XChange 2012: Symantec Puts Team Communication First


If transformation is the primary constant in the world of information security, then all eyes will be on Symantec, which has recently undergone important management changes in an attempt to redefine itself and strengthen its leadership in this critical market category.

Last month, the Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor named Steve Bennett as its new CEO, replacing Enrique Salem in a move that surprised many people in the IT industry. Prior to that leadership change, Symantec, in March of this year, named John Eldh as its new vice president of Americas channel sales, replacing Randy Cochran.

"This is very much a transformational journey," Eldh told CRN editors at XChange 2012, under way this week in Dallas. "Part of this is a cultural transformation as we work to enhance the alignment between our channels, our field teams and our business units, and work together on a more holistic basis. Expect to see us work more closely together to build profits, support channel differentiation, and drive down the time-to-revenue with our channel partners."

[Related: Symantec's Certificate Authority Vault: $11 Million Worth of James Bond-like Security]

Much of the tactical emphasis is designed to support a strategic objective to move operating margins from the mid-20 percent range to some point beyond 30 percent, while at the same time accelerating growth rates into double digits.

Eldh expressed strong confidence that Symantec can accomplish these objectives with the network of channel partners currently in place, but noted that he intends to align the channel strategy largely around the partners who demonstrate a commitment to the Symantec offerings and customer base.

"We will get to know them better and help them differentiate," he said. "We also want to ensure that our direct sales team is getting smarter about going to market with the channel and works more closely with the partners."

Eldh added that initiatives to support such a high level of cooperation have been well-received by his team, as well as by the channel, adding, however, that "we still have some work to do in certain pockets."

A program called Victory Plan Cubed has emerged as the foundational underpinning of this initiative and is designed to enhance communications among technical teams, field teams and the channel.

Meanwhile, the channels team is also in the midst of an extensive program review aimed at identifying enhancements that can help drive renewals, as well as upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Any changes are likely to be in place for the beginning of Symantec's next fiscal year, which begins in April 2013.

PUBLISHED AUG. 21, 2012