McAfee channel road map based on partner profitability

LAS VEGAS – Security vendor McAfee‘s (NYSE: MFE) channel vision is coming in two parts; fixing any inadequacies today, while providing a long term road map for partner integration.

At its Focus 09 conference, held here, newly appointed channel chief Alex Thurber outlined his plan for solution providers, and it’s based on partner profitability.

The new value channel plan will roll out in Q4 and in mid-January and will look to produce sustainable solution providers worldwide. The key elements of the strategy will be a new set of rules for engagement with the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that are meant to make it easier for partners.

McAfee will also reward channel partners for investments made around its technology

Pedro Abreu, vice-president, go to market strategy and channel programs for McAfee, told CDN that no margin percentages have been defined, but that they will be announced 30 days prior to its channel partners. He expects that information will come sometime in December.

Many of the programs will go live in January and in the second half of 2010. They are: Pay for Performance, a program (slated for second half of 2010) that allows partners to earn additional margin if the find a deal, develop a deal or close a deal. “If they don’t do the whole deal, but they hold the investment or if they find the deal, but aren’t authorized to sell that specific product, they’ll get the margin so it’s split to those who found it, develop it and close it,” Abreu said.

Another pilot program is called Interlock(slated for Q1 of 2010), which will bring traditional end point and network products through one managed console. “This is a key strategy for McAfee and this program will reward partners who align with us and sell the broader portfolio,” he said.

Tim Billing, vice-president, vendor management, Ingram Micro Canada, applauded McAfee’s new channel direction saying they are offering more value and treating all types of channel players fairer.

“Ingram Micro is very pleased to hear McAfee’s commitment of additional resources to support the channel such as its new compensation plan for the sales representatives and the new Interlock rebate program,” Billing said.

Programs targeted for release in the fourth quarter are: Deal protection, an enhancement to its deal registration and teaming program that’s already in place today. “A partner that registers a deal or engages in a team plan will be protected and extended special pricing. This program doesn’t change the margin offered, which is around 15 per cent. That doesn’t change. We’re providing protection and extending special pricing to protect that partner from attacking partners who only compete on price,” Abreu said.

A new tiered pricing program will be available in January of 2010. Canadian and the U.S.-based channel partners in the Elite tier will get the highest form of special pricing, while lower tiers such as Premier and Associate will get mid to entry-level pricing breaks.

Christina Angelone, alliance manager for North America for Las Vegas-based solution provider Dyntek, said the new channel leadership team has made a significant impression on the partner community for its ability to execute immediately on recognized areas for improvement and to communicate a plan for new programs that may require more time to execute.

“I like the fact that McAfee is looking more closely at a tiered approach to partner incentives and rewards. Rewarding partners that are making greater investments in the McAfee partnership with higher margins, more resources, etc. is something the Alliance Program was missing. Some level of accountability on the partner side was needed, and McAfee has recognized that,” she said.

The company also announced three other programs: the Authorized Support Program, the Managed Security Services Program and a U.S. Federal Program.

The first two programs enable Elite partners to offer Level 1 and 2 support, while gaining access to Level 3 from McAfee. This program will be expanded during the first quarter of 2010.

The managed services program enables partners who run this business model to obtain licenses and prices that support McAfee products delivered as a service.

“We’re seeing a group of partners that have a lot of interest in this program. We have 20 or so today who are working with us that have this business model. We see a lot of resellers exploring this as a compliment to their solution provider business and professional services offerings,” Abreu said.

Finally, the company announced the Ready, Set, Sell and Accreditation program, which is a methodology they’re trying to implement for partner enablement. It will provide 30, 90 and 180 days for partners to go through and be able to do business with McAfee. There are new tracks available for sales, technical, business, operational, and marketing. Abreu said the program will address all aspects of a solution provider business and each individual in that business.

All these new programs will eventually roll into one umbrella program called the Security Alliance Program, Abreu added.

Billing said that the company seemed very focused on ensuring that its partners are profitable in supporting the total McAfee solution including; licensing sales, renewals, services and attach products. “Their commitment to the channel is strong.”

The new programs align with Ingram’s commitment to the security market. “We see continued growth opportunities for ourselves and our partners. We are going to continue to invest in recruiting new partners and to enable existing partners to sell even more McAfee products. We have a strong focus on ensuring we have appropriate technical certifications at Ingram Micro and associates who have a strong understanding of McAfee products and programs. We want to make it easier for resellers to support their clients with McAfee security solutions,” Billing said.

Dyntek, an advanced technologies and consultancy that specializes in servers, storage, IT security and virtualization, believes some of the new programs will allow the company to better integrate with McAfee and stabilize the partnership, Angelone said.

“Dyntek wants to impact McAfee’s business and grow our business in parallel,” Angelone said.

Abreu said: “Partner profitability is one of the elements because if you don’t address it, there’s no point in engaging in the partnership. But the product portfolio and the coverage model are also keys to our new focus, and so are our people. We have the leadership upgrades and we have the broadest set of programs to address all the different business models. We also introduced the five Ps: Partner, People, Programs, Portfolio and Profitability.”

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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