McAfee Execs: Acquisition by Intel Stimulates Resources and Planning5:22 PM EST Mon. Oct. 29, 2012
With more than a year-and-a-half as a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel, McAfee executives point to two key improvements to the way their company now does business. The company’s leaders in both business management and channel management point to resources and an increased emphasis on planning as two of the more prominent shifts since the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security company joined the Intel brand.
The acquisition, which was finalized on Feb. 28, 2011, initially shocked industry observers who wondered aloud what strategy shifts at Intel might precipitate such a move. While there was no shortage of speculation, it soon became clear that security had gained a much higher profile at Intel, which had already begun to recognize that effective security was growing increasingly dependent on a strong presence at all levels of technology, from the application layer, down to the silicon, across the wide area, and even in terms of human behavior such as social engineering.
To a certain extent, management by Intel has forced McAfee executives to look at their business from an extended and longer-term perspective, according to McAfee Co-President Michael DeCesare.
“No doubt we are stronger with Intel,” he said. “Being a security company, we tend to get focused on the ongoing threats and exploits. We’d look a short distance down the road in terms of our planning process. But the first time the people at Intel asked about our five-year plan, I had to look and find out if we even had one. So in addition to moving quickly based on current threats, we now have to look farther down the road than we have traditionally done. I think this is a good thing.”
DeCesare added that such longer-term thinking forces McAfee strategists to develop various scenarios for how security threats and customer needs will evolve over the long haul, and then use those concepts to help fine-tune the company’s technology road map and business plans.
“In terms of our impact on our parent company, we help them to build security into the product development process from the very start,” he said. "And that’s a good thing as well.”
NEXT: The Channel Role
The ability to signal long-range objectives to channel partners also helps to maintain consistency through the integration and support phase, according to Gavin Struthers, senior vice president of worldwide channel operations at McAfee.
“Joint efforts fuel innovation,” he said. “With Intel, we have much stronger engineering resources with which to boost innovation. Add the street-level expertise that the channel generates regarding the business needs of our customers, and the value gets even stronger.”
Amid those increased resources, the company earlier this month acknowledged a round of layoffs. The move, according to media reports, impacted “a small number of the company’s overall work force of more than 7,000, but the approximate number remains unclear.
Partners attending last week’s Focus12 conference in Las Vegas were largely supportive of the move, but at least one partner suggested that Intel-related resources need to extend to marketing efforts as well.
McAfee “has a very broad portfolio, but not enough people are aware of that,” he said, requesting that his name be withheld. “They are a household name in antivirus, but they seem a little too dependent on the channel to drive home awareness on the range of other technologies, such as network security. I wish they could solve that one for us.”
As a wholly owned subsidiary, McAfee reports to Intel's Software and Services Group under Senior Vice President Renée James.
PUBLISHED OCT. 29, 2012