Partners are expected to be briefed on details of the newly established program as early as next week. Those who were aware of the ongoing pilot program told CRN they are genuinely enthusiastic about Symantec's investment in the channel. Partners that have invested in certifications and are seeing deals all the way through should get rewarded over those partners that are purely reselling software, David Sockol, president and CEO of San Carlos, Calif.-based Emagined Security.
"I think Symantec can bring good things to the table and once we all have the details, we'll get on board with the message," Sockol said. "We'll bring much more value to the Symantec name when the details are in place than walking around and saying Symantec's changing."
Other solution providers voiced skepticism to the new approach. Symantec needs to execute the program properly and explain all the metrics behind the program, said Ron Schoenherr, CEO of Brighton, Mich.-based Xcend Group Inc., a longtime Platinum-level partner that came under the Symantec umbrella following the acquisition of Altiris client management suite.
"I think their heart is in the right place, but in my 20 years in the industry, I've never seen a field sales organization that is incented to drive business through one partner over another," Schoenherr said. "I don’t necessarily know what the impact to our business will be."
Symantec has added partner account managers (PAMs) that seem to be much more engaged with partners with potential opportunities, said Schoenherr. Xcend has about a dozen certified engineers, and Schoenherr said Xcend has been successfully driving net new license revenue to Symantec, but his company wasn't selected to be in the elevated tier.
Internally, Symantec is evaluating partners for competency in specific technology areas and will increasingly rely on those that can deliver Symantec products as part of integrated projects. "Partners will be rewarded for making investments that build skills that support the delivery of comprehensive solutions and improve customer satisfaction," said Symantec CEO Steve Bennett in a call with financial analysts this week.
Jason Livingston, CEO of Bloomington, Minn.-based Intuitive Technology Group, a Symantec Platinum-level partner, said his firm is enthusiastic about the plans. Livingston said that the changes may be difficult for some partners that are slow to embrace field sales reps. Those that have been established in the channel and have invested in certified staff should be rewarded under the program, Livingston said.
"In the past, the inside sales teams were more about answering the phone if someone calls, and now they are transitioning much more into doing sales and following leads," Livingston said. "Once they acquire the leads, they are pulling in specific partners and ones with certifications in relative areas to assist with leads."
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