McAfee Vows More Partner-Led Services

With the launch of its new Global Services Strategy, the vendor will arm partners with training and certification to sell more services and eliminate conflict with its internal service group, an executive said.

McAfee is transitioning its service business from being a profit center. That represents a major shift in its overall services business strategy, said Jim Sargent, vice president of technical sales and service at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security vendor.

“Over the past couple of years, our consulting group was really targeted to increase revenue, but we really couldn’t differentiate our service from a partner service. It was just very competitive,” Sargent said. “We’ve made the decision as a company to have the business model of our services business be a cost-recovery business and to have our primary targets not about increasing revenue or margin.”

Security solution providers were glad to hear it.

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“We’re going to be able to deliver a lot of services that McAfee currently delivers themselves now,” said Jim Hindy, CEO of Entre BTG, a Norcross Ga.-based solution provider. “Services represent 30 [percent] to 40 percent margin for us, and you can’t make that on any product.”

McAfee plans to increase its billable hour rates for services by about 10 percent to 15 percent, Sargent said. And because McAfee consultants will not spend all of their time selling services, they will be able to work with partners on beta releases.

Steven Palange, CEO of TLIC Worldwide, a security solution provider in Wakefield, R.I., said this will help partners generate new business and ease channel conflict.

McAfee is working out exactly what types of services they want to build with partners.

“We’re working on strategy services, planning services, the design of infrastructure, security management system implementation services is really what we focus on today,” Sargent said.