularly in the finance sector.
"Their radar has moved down and their objectives are different from the project management team," he said. "When the commercial department becomes involved, that is when channel margins get squeezed."
Perridge added: "Three years ago, if we did a $100,000 deal, it would be signed off locally by a senior manager. Today, a $100,000 deal would go two or three levels higher. The level of due diligence has clearly increased in the past three years due to the recession and pressure on the finance industry to control costs."
Perridge's comments come in the wake of the decision by one of its top partners, Pentura, to exit all but consultancy-led product business. It claimed the bigger SIs were sometimes dropping their margins to less than 10 per cent on big deals.
"What Pentura did was very smart for its business and was the result of a lot of soul searching," he said.
"This is a dynamic that will impact other Pentura-like organisations that are going to have to figure out what do. We might see other organisations taking a similar line."
Perridge said he expected Pentura to be the type of partner to sign up to its new consulting channel programme, which includes training, an ‘IQ centre' and a 30-day mentoring scheme.
He estimated that only 30 staff in the UK would currently be capable of passing the exams required to become a Sourcefire Certified Consultant.
"There are a lot of [Sourcefire engine] Snort people out there but we need to ensure there are also a lot of Sourcefire people out there." Security consultancy Riversafe is one of the first UK firms to sign up.
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