McAfee's 2009 Road Map: Integrate Secure Computing, Ease Deal Reg

These and other projects the company has on the books were outlined Wednesday by company executives during a conference call.

In response to partner feedback, McAfee execs said that they are putting increased effort into simpler and more streamlined deal registration. Specifically, McAfee said that it aims to further reward partners who bring opportunities to the table, either by education outreach or consulting services, even if they don't necessarily close a deal.

"How good we are at opportunity registration is one of the top-of-mind things," said Roger King, McAfee executive vice president of worldwide channel operations. "Highly competent consulting bench strength, that is very powerful and it can do technical leading. And the wins will be rewarded for that kind of work."

King noted that, unlike other IT categories, security maintenance accounts for 38 to 45 percent of current licensing fees. "Therefore renewals and maintenance are a very important part of our business," he added.

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In addition, McAfee execs hope to embark on a smooth transition process following the $465 million acquisition of Secure Computing last September. So far, King said that the merged company is still functioning as two different entities. However, in 2009 McAfee will begin to conduct some of the initial integration between the two companies, but plans to take the process slowly.

"Right now our partners are dealing with us essentially as they were before," he said. "In the first quarter, we'll do some combining [of Secure Computing and McAfee products and operations]. But we're not going to do any combining before we're ready from an operations standpoint."

Meanwhile, the company said it planned to grow its hardware business, which has already emerged as a viable component of the company's portfolio with the acquisition of Secure Computing. So far, about 30 percent of McAfee's business has hardware components in it, execs said.

Brian Foster, McAfee senior vice president of worldwide product management, said that the company has primarily been focused on its end-point protection and data-loss prevention technologies, and will continue to "drive integration and consolidation on the end point itself."

However, the closure of the Secure Computing deal will enable McAfee to round out its portfolio, and allow it to put more energy toward the network side of the industry, along with increased e-mail scanning services and desktop firewall offerings. That integration will result in combined suites of products that incorporate Secure Computing and McAfee core technologies.

"Secure Computing had the nicest desktop firewall," said Gordon Shevlin, executive vice president of Fishnet Technologies, who said that the product, coupled with McAfee's expansive customer base, makes it an attractive offering for partners. "We are extremely excited, based on that product alone, at what McAfee can bring to the table."

Next year, more Secure Computing product lines, such as the WebWasher, a Web scanning and filtering tool, will cross over into McAfee's portfolio. Meanwhile, McAfee also anticipates a leg up in new vertical markets -- namely the federal sector -- in which Secure Computing previously had a copious share of the market.

In addition, McAfee hoped to be "crowding the cloud" with more hosted services, Foster said.

Finally, McAfee execs also said they planned to focus more of their channel business on the strongest partners, while helping partners not get blindsided by "ankle biters."

"McAfee has done a pretty good job with us in securing those margins. It makes our salespeople happier about selling the McAfee line," Shevlin said.