In April, the company first announced a transition towards a specialist model as part of its go to market strategy with partners. Randy Cochran, vice-president of channel sales, Americas at Symantec, said the shift towards a specializations-focused model was to help partners achieve “predictable and profitable” growth.
Currently, Symantec’s Partner Program has four levels including Registered, Silver, Gold and Platinum which are based on a partner’s revenue and the accreditations they have. Moving forward, Cochran said these partner levels will remain the same. However, in order to remain or get to a certain level, partners must posses a certain number of specializations. In order to be classified as Silver, partners must have two specializations, for Gold it’s three and for Platinum, it’s four.
Cochran said some partners may already have certain qualifications they can use towards their specializations based on the accreditations their employees may have already earned. For those who aren’t quite there yet, he said partners will have 10 months to transition over and meet the new program requirements around specializations.
“We’re looking for partners to go deep with specializations and in turn, we’ll provide a strong return on investment to them,” Cochran said. “There’s no longer any revenue requirement to maintain your status in the program.”
Symantec Canada’s Fred Patterson, director of enterprise channels, said with the company’s specialist focus it’s no longer a sizing game.
“Specializations don’t necessarily mean partner size,” Patterson said. “The new specialization program allows us to move partners up thru our various partner levels regardless of their size.”
Specialized partners will receive rewards such as free online training, increased discounts, free licenses for internal use, teaming agreements, enablement resources and access to specialist logos and branding.
The company also launched its new Master Specialization category today which recognizes partners who have advanced consulting, technical and service capabilities in a specialized solution area.
There are five solution areas under the Master Specializations category: enterprise security, data loss prevention, IT compliance, data protection and archiving and eDiscovery.
In addition to these new Master Specializations, Symantec also announced the immediate availability of three new specializations around data protection, high availability and storage management.
In moving toward a partner-led services strategy, Symantec now offers its specialist partners up to 18 per cent in discounts and rebates via opportunity registration, which varies by the partner’s program level.
“Those partners who are specialized will be our go-to partners,” Cochran said.
In Canada, Patterson said out of the gate, channel partners won’t be affected by any “material change.” There will be a transition period from now until next September with partners needing to achieve their specializations to maintain their status, he added.
“I might see a greater influx with Canadian partners moving from Silver to Gold,” Patterson said. “But I think we’ll continue to experience a pyramid with fewer Platinum partners because of the requirements and my guess is there will be many Registered partners.”
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