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Here’s Symantec’s brand new executive team that’s driving its focus on security

Stephen Thomas onstage at Symantec Partner Engage

ORLANDO, FL – Whatever dilution of focus there was from the information management business, Symantec wants the channel to know that the old company is gone.

What has replaced it, as the company has tried to convey this week at its Partner Engage conference, is that it has one singular mission – to push security, and nothing else.

In addition to the new channel program which it has brought out just over a week ago, Symantec is looking at three pillars to help drive its message.

Executive team

The split from Veritas has not only seen the departure of key senior staff members, but also a high-level resource shift at Symantec.

Among the new executives are Stephen Thomas, who is now vice president of Americas channel sales, Adrian Jones, executive vice president of worldwide sales, Tom LaRocca, VP of global channel programs and sales, all of whom have been in their respective roles for less than a year.

Even the company’s chief executive officer, Michael Brown, was only appointed in September 2014, while John Thompson, the global vice president of partner/channel sales joined in June 2014.

“I’m very proud of the leadership team that we’re assembling,” said Thomas at the conference keynote Wednesday. “I know a lot of you have been partners of Symantec for a long time so you’re seeing a lot of new faces.  We’ve had to rebuild the executive team. ”

It’s not all just titles, however. Thomas said that in the case of Balaji Yelamanchili, who became the EVP and GM of Symantec’s enterprise security business unit in November 2014, it’s the first time that a single executive is overseeing all enterprise solutions at the company.

“I’ve heard from many of you that we’re confusing,” Thomas said. “We were confusing in our history because you didn’t know how Veritas and Symantec worked together. Even on the security side, you could say we were confusing because we had so many product lines each working on their own future and not really helping to solve a very complex problem that our customers faced, which is how to make them work together.”

This, as the company will explain later, is being addressed.

Strategy

Symantec claims that its new “Unified Security Strategy” is the clearest it has had in years.

In it, the vendor will be drawing on its base of 175 million endpoints and what it says is 30 per cent of global enterprise emails, 25 billion files, 30 billion URLs, and more to build analytics into products and services it is offering.

“No one can touch us in this area,” Thomas said, explaining that the company is spending about 25 per cent of its revenue in R&D. “Now we’re going to have real-time capability to make sure that what we’re seeing out there, those needles in the haystacks provide better security for customers.”

This predictive analytics capability is one that Symantec is building to underpin its offerings, one that the company is almost ready to unveil. Behind closed doors the vendor described next-generation capabilities of its existing solutions that will be able to detect threats before they are identified by the lab, and protect not just endpoints, but also the network, mobile, IoT and cloud.

In fact, the company promised some half a dozen products between now and the June cycle, in what will be the “biggest organic product developent cycle Symantec has seen in years.”

Execution

Symantec says that whether it’s SMB, enterprise, or midsize companies, it wants partners involved. However, unlike Veritas, it declined to offer any targets for indirect sales.

“We don’t have any direct versus indirect figures – it’s not about that,” said Jones during a sit-down interview earlier. “The targets should be how much marketshare we should have together.”

That being said, Thomas emphasized that although Symantec has good coverage today, it wants more.

“We need your help to get to every bank, hospital, school in the US,” he said, adding that 80 per cent of business in North America goes through the channel.

Not only is the company making a big bet on its simplified partner program, it is also consolidating its solutions under one “Unified Security Platform.”

This is all in order to help the channel secure install base.

“It’s absolutely important that we do that so we can build our future on our install base,” said John Sorenson, VP of sales.

Moving into FY2016, Symantec’s Americas sales priorities include:

1 – Transform the go to market model, own the enterprise, reinforce customer and partner relationships, enable employees, parnters and customers

2 – The channel

3 – Marketing

As for what hasn’t changed?

“We’re a partner-focused company,” Thomas said. Everybody has a role from the largest of the large to the smallest of the small.  Collectively we can solve much much bigger problems.”