McAfee’s new Canadian general manager wants to keep expanding the number of partners it has here as well as push partners into managed services.
“We want to continue to look for security-oriented partners, because one of the challenges I see in our organization is we’ve been very systems focused, and we need to be more network focused,” Danielle Fournier said Tuesday. “In order to be successful we need to have a lot of very solid network partners.”
The division hopes to add as many as 15 VARs in the next 12 months to the approximately 350 partners it has across the country.
Fournier made the comments in an interview as she and Dave Dickinson, McAfee’s new senior vice-president for North American channels were introduced to the IT press in Toronto. Both were appointed in August.
Fournier came to McAfee when it bought in Foundstone, a maker of risk management appliances, in 2004. Previously she held sales positions at RSA Security and Xcert International.
Until her appointment here, she helped in Foundstone’s integration into McAfee and the company’s July acquisition of Preventsys, a maker of risk management and compliance software.
Dickinson has worked for McAfee for nearly 10 years, most recently as vice-president for system security products. Before that he was vice-president of sales for networking solutions.
Both emphasized the importance of the channel, which McAfee turned to three years ago and now accounts for over 90 per cent of its sales.
Dickinson said one of his key goals will be “enabling partners to be more successful.” In an interview he explained that means in part giving VARs the tools to adopt best practices for matching McAfee solutions to customer needs.
He also said he wants to get partners to increasingly take advantage of offering managed services through McAfee’s Total Protection for Small Business package.
“We’re going to more clearly articulate the advantages that our solutions have and how it can improve their profitability,” he said. He particularly wants to stress the scalability of managed services. “You can go from supporting three customers to three hundred and it’s not 100 times the work. You can rapidly acquire new customers without a significant increase in resources.”
McAfee partners have had the ability to offer managed services for several years, he acknowledged, but part of the blame for them not taking advantage of them is the company’s.
“Some of the bad is on us,” he said. “We’ve changed the name of the product three or four times – we’ve gone through some iterations to get it right, is what I would articulate. But every time you re-do, re-start, re-name, you go back from day on and you’re always trying to catch up and re-educate.”
But he also faulted some partners who think they deliver managed services by installing McAfee anti-virus products on customers’ systems. He wants to convince these VARs to go further. “Given the market demand (for managed services) there’s more out there that we can capture,” he said.
Fournier echoed that. “With partnerships with telcos, we’re driving to roll out more services, such as managed services and hosted services, and I think that’s going to play a critical role in our success,” she said.
Among her priorities is making sure partners are educated on the security products McAfee has in its portfolio beyond anti-virus applications. For the past two years the company has been broadening is product line beyond anti-virus – perhaps not co-incidentally as Microsoft has entered the space – and Dickinson indicated it hasn’t stopped.
“We need to get our acquisitions out faster,” said Fournier. “That’s probably my biggest challenge, making sure we have enough people to sell all the products (and) have really solid partners to back our success.”
She also said she wasn’t brought in to make radical changes to McAfee’s strategy here following the departure of former Canadian general manager Jack Sebbag. “We’ve done an outstanding job in Canada compared to the States, compared to Asia, to Europe,” she said.
“Our AV growth could be anywhere from four to eight per cent (in 2006), our vulnerability management growth could be anywhere from 12 to 14 per cent.”