Chandler, Ariz.- Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) launched its latest specialization for managed security services during its annual Partner Engage event, as the security vendor encouraged partners to broaden their portfolios and step outside their comfort zones by collaborating with other solution providers.
The new Managed Security Service (MSS) Specialization is a move toward allowing partners to take advantage of deals that Symantec previously would have taken on itself, said Symantec channel chief Randy Cochran. “Partners are always vocal about what they want,” he said.
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Previously, if partners came across opportunities where MSS expertise was needed, they would refer to the vendor and receive a referral reward. Now, partners can gain that expertise directly through training and accreditation with Symantec’s managed security services offerings and Symantec DeepSight Early Warning Services for real-time threat monitoring and analysis.
“Stay true to your core,” Cochran told partners, but they also need to look for logical extensions in their portfolios. “I firmly believe the single solution is not the answer,” he said. Partners should try to expand their services where they can, but realize it doesn’t have to be immediate, and adding solution offerings for a customer can happen over months at a time.
But, this is also an opportunity for partner collaboration, one of the key future steps Cochran encouraged partners to take. Part of that means leveraging the vendor’s partner network, Cochran said. “I don’t want anyone in this room to go from relevant to irrelevant,” he said.
Admittedly, engaging with other partners can be difficult, especially those you consider to be competition. “If you don’t feel comfortable, that’s okay,” he said. “You at least need to be conversational.”
Mississauga, Ont.-based Lanworks Inc., which focuses on endpoint protection, is one of the partners working at the “conversational” level. For Veselin Bjelakovic, its vice-president of sales and marketing, working strategically with other channel partners begins with talking at the individual level with those you’re already familiar and comfortable with.
If Lanworks wanted to specialize in everything, it could expand from its 16 employees to more than 100, but that just wouldn’t make sense, he said. “There are customers and there are opportunities that we simply cannot touch.”
Ottawa-based managed service provider KTI Kanatek Technologies Inc. recently signed on for a partnership on a customer deal with Chicago-based solution provider Conventus Corp. Partnering with other solution providers with specializations you don’t have can be beneficial for business, said Susan Taylor, COO for Kanatek. “It allows you to remain focused and truly expert,” she said.
“They are owning the relationship with the customer,” which is an important distinction, said Sarah Merrion, managing partner with Conventus. The company has signed on in a consulting role to fill specialization gaps in Kanatek’s portfolio on this particular deal.
“It’s really just augmenting the service,” she said. Conventus has dual citizen employees to help on the international partnership, she said. “They’re not looking for another Wal-Mart,” Merrion added of Symantec, or partners who can offer all things to all people.
“It’s unrealistic for one partner to know everything,” Cochran said. . “Instead, the partner ecosystem should work the same way as primary physicians referring to specialists.
Some of the 300 Americas partners at the event have already collaborated successfully, he pointed out “Continue to partner with one another; it’s what’s going to make this work.”