At this year's Intel Security Channel Press Summit in Lisbon the security behemoth laid clear its ambitions to boost its partners' profits.
Acknowledging that many of its resellers have not been reaping the margins it expected them to, the US giant announced a series of updates to its partner programme, designed to address this issue of profitability.
A number of changes were announced, including removing tiered pricing, upping discounts for renewed business from five to 10 per cent and basing MDF strategies on ROI data.
This is not the first time Intel Security – formerly known as McAfee – has amended its channel programme, with it introducing a new partner programme on 1 January which it claimed was designed to boost the services opportunity for its partners.
Andy Woolford, vice president of sales at Intel Security partner Herjavec, said the latest changes to the programme are a "step in the right direction".
"It's good because they have started to listen to the partners much better," he said. "I have dealt with McAfee from the outside over the last seven or eight years and a lot of value has grown over that period. I have seen it [the partner programme] mature over the last year and this new programme is actually very good."
But Woolford did concede that Intel Security's partner programme had issues in the past.
"Previously, nothing supported the channel in the way the programme was written. There was a lot of ambiguity in certain rules and policies, whereas now it's black and white – it's clear. They have defined six rules of engagement and the partner programme has kind of matured and grown up, outside them just being an anti-virus vendor," he said.
There has been much movement in the Intel Security camp of late, with former Cisco veteran Andrew Elder assuming the role of president of EMEA operations in May, and Woolford hailing him as "very partner centric".
Another change to the programme will see the teaming plan – where Intel Security creates enterprise customer opportunities and then brings in a partner to the deal – become exclusive, so once Intel Security engages a reseller, no other partner will be involved in that deal.
Neil Curran, managing director at Intel Security partner Blue Cirrus, said this move to go exclusive with teaming plans is "incredibly positive".
"There is more emphasis on Intel Security salespeople teaming with a partner to push the sales through, which is great," he said.
But Curran did worry that Intel Security might be giving partners access to products they are not qualified to sell.
"The only slight concern is they are putting all their products to open resell, so any aligned McAfee partner can sell it. Next-generation firewall is not easy and [it is hard to see] how a partner simply signing up can sell that product. So it will be interesting to see how that pans out because I don't want it to affect the product," he said.
"We are big in web gateway and the value-add we provide is incalculable, because to set up the product and walk away is not the done thing, as it's a very complex product."
But overall, Curran was pleased with the updates, commenting "their change in focus is a positive move".
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