Symantec Responds To Strategy Questions, Channel Optimistic

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Bruce Jones, president and CEO of Ada, Okla.-based service provider WPS, Inc., became a Symantec partner in 2005 when it acquired storage management vendor Veritas Software. Jones, whose firm sells and manages Symantec Endpoint and Backup Exec for small businesses, said he's optimistic that interest in virtualization and cloud adoption is going to grow among small and midsize businesses in his area.

"Over the years, being involved with various vendors, I've learned that there's nothing that is going to be perfect," Jones said. "We advise our small business customers that if the Department of Defense or Bank of America can't protect themselves from infiltration, then it's unrealistic to think that little mom-and-pop businesses, spending $50 a node, can protect their [businesses]."

A spokesperson at a Symantec Platinum partner said the security giant has become less of a partner that is strategic to the firm's business. The spokesperson declined to let CRN use the firm's name but explained that its technical team is not thrilled with the security vendor's technology portfolio.

In its new strategy announcement, Symantec broke down its product offerings into three categories: productivity and protection, which consists of mobile workforce productivity, Norton protection and Norton Cloud; business security and compliance, which consists of an information security service (ISOC), identity content-aware security gateway and data center security; and business information and applications, which consists of a business continuity platform, integrated backup, cloud-based information management and object storage platform.

Symantec said trust services remain a key component of information security at Symantec.

The company said it was still ironing out the specifics of its go-to-market strategy. It will be simplified and rely heavily on partners to manage current customers, freeing up the Symantec sales force to focus on generating new business, the security vendor said.

Symantec said its revamped partner program will consist of lower-cost sales models, a new global sales and partner enablement organization, and expanded marketing. The company identified the following as customer segments: global and enterprise; industry verticals; and commercial, consumer and SMB.

"We make it too hard for our sales force; we have too many terms and conditions and so we make it hard for our customers and partners too," Symantec CEO Steve Bennett told Bloomberg on Thursday. "Part of making the company better and easier is to make it easier for our sales people to thrive and we are going over time to evolve them to focus 100% on new business, we're going to make our sales force hunters versus farmers and we're going to create a dedicated renewals organization because we think we are going to do a better job for our customers and free up the sales force."


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