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At the same time, Symantec's Bennett said the company will significantly reshape its relationship with partners in a major overhaul of its partner ecosystem, shedding partners that don't add value while engaging with those that have proven a commitment to the security giant. The company is also creating a renewals organization, but more work needs to be done to iron out the details, Bennett said.
"My guess is that we will have fewer partners with deeper relationships in total with a better economic profile for the people that we view add value to both customers and our go-to-market strategy," Bennett said.
Bennett said Symantec's more than 50,000 partners have called on the company to make some sweeping changes to its go-to-market strategy. The company has great technology, but it needs to treat its technology as a cohesive portfolio with fewer point solutions, Bennett said.
"Some think we are confusing, complicated and hard to do business with, but they want us to get our act together," Bennett said. "We can't get there incrementally; we have to be bold and aggressive both on the offering side and our go-to-market side."
Rick Marcotte, president of Herndon, Va.-based DLT Solutions, a major Symantec partner with a public sector focus, called the reduction in sales and marketing expenses "significant," signaling good news for the channel. "The devil is in the details and how the plan gets rolled out in field," Marcotte said.
"The only way for that reduction to happen is if they rely more on channel and have a more organic staff and sales force to take products to market," he said. "That point alone is bullish for channel."
Bennett said he has long had an understanding of the importance of channel partners, beginning with his time at GE where he started the company's electrical distribution business and later went on to run the firm's appliance division where he worked closely with partners.
"I have a long history of dealing with the channel, and it plays a very strategic and intricate part of the go-to-market strategy for Symantec in multiple ways," Bennett said. "We have to figure out a way to run this company in a way that these technologies bring value to end customers and partners."