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Symantec enhances its global partner program

Company places more emphasis on partner specializations and provides increased support and enablement to the channel

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)today announced its channel vision and strategy for this year by announcing new enhancements to its global partner program, primarily centred around partner specializations.

As part of its vision and strategy moving forward, Randy Cochran, vice-president of North American channel sales at Symantec, said the company is reinforcing its commitment to partners by placing an increased focus around specializations.

“We’re putting together an enablement program where we’ll be pushing and asking partners to get specialized in certain areas which will allow them to go deeper with their customers,” Cochran said. “We’re really looking to take our partnership to another level.

Under our security and storage buckets, we have four specializations in each. This will be a cornerstone to our (channel) strategy and we want partners to be experts in these specific areas.”

These specializations will become a key factor in determining whether or not a partner can achieve and maintain a certain partner level which includes, registered, silver, gold or platinum, Cochran said.

“For instance, if you’re at the platinum level this year, partners will have to have the specializations in order to remain at this level next year,” he explained.

Cochran could not go into further detail around just how many specializations would be needed to remain at each partner level, because he says the company will make a formal announcement with more details about this at its annual PartnerEngage conference this fall.

Within the security umbrella, are specializations which include, enterprise security, endpoint management, data loss prevention (DLP) and IT compliance. Cochran said these security specializations are all available today, with more additions planned for the future.

Under storage, there’s storage management, data protection, high availability and archive and eDiscovery.

To further support its partners, Cochran says the company will also provide the channel with more resources, tools, incentives and sales support to support this new area of focus. In addition, the company will also offer exclusive resources and other benefits, such as financial incentives and sales and technical resources to specialized partners.

“Partners can make more money and can have a more predictable rate of return to drive their business for 2010 with specializations,” Cochran said. “Partners can be the go-to partner for that specific solution for their customers. My message to partners is don’t wait, start your specialization trek today.”

When it comes to having an ideal number of specializations under their belt, Cochran says most partners will go to their customers with at least one. Preferably though, he said it’s in the partner’s best interest to be specialized in two or three things. Partners should also work with other partners in the Symantec ecosystem if additional services are needed, he added.

More than 90 per cent of Symantec’s partner specializations will be made available online, through a self-paced training module, Cochran said. While there’s no cost for the online modules, there is a time commitment needed on the partner’s part, though. He also mentions that there will also be some instructor-led classes, which will be offered through a cost-recovery basis, which means whatever the course costs the company, that’s the cost that will be passed down to the partner.