Symantec enters phase 3 of channel plan

If the first two phases of Symantec’s channel program were mechanical its third phase will be all about the experience.

Phase three will contain four key program segments highlighted by partner experience.

Symantec created the new partner satisfaction program after its customer experience initiative of a few years ago. The program will look at partner life cycles, competitive analysis, loyalty and commitment and profitability.

For the first time in its history, Symantec’s channel team will be graded by partners. Symantec will be scored on such things as sales, technical prowess, executive relationships and contact with account teams.

The global effort will be in 12 languages and include all partner types such as resellers, global service providers and platform developers.

Symantec will target roughly 25 per cent of the channel for this initiative. The program will be managed so that no partner will be surveyed more than once a year.

Channel czar Julie Parrish told CDN that she isn’t worried about being rated by partners.

“If anyone should be graded it is me. With this survey we will see how well Symantec is doing. It is about giving me a score. I’m not nervous about the score. It’s important to get the feedback. The goal is to improve the experience. My belief is that you’re never done. I do not want a terrible score, but this is in the spirit of improving the experience,” Parrish said.

She added that the score could dictate future investment in channel areas that require improvement.

The other areas of phase three are unified technical support, increasing technical specialists to channel partners and enhancing the partner portal.

With unified technical support Symantec is offering 24 by 7 incident based for security and availability along with standard priority numbers.

“This brings two complex reporting systems into one. There will be one phone number instead of two,” Parrish said.

In the past, the channel had two phone numbers to call for Symantec and Veritas service. The program was also limited to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., support and was incident-based, meaning when a partner burned through its number of incidents it was out of luck.

The Symantec Technical Specialist Program will try to accelerate partner technical validation on point solution products. This free activity starts with an online assessment test. If the partner passes then it is accredited. The partner has the option of re-taking the test if it fails.

“There are many partners who have been with us and they have a lot of field expertise. The first step for them is to take the free, online assessment and get accredited,” she said.

For those who do not pass the initial test there may be some learning gaps, Parrish said. The partner can download case studies, configuration guides and other technical notes and retake the test.

In the past, these tests cost more than $150 and were not online.

Parrish said the company wants to be realistic with training and answer critics who claimed the company charged too much for training.

“The goal here is to have partners with knowledge so they can install the product properly,” she said.

The portal site will also be enhanced with better search functions, a new quote generator, custom price lists, an XML-based partner ordering area and multiple product deal registration forms.

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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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