Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) has added new security and backup tracks to its small and medium-sized business (SMB) specialization, along with a dedicated support team for its partners that focus on that market.
“I think it’s more … than just adding a backup and security track,” said Fred Patterson, director of channels at Symantec Canada. “It’s really looking at the program overall; revising it to be consistent with our goal to build a highly motivated … partner ecosystem.”
The security track includes Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition, Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud, Symantec Protection Suites (SBE/ABE) and Symantec Messaging Gateway Small Business Edition.
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The backup track includes Symantec Backup Exec, Symantec Backup Exec.cloud, Symantec Backup Exec 3600 Appliance and Symantec System Recovery.
“We wanted to build something that was readily adoptable to our partners but that would also take advantage of and recognize their strengths,” Patterson said.
That means encouraging partners that may focus only on backup to focus on endpoint security as well, and vice versa. The company also touted the importance of specialization at its recent Partner Engage event in Arizona, saying specializations are one of the best ways for partners to remain competitive.
“We’re seeing some customers transition from traditional licensing to dot-cloud,” he said, which is why it was important to include all platforms in the tracks. “IT in the cloud is becoming a more viable option for customers,” including the SMBs.
Symantec will be providing up front discounts to partners that specialize in one or both of the tracks. For partners that specialize in both tracks, the discount will be larger. “It’s very important that when we’re asking partners to invest into their capability and training and education that we provide opportunity in return for doing so,” Patterson said.
SMB partners will also have access to a new dedicated support team familiar with Symantec’s small business products, through the Symantec Technical Support Centre. “Technical support is a very critical thing for every partner,” Patterson said. But for smaller partners serving smaller businesses, it’s even more crucial. If partners come across opportunities that are with enterprise customers, the team can also assist with pre-sales technical support, Patterson said.
All of the training and education for the SMB specialization and the new solution tracks are done online. Partners will also have very little to do operationally to receive the discounts, other than notify distributors that they are specialized, he said.
The vendor also reported strong results for its second fiscal quarter, with revenue of about US$1.7 billion. While he couldn’t comment on the role the channel has played in that, Patterson did say investment in partners will continue.