McAfee Says It Won't Take Enterprise Business Direct

channel program shift

"There is no ambiguity: We are, and forever will be dedicated to our enterprise partners," said David Dickison, senior vice president of North American channels at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor.

His comments were aimed at allaying concerns by some solution providers that McAfee might consider taking its enterprise business direct as it sharpens its focus on SMB partners.

Dickison, who previously ran McAfee's antivirus field sales force, was tapped to head up the vendor's channel program last month.

McAfee, which laid off 20 channel staff this week, including John Castaldi, U.S. sales director for enterprise channel sales, is boosting investment in SMB-related programs as part of its overall strategy of boosting partner profitability, Dickison said.

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Although McAfee has more SMB partners than enterprise partners, the vendor is equally focused on the success of both groups, Dickison added. "We've increased the dollars available through rebates and other incentives specifically around the SMB space, and we have products for the SMB space that help solution providers increase their relationships with their customers," he said.

For example, McAfee managed services products such as Total Protection For Small Business (TOPS) and Foundstone On Demand are very applicable to the SMB space, and enable partners to add proactive security solutions to their portfolios, Dickison said. "In return, partners make money from our solutions and can expand their accounts from managed services to other offerings," he said.

"We've worked very hard over last two years to be consistent in our channel message and establish McAfee as a trusted partner," said Dickison.

Dickison said the fact that McAfee is training partners to provide services on behalf of the vendor shows a high level of commitment to the channel.

Under McAfee's new Authorized Partner Solutions Services program, slated for launch later this year, the vendor will train its channel partners to deploy and support products and get services revenue. The program includes McAfee Express Services, a training package that guides partners through a step-by-step certification process for selling services.

"Other vendors choose to take their services business direct, but we're taking a different approach by offering services through our partners," Dickison said.