Symantec is to place "fewer, bigger bets on solution providers" as it leans on distributors to play a greater role in channel management.
The security vendor is shaking up its channel setup and creating a "streamlined" engagement model, including the launch of a new partner programme in April. The partner rejig follows a summer in which the security titan has undergone a major facelift, as it cut approximately 1,700 jobs – about eight per cent of its global workforce – as part of "a company-wide transformation".
Recently appointed vice president of EMEA partner management Mark Nutt told CRN: "We were very product-focused and very sales-focused and want to get much more market-focused. There has been a lot of investment in strategic marketing. That investment and deeper level of understanding has helped us work out what we need to do to be more relevant in the market and access more customers."
Nutt outlined that he wants to build out the vendor's channel of services providers and cloud specialists.
"We need to invest more resources, time and money in them," he explained.
The way partners are managed is also to be shaken up; the new European Customer Management Centre in Dublin will employ 200 staff, with 20 solely dedicated to the channel. A further 200 posts are to be created over the next two years.
Nutt denied that a move away from field-based channel account managers could hurt service levels, claiming that Symantec wants to create a more "flexible" model, in which distribution plays a bigger role.
"We need to optimise our focus and place fewer, bigger bets on solution providers. We need to restructure and streamline our investment, and needed to create a more flexible engagement model that includes distribution," he added.
"We are working to better understand the jobs we need to do for partners and the jobs distribution needs to do for us. We are going to step up the jobs that distribution does for us, and have a more flexible model. We will maintain our investment in partner account managers. This is not about reducing coverage."
With a revamped channel programme due to launch in April, Symantec will begin sharing details with VARs late this year and there will be a transition period designed to give partners enough time to get up to speed. The key driver of the new-look rewards and incentive scheme will be driving growth, claimed Nutt (pictured), but there will also be a focus on rewarding capability and commitment.
"We are all about taking market share and driving growth, and we need to be more decisive," he added. "The ultimate driver is the market and the customer – who does the customer want to buy from? Who is in the right place with the right offerings to deliver? We need to make sure that we are forming the right partnerships, and we will be recruiting and developing partners."
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