Symantec Unifies Support, Launches Online Training

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The new unified technical support offering gives partners a 24-hour phone number and a single support identification number, and it distinguishes between priority and normal support, said Julie Parrish, vice president of global channel sales and strategy at Symantec.

Unlike in the past, when tech support was tied to one person or end user in an organization, in the new program anyone within the organization can call and receive support, she added.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec also launched a technical specialist program that's focused on point products and lets partners qualify through an online test at Symantec's PartnerNet portal, Parrish said. The idea, she explained, is to reduce Symantec's reliance on classroom training and make it more convenient for partners to get certified.

"It's important for partners to have the right level of knowledge so they can take a free online assessment that qualifies as authorization to go sell a particular product," Parrish said. Partners that don't pass the initial test can download additional materials and retake the test as many times as they like without charge, she said.

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Symantec has also converted the partner portal to a new hardware stack in a bid to boost performance of the system and make it easier for partners to use, and partners that order products directly through the Web site now have better reporting and tracking tools, as well as enhanced deal registration, according to Parrish.

Parrish said Symantec is in the midst of an effort to improve its partner program by polling its partner base to get a sense of satisfaction, loyalty levels and profitability. The vendor will survey 25 percent of its partner base each quarter to build a baseline understanding of partner experience, she said.